Marvel Studios can seemingly do little wrong, at least when it comes to the box-office, and many expected a similar return from their quirky offering “Ant-Man” which stars Paul Rudd.
In the interest of saving your time here is my quick summary: the film seems to be haunted by ghost of Edgar Wright (I’ll expand on that below), mixed reviews and a surprisingly middling box office but when it worked I really liked it. The film feels a little overly massaged, conventional, and slightly anonymous – it probably belongs on the same shelf with the 2005 version of “The Fantastic Four”, various “Hulk” misfires and “The Green Lantern”.
So, with that out of the way here are some further thoughts that popped into my head after watching Ant-Man:
- The Ghost of Edgar Wright: As I alluded to, it’s fair to say that the ghost of Edgar Wright (the one-time director of the film) haunts Marvel’s latest offering – what worked seemed to have it’s roots in this work (the spectacular ‘train fight’ sequence and wonderfully edited flashbacks come to mind) and what didn’t was ‘typically Marvel’; the insipid and Avenger’s tie-in via Falcon (actually expand that to any attempt that they made to connect the film to the MCU), the bald faced aping of “Interstellar” in the “quantum realm” scenes etc.
- Studio-Driven Thinking: “Ant-Man” is a clear example of how producer/studio driven and tightly controlled Marvel’s cinematic output is. This is a bit of a double-edged sword really. It generally stops the films from being terrible but at the same time stops them from being inspired. They generally lack individual flavour and come off looking like they’ve been created out of a high-end hot dog factory rather than as the result of some inspired creativity. Still, the films usually mesh nicely and we don’t have to put up with too many “Green Lantern’s”, so that’s a plus.
- Marvel’s Female Problem: Marvel has trouble writing female characters, there’s nothing really surprising about that. As Hope, Evangeline Lilly is flatter than a pancake and is saddled with bad wig and insufferably whiny lines. But then again, DC is no better, so we best move on.
- Paul Rudd: Nobody doesn’t like Paul Rudd. That much is a given. The man is effortlessly charismatic and he was the bright spot in this film, but his charm was unapologetically absent from large sections of the film his overall performance as the former con-man Scott Lang is fairly pallid and was often reduce to subtle nods and winks (literally in many instances). It concerns me that Rudd was often more entertaining on the press circuit than he was in the film.
And yes yes, this sounds harsh, but I’m only mean because I care. I expected more from both Rudd and Marvel. But maybe I shouldn’t have. If “Age of Ultron” was anything to go by maybe the weight of what each film now has to accomplish (telling a unique tale while juggling numerous characters and setting up further films) is all becoming a bit too much.
Maybe my reticence to give a pass mark comes from the fact that Marvel previously spoilt us with interesting characters, mind-boggling special effects and a grand scale. We now hold the studio that brought us “Iron Man”, “The Avengers”, and “The Guardians of the Galaxy” to a higher standard than we do Fox and friends.
So what have we all learnt from the last 500 odd words? “Ant-Man” was an uninspired and aggressively average film that would earn a pass mark in a vacuum, but it was better than “Age of Ultron”, so why not get the DVD (they still exist right?) and check it out for yourself.
Lastly, if you think I’m beign a dick and disagree with my review let me know below and feel free to offer your rating in the user-review setion.
BONUS: I’m not the only one who took issue with this film, here’s everything wrong with Ant-Man in 19 minutes:
- The Charming Paul Rudd
- A Smaller Scale
- Groan-indiucing Avengers Tie-In
- Studio-driven Thinking
- Uneven Direction