Tiny Man, Big Film
Marvel films. They’re great aren’t they? Lots of cool stuff happening; lasers blasting, shields acting like boomerangs, a tiny huge green monster human punching stuff really hard, person-spiders, the art of flight with a hammer – fuck it why not? Awesome. Yet, they are all starting to feel a bit samey aren’t they. A similar sort of humour running through all the films.
It’s understandable though. They are trying to build a whole interlinking universe across multiple franchises so it simply wouldn’t work to have something that is akin to film noir suddenly superimposed in the fun, glossy world of the Avengers. So when I say that Ant-Man is going to be part of the Avengers in the cinematic universe you know what to expect from this film right? Wrong.
Being small gives you get a totally different perspective on the world, simple things like a comic book seems so huge and people… you can see the pimples in their face and all the imperfections. It’s here we meet the hero of this story: Me.
You see I first encountered Ant-Man as a small kid in a comic store feeling overwhelmed with the scale of comics on offer and even being intimidated but the spotty faced nerds behind the till with acne the size of potholes in Cambodia. I found a little one off compendium featuring Squadron Supreme a relatively unknown superhero group. It was cheap so I bought it and there was Ant-Man who saved the day. I thought it was quite dumb to be honest.
After watching the trailer about 17,000 bloody times – it was on before every film in the cinema and I watch a lot of films – I was really expecting an awful movie especially given the troubles the film has had with losing directors throughout it’s production. But I was wrong. Really wrong.
Ant-Man is probably the most refreshing Marvel film since the first Iron Man. You’ve probably heard that each franchise tries to be a different style of film – Thor is a fantasy film, The Hulk is a monster flick, Captain America was war film. yeah the links are a bit tenuous but Ant-Man really is a heist film. It ignores most, but not all, of the tropes of the normal Marvel Franchise.
If you think about what made Ocean’s 11 fun and apply it to a superhero film you are on the right track. You have heist setup, a series of short clips of a man talking to a man who is overheard by a woman who talks to her dealer who sells the info to… well you get the idea. Ant-Man features a cool soundtrack that is like a John Williams and Quincy Jones mash-up riffing over the top of the important infiltration scenes. It also has those “Ahhh… very clever moments” of quick thinking and ingenuity.
It’s also thanks to the script written by Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish that this film feels very different to the other Marvel films even if it does have some classic Marvel humour drizzled on top. The lines are delivered for the most part very well by all involved but most notably Michael Pena as Paul Rudd’s not-so-bright friend; Luis. This character alone is a million miles removed from the ‘norm’ almost like this origin story.
I say origin but really it’s a passing of the torch so the true origins of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) as Ant-Man aren’t explored in depth but instead this is a simple passing of the torch to Scott Lang, the new Ant-Man. This is an approach we haven’t seen before in any Marvel origin stories.
Of course, the change of perspective helps deliver a feeling of freshness. I was truly surprised how excited I was to see Ant-Man shrink for the first time and found myself really loving the tiny action scenes. The imagination of how a miniature heroes interact with everyday objects such as phones or Thomas the Tank Engine is brilliant and trust me; the Thomas scene is great – the trailer doesn’t ruin it.
Whilst the villain in Ant-Man is also refreshing because it doesn’t feel like the global threats of the last few Marvel films the motivation and overall feel of the villain is a bit samey. It’s a minor criticism and one of the only ones I can think of. One other minor criticism is that there is a sub plot of mind controlling ants that is casually glossed over with pseudo-science and that’s a shame because the rest of the film builds very well.
The only other criticism I can really say of Ant-Man is that it doesn’t feel as critical as the other characters/franchises but it is for that very reason that it is a breath of fresh air. The moments where we get to see tiny ant-man delivers big results. It wasn’t hard to come out of the cinema and think little 12 year old me was wrong. Ant-Man is pretty damn cool.
- Great heist movie
- Shrinkage in the bath
- Supporting cast
- Bit of a bland villain
- Do my bidding ants!
- Not as important as Iron Thormerica in the Marvel Cinematic Universe