When I first heard that Marvel was doing an Ant-Man origin movie, I had mixed feelings. I mean, yes, Ant-Man and Wasp were two of the original Avengers, but seriously, how could that possibly be exciting?
As it turns out, they did a really good job, and this is one of my favorite origin stories. (Sony, please stop rebooting Spider-man.) Granted a lot of the plot didn’t make sense, and much of the science was inconsistent, but for some reason, I really didn’t care because it was just so cool. For those more interested in why it sucked, there’s a great article on Cracked that you should check out. However, I want to talk about why I liked it.
First off, Paul Rudd is adorable as Scott who will be the Ant-Man. I think he was a great choice for the character, and I love Evangeline Lilly as future Wasp. Is some of the thing with Scott’s daughter kind of corny? Totally. But it’s nice to see a superhero with a family (the throwaway bit about Hawkeye in the second Avengers movie doesn’t count because they aren’t given real personalities or importance), and it gives him the necessary motivation to move the plot along. Although, seriously who needs motivation to take on the role of a masked hero who can shrink at will and communicate with an army of ants? Because I would totally be up for that.
Second, the villain, although a bit generically bald, was really good. He wasn’t an overtly evil being; he was a smart guy seeking approval from his mentor and not getting it. Also, apparently his brain was a bit addled from the shrinking because he didn’t have the proper headgear? Ok, that plot point was seriously underdeveloped, but whatever. Yes, it was a dick move to try selling his new super-soldier equipment to Hydra, but he’s a villain, he’s supposed to do bad things. He kind of reminded me of the bald villain from the first Iron Man (I forget the name and am feeling too lazy to look it up) because they had very similar M.O.s. I mean, really Pym and Stark could only blame themselves for leaving their super science-y giant corporations in the hands of clearly unstable men with faulty moral compasses.
Third, as with all Marvel films, it was just plain pretty. Complain all you want about rampant CGI and absurd fight scenes, but that’s really most of why I even watch these films. And I felt like Ant-Man did a great job of having the hectic chaos in the fight scenes without the viewer completely losing track of the action.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the humor was on point for most of the film. Was the name Antony a horrible pun? Duh. That’s why it was brilliant. Horrible puns are funny. I also love that they poke fun at the name Ant-Man, but then, everyone has been giggling over that since the trailer came out. I prefer Marvel over DC (at least for films) because Marvel superheroes rarely take themselves too seriously. Sure things will get dark sometimes (though admittedly, there is rarely a feeling of imminent doom in this film) but overall it’s light entertainment.
A note on the funny minor characters: I’ve heard some complaints that the supporting characters (like Scott’s crack team of thieves) were just walking stereotypes with characterization only based on their ethnicity, and I agree. But while in a perfect world every character would have immaculate characterization and personality, it’s a two-hour film, and there are more important things going on. It’s far easier to slap a few stereotypical traits on a minor supporting role than to give them a complex backstory that the audience wouldn’t care about anyway. Because, be honest audience, you came to this Marvel movie to watch Ant-Man beat up a bad guy, so that’s what more time will be spent on.
Overall, if you liked any of the Marvel films to date, you’ll probably enjoy this one.