Ant-Man - Avengers: Infinity War Marvel MCU Movie Marathon
Again, before we start, there will be spoilers.
I love Ant-Man. It is definitely one of my favorite Marvel films. It might not be the most epic, but I just enjoy watching it so much. Ant-Man was written as a heist film and it definitely feels that way, down to its cool retro sounding score (which I'll get to later).
At first, I thought it strange that they chose Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) as Ant-Man. Hank Pym, played by the great Michael Douglas in the film, is a major character in the comics universe. He and his wife Janet Van Dyne, aka The Wasp, were founding members of the Avengers. Rumor has it that Marvel Studios wanted to have Ant-Man and the Wasp as part of the team when they released Marvel's The Avengers, but couldn't because Edgar Wright was still in development with Ant-Man.
But, watching the film, it makes much more sense to use Scott Lang. First of all, since they wanted to do a heist film, it wouldn't have worked with Hank because he's not a thief. Scott, in the comics, stole from Hank to save his daughter Cassie. But, the other reason it makes sense is because, if Hank were a contemporary of Tony's and Bruce's, there would be too many science bros. You'd just have too many scientists on the Avengers team.
Also, in the comics, Hank Pym has a sordid past as a domestic abuser. So, this would give Hank too much baggage that wouldn't work in the movies. For the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Hank makes more sense as that reclusive mentor. And, Michael Douglas seems to be having lots of fun bring this character to screen.
Having Hank having been a S.H.I.E.L.D. super spy in the 80s also adds to the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I loved seeing S.H.I.E.L.D. in 1989 as they were constructing the Triskelion. And I live for seeing Peggy Carter (Hayley Attwell) in all time periods! Next year's Captain Marvel film is supposed to take place in the 90s. I hope Peggy will show up in that film as well.
Another reason why I love Ant-Man is because I just love Paul Rudd. Rudd tends to play the every man, but with his trademark awkwardness. For example, as Hank and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) are having a father-daughter moment, Scott steps on the moment talking about how awesome the moment is. Or, when Scott first sees the Falcon, he coyly says, "Hi. I'm Scott." Its trademark Paul Rudd.
I also enjoyed Evangeline Lilly as Hank's daughter Hope Van Dyne. She is not a character in the main Marvel comics universe. Hank and Janet never had a daughter. But, there was a Hope Pym in an alternate universe. So, really, for the most part, Hope is meant to be somebody of the same age as Scott that will inevitably become the Wasp. While Scott may be donning the Ant-Man suit, Hope was the one with the expertise and skill. She worked with Scott on most of the training. I liked that she just wasn't a passive bystander love interest. We know that by the next film, coming out in July, she's already a bad ass. And, as Hope says at the end of the film when shown the Wasp prototype suit, "its about damn time."
Hank and Scott relate to each other as fathers. Hank sees that Scott has an opportunity to be the father that he could not be for Hope. His love for Hope is the reason he won't let her wear the Ant-Man suit. He can't bear to lose her like he did his wife. But, in doing so, he's keeping her at arm's length. It is strange that if she knew how to use the Ant-Man suit...all the ins and outs...that she would never discover what happened to her mother until Hank tells her in his moment of vulnerability. But, I'm willing to let that go.
Scott's team of "wombats" are so fun, particularly Luis (Michael Peña) who has a flare for storytelling. Luis was definitely a scene stealer and Peña plays him with such a great, wide eyed innocence. Tech guy Kurt (David Dastmalchian) and getaway drive Dave (T.I. Harris) also had to pulling off this heist with great humor.
The film really gets going as soon as Scott Land puts on the Ant-Man suit and we are shrunk down with him. You really do get a sense of size and scale. You really feel like you're in the middle of the action. The part where he's trying to avoid all the dancers when he falls into the club is intense. And Ant-Man's riding the ants in the water main is like being on a ride. I always said that Ant-Man would make a great Disney attraction. Recently, Hong Kong Disneyland announced that they are building an attraction featuring Ant-Man and the Wasp. So, It will be exciting to see how it turns out!
By the way...fun fact: After first putting on the Ant-Man suit, Scott ends up on the roof of a car. Inside is Garrett Morris who was an original member of Saturday Night Live. In a skit taking place at a superhero party, Morris plays Ant-Man which is actually the first non-comic appearance of the character.
Hank's former protogee and head of Pym Tech Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) is the weakest part of the film. You immediately think villain as soon as you see him. He's a little too mustache twirling for me. He wants to weaponize Hank's Pym Particles for his Yellowjacket program and sell to the highest bidder. I think they try to explain his mania when Hope tells him that the particles are altering his brain chemistry. But, still. His obsession with Hank Pym was creepy.
And, he openly tells Hank that he's selling his own shrinking particles to Hydra. I didn't even know Hydra was still a known commodity after Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But, if S.H.I.E.L.D. can come back, why not Hydra? Mitchell Carson (Martin Donovan), ex-Head of Defense for S.H.I.E.L.D., was also a Hydra double agent. At the end, he steals the particles for himself, something he's wanted since the 80s. I hope they revisit this in the next film.
Another one of my least favorite characters was Paxton (Bobby Cannavale), Scott's ex-wife's current husband. He is a cop who really does seem like the "asshat" Scott thinks he is. Why is he always hunting Scott? Is it personal? Why not give Scott a chance and listen to him if he loves Scott's daughter as much as he says he does. Speaking of Scott's stealing the suit and subsequent return leading to his arrest, why didn't Hank and/or Hope drop the charges and get Paxton off his back? I just thought his character was annoying. And what a waste of Judy Greer's talent. She plays Scott's ex-wife, but she doesn't have much of a role. Greer is actually a hilariously talented actress. That said, she played her role well.
The raid on the Avengers Facility and his run in with the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) was fun. I know some people complain about gratuitous inclusion of other heroes in the Marvel movies, but, to me, what is the point of a shared universe if they don't show up? We get a look at Falcon's new uniform and Falcon also gets to see Ant-Man's abilities and is able to bring him in to help during Captain America: Civil War.
Another fun action sequence was Yellowjacket's and Ant-Man's fight in Cassie's room. The Thomas the Train battle was absolutely inspired. Here you have these two heroes at miniature size able to have a massive fight without destroying a city.
Finally, I just wanted to say that I think Ant-Man has the best score of all the Marvel films. Christophe Beck was able to write this great retro score that fits a great Oceans Eleven style heist film. I absolutely love listening to this score.
Stan Lee Cameo: Bartender in one of Luis' rambling stories.
While this film has some holes and weak characters, there is just something about this film that I find so entertaining. It is a go-to film for me. You know, one of those films you can just put on and watch over and over again and it puts you in a good mood.
And if doesn't, remember...Baskin-Robins always finds out.
Okay, on to Phase Three! We're two thirds through our Marathon! Next up, Captain America: Civil War.