I must admit that when I heard Marvel was actually going forward with giving Ant-Man his own movie I was surprised. Sure, Ant-Man is cool but, really? His own movie?

The casting of the movie didn’t make me any more excited for the movie either. Paul Rudd is pretty one note to me and fairly wooden. Yet they made him the star. Having Edgar Wright as director did make things interesting but then when he was eventually let go I was once again uninterested. The trailer’s and the footage I eventually came across did marginally peak my interest and since I was fresh off of Avengers 2 this summer, I figured why not? Let’s break it down and see where just how good or bad it actually was.

mcuThe Story:

I would have to say that the idea was more interesting than the execution. There are some moments that are gems but there was also a lot of unnecessary humor. The type of humor that tries too hard. One thing I find,  is an ongoing trend with Marvel movies. On the plus side they did mange to make me laugh a few times and use the characters to create some very memorable flashback scenes.  The plot is fairly standard fair. No surprises and even quite predictable at times. The originality lies with the character itself and what his powers are. I’ll say that half of his supporting cast added a lot to the story.  The movie’s first half was quite dull. I actually fell asleep for about 3 minutes at one point. Something that seldom ever happens to me. The third act was great and that really gave the movie it’s life.

The Action:

One of the things that this movie had going for it was the action sequences. For the most part. I must confess it was a bit weird to see this tiny shrunken man fighting another grown person and winning… A little hard to swallow for me but original. The creators of this movie certainly needed to think outside the box to make the action work. It’s dynamic and something that hasn’t been seen before which is rare considering how many comic book movies we’re getting these days. If anything I think the movie could’ve benefited from a bit more action but I think that having more would’ve presented a bigger challenge which might have made for lackluster scenes.

The Villain:

Marvel’s Achilles heel it seems. Memorable on screen baddies don’t come up much and this movie is no exception. Yellow Jacket fails to be anything more than someone to fight against. There’s really nothing compelling or original about him. He’s not a terrible villain by any means. I’ve seen worse. His change into Yellow Jacket felt so forced that it really feels just thrown in there. If they had spent a bit more time on him perhaps the payoff would’ve been better. I’ve been longing for another great villain for a while. Ultron was almost there but didn’t quite hit the mark of greatness. I will say that Corey Stoll did a fine acting job. He really elevated the character and made the most out of the role. At the end of the day the villain of this movie was not terrible but will anyone really remember Yellow Jacket in this movie five years later?

The Acting:

I’d say a 50/50 split is fair. Paul Rudd surprised me a bit in that he was not clinging to his comedic chops as much as I thought he would be. Yet he couldn’t quite transcend feeling wooden and deadpan, even when he wasn’t trying to be. At the end of the day he didn’t offend me but I wasn’t really rooting for him either. Michael Douglas on the other hand, was superb. Especially for what is a supporting role. He was the heart of the movie for me. I cared about his character and I was rooting for him. Most importantly I didn’t see Michael Douglas. I saw Hank Pym. Evangeline Lilly also impressed me. She played Hank Pym’s daughter, Hope. Her dynamic with Michael Douglas was wonderful. She had much more meaningful emotional scenes than Paul Rudd had.  Michel Pena played the main stooge of the three stooges following Paul Rudd’s character around. While Pena’s character, Luis had some great moments, he and his ensemble of cronies fell flat for me. Their presence there was so obviously to provide humor. I felt very little reason for justifying them for so many of the scenes. Perhaps if the group of three had excellent comedic timing and acting chops they could save the lame jokes but that was not to be.  As I mentioned previously, Corey Stoll put on a good performance as Yellow Jacket because he committed and went for it. The script was his failing, nothing more.

Overall this movie is as middle of the road as it gets. It’s not great but it’s not terrible either. I enjoyed myself for the most parts and I cringed and fell asleep at other times. It felt very safe despite being original in it’s intention. One wonder what the final result would’ve been under the hand of Edgar Wright.

Marvel’s dependence on humor to carry their ” weaker” characters is becoming redundant and predictable. I know they don’t take themselves to seriously which may be what allows general audiences to connect but there’s nothing new for me. it just seems like they’re saying that ” we know our characters are a joke so lets laugh with you.” I don’t think that’s bad for many of Marvel’s character but do they all need to be this way? In the end Ant-Man seemed like one big set up for phase 3 of Marvel’s big picture. They seem to forget that the movie also needs to stand on it’s own.

I would’ve preferred if they paid a little more attention to their story and their characters motivations. They seemed to disregard that at times, even in their ” secret” endings. By the way Ant-Man’s secret endings were pretty useless and in some ways, made no sense to me. Particularly the first secret ending. I would recommend to wait for the Dvd/Blueray or watch it on a cheap day.

For those not informed, in October of 2014, the major movie studies released a timeline of all of their planned & upcoming Superhero movies from now until 2020.  To say that it is ambitious is to be very (very) kind … however for a SciFi/Fantasy & Comic geek its nothing less than perfection!  This slew of movies along with the other SciFi & Fantasy properties (Jupiter Rising looks good and of course there is the upcoming Star Wars movie too) from other studios over the coming weeks, months and years is bound to slake the thirst of any but the most die hard.

The one interesting and extremely engaging thing about the Marvel properties of course is how they tie each film (& of course TV Show like Agents of Shield & Agent Carter) together into a cohesive story.  While it is possible to watch each separately they are significantly better when watched together so while I was interested to see Ant Man as one of the movies listed, I wasn’t 100% sure if it would be one that I wanted to watch.  However this two-minute teaser trailer is offering the first real look at Marvel’s microscopic superhero and it is good … quite good.  You don’t get to see a ton, but you do see Michael Douglas (always awesome) as Dr. Henry Pym – the creator of the Ant Man suit & of course you also get a glimpse of our “big bad” for the film – Corey Stoll as Yellowjacket.

Is it too late to change the name?

Now one thing I do need to make clear … my previous comment about not being sure about this film, was primarily based on my comic book geekdom – I’d come across Ant Man in the Avengers but he wasn’t someone I followed avidly or was really that interested in.  I mean Marvel had a host of other big brains in their books (Mr. Fantastic & of course Tony Stark being two of the most famous) and he seemed to be just another one.

However by making the movie be about Scott Lang (played by Paul Rudd) instead, they’ve managed to sidestep the whole braniac thing quite nicely.  Another thing I probably have to admit … I wasn’t a big fan or reader of the Guardians of the Galaxy series of comics and well … that movie completely blew me away!  If (and its a big IF) Ant Man is able to tie itself into the overall Marvel storyline and universe in a way that makes sense then it could do very well … however if its just a filler in between Avengers movies … well that’s not going to be nearly as interesting.  Nicholas Lemos covers this quite well in his post on Hubpages – Ant Man Trailer review & reiterates some of the same points that I’ve raised also.

Ant Man is slated to open on the 17th of July, 2015 – here’s hoping that we have another sleeper hit similar to Guardians.  I have faith Marvel – don’t disappoint me!