Ant-Man is another movie in the seemingly never-ending Marvel canon. I’ve said before that I don’t follow the comic books so I only know of what is presented before me in movie form, and I have to say that, from the moment I first heard about this entry in the series, I wasn’t exactly wowed.
After all, superheroes are big and loud and they smash shit up! This one is tiny and would barely leave a stain on your shirt if you splattered it while he wasn’t looking.
But at least we had the promise of the fantastic Edgar Wright (Spaced, Shaun of the Dead) being handed the directing reins… Sadly, he returned them back to the studio after ‘creative differences’ split them apart. This is a great shame as he’s a massive fan of the character, suggesting back as far as 2003 that Marvel make this film with him at the helm, and even stopping them from putting Ant-Man in the first Avengers movie, as well as one other character who I won’t name here because that would be a spoiler.
Alas, instead, we have Peyton Reed. Who? Exactly. He made the dire Bring It On, the dire Down With Love, the so-so Yes Man, starring Jim Carrey, and despite 2006’s The Break-Up starring Jennifer Aniston, only her drama movie roles have been worth watching. The rest of the time she’s made ditzy, pointless rom-coms, all of which should have the original prints and negatives destroyed so no-one can view them again.
There’s also the problem with the casting for the main character – Paul Rudd. Really? Is he the best Hollywood could manage? He has less charisma than one of my old stinky shoes! Thankfully, somehow I’ve managed to miss almost every single one of his films that he’s made, and certainly all of those where he has a leading role. Why would anyone give him a leading role, anyway? I get that he has the hang-dog facial appearance of a slacker ex-convict who wants to do right by the daughter to his estranged wife, but purlease, I’m sure if Hollywood tried, they could’ve found a zillion better actors than him.
Ant-Man was originally going to concentrate on the Hank Pym character, played by Michael Douglas, but apparently his backstory involves elements the filmmakers would rather ignore like him being abusive to an ex, so they started afresh with a new guy. Then again, even if they’d stayed with Hank, they’d still have gone with someone younger than Douglas, although at 46, Rudd is no spring chicken, either. Given all this, perhaps that’s why they haven’t updated the suit from its old 1960s style.
Scott Lang, like Pym, learns to talk to the ants, rather like Doctor Dolittle. As he goes through his inevitable training regime, he discovers there are various type of super ants, the only one of which that stood out were those that build bridges to help him get from A to B, or raise him up out of harm’s way.
And building bridges (see what I did there?) is also something he needs to do with his estranged wife, Maggie, played by Judy Greer who acts with as much emotion as a wooden doll. I mean, I know she’s an underwritten character, but you could literally have replaced her with an inanimate carbon rod and no-one would’ve noticed the difference.
He doesn’t get to see his daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson), much, so when Maggie tells him that he should be her hero, you know that’s the setup for the girl to eventually realise that Daddy is Ant-Man. However, standing in his way is Maggie’s new beau, an utter dick called Paxton (Bobby Cannavale, who can normally be relied upon to be good, but here all he’s given is the typical meathead/new boyfriend role. Or maybe they’re married. I didn’t care either way).
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.