“Ant-Man” works as a contemporary MCU update of Scott Lang’s debut in Marvel Premiere. Scott needs to find the money to see his daughter, so he turns to robbing Hank Pym. Throw in a rather amazing turn by Corey Stoll as the villain Darren Cross to round it out. Hell, I even spotted a few characters lifted from Robert Kirkman’s time on “Irredeemable Ant-Man”. What does all of this mean for a mixed audience at the multiplex?
Well, this is a film that changed rather prominent hands during its production. Peyton Reed came aboard the film as the new director and he did serviceable work. However, so much of the film’s success belongs to the blending of Edgar Wright’s original quirky ideas with Adam McKay & Paul Rudd’s understanding of what works between high concept and domestic comedy. You buy the science of Pym Particles just as much as Cassie’s unbridled hero worship of her father. Hell, I found myself captivated by Hank Pym’s Cold War flashbacks regarding his secret agent work with his wife.
I love how a film like this can stand as such a strong antithesis to the grimdark of the DC movies. While there was a slight moment of gratuitous on-screen saving, Scott Lang and the others have personality. You buy their hopes, their needs and the peculiar way in which they retell stories to friends. You cheer for them, you miss Ant-ony and you find yourself fearing the all-seeing eye of Baskin Robbins. “Civil War” can’t arrive soon enough.
Marvel Studios has done something that my college-aged film snob would’ve hated. They’re making me care about popcorn cinema by translating the comic shared universe to the screen. I wish I could go back and tell my 20 year old self that future me would love a film series of never-ending sequels and tie-ins. But, 20 year old me was still buying the X-books with alarming regularity. I guess that some of these quirks are just naturally built into a target audience.
Ultimately, Edgar Wright and his team leaving didn’t hurt the movie. This was an assembly line production that serve as a solid building point for Phase 3. It gives “Age of Ultron” weight in the background, while finding a way to bridge the street level with grand super heroics. But, I’m biased as Scott Lang has been one of my favorite Marvel characters since Hawkeye tried firing him off an arrow tip. Pick up the issue, it’s quite a memorable cover. But, watch the film first.