Review: ‘Ant-Man’ Pleasantly Surprises

Walker Sayen ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Paul Rudd in Ant-Man. Photo Credit: Marvel Studios.
Paul Rudd in Ant-Man. Photo Credit: Marvel Studios.
The latest Marvel movie Ant-Man has faced a long and troubled production before hitting the silver screen. The film lost its original director, cult favorite Edgar Wright, last year and was replaced by the less well known Payton Reed. This caused many fans to immediately dismiss Ant-Man as a lost cause. And even though the phantom of the unrealized Edgar Wright version looms in the background as something great that might have been, what we do get is in fact much better than anyone could have expected after the troublesome director shuffle.
A lot of why the film works is still due to the involvement of Wright, who still gets story credit. And while it is impossible to determine exactly what story points come from the Wright draft, and what parts Reed brought to the table, the basic outline of making the Ant-Man origin story a heist narrative is essential to cracking the lock to the character’s success. This, along with the film being a “small” story about fathers and daughters, are the key elements of the film’s DNA that Wright brought from the beginning. And the way Reed handles these basic ingredients, keeping the story tight and personal, makes the final result a refreshing antidote to the word-wide chaos of most modern day superhero movies. The film’s climax, which takes place entirely in a child’s bedroom, is creative and appropriately “small scale” in a satisfying way.
Paul Rudd in Ant-Man. Photo Credit: Marvel Studios.
Paul Rudd in Ant-Man. Photo Credit: Marvel Studios.
However, the film’s “small scale”  also makes the movie feel slightly minor in the pantheon of Marvel movies. It doesn’t have the same “spice” as Guardians of the Galaxy, or the importance in the overarching Marvel narrative as Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The plot points are slightly familiar and predictable, and the script does feel slightly over-massaged and too re-written. But, Paul Rudd is the perfect presence as the titular character. He proves he’s more than just a great leading man of romantic comedies, he’s a great leading man period. His presence and co-screenwriting credit cause Ant-Man to be one of the most overtly comedic superhero movies, and the jokes add a great layer to this superhero/heist/comedy/family-drama. So, despite the fact that Ant-Man is not the event that other Marvel movies have become, and despite the fact that the unrealized Edgar Wright version will always haunt the film, it has turned out to be a pleasant surprise and a fun summertime diversion.
Overall Grade: B+
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