Ant-Man has been through a very long development, it was started with Edgar Wright committing to write and direct the film, but years went by and Marvel finally has a studio of its own, manipulations do compromise Wright's vision which lead him leaving the project. In spite of that issue, the film spares much of his screenplay as it still has his trademarks all over the place. While it's delightful to notice those sequences being left intact, there is still a dejected feeling of what it could have been if he actually handled it entirely. For now, most of the style is basic Marvel. As a movie itself, it's quite refreshing to see a superhero film that doesn't contain much heavy handed explosions compared to the last few films they gave us. And it's a good reminder that joy can still be found in this genre even at its smaller scale, thanks to its engaging cast and downright appealing personality.
The movie doesn't involve stopping some mass destruction or a general build up for future installments (the reference still exists, but isn't exactly the priority.) People may brag about this as going back to the basic mold of origin stories where you see outcasts living in a city having unexpected fate of becoming a superhero. The difference however is the premise is a lot sillier that is taken with vast self-awareness through that concept. The entirety is basically a mix between family drama and smart comedy. The comedic side is where it thoroughly shines, the film finding energy through its visuals and each actor's charisma. The drama on the other hand is basically to establish the character's pathos through their backstories. It's not quite subtle, but fits enough to breathe after a set of sillier spectacles.
The major plot is basically just a heist, except the main character has the ability to alter his own scale while spectators and their enemies are constantly being flummoxed about what exactly is happening. It's simple, but there is so much going on and yet it is made easily exciting by its own personality and crazier imaginations, you can identify that most of the creativity came from Wright's idea. How the movie recreates his style from the script is fine and it's admirable to retain the same quirk and energy from the vision at some points. At the other scenes, it's typical Marvel flare, and as said, it looks cool, but it's more remarkable at the less conventional turns.
Paul Rudd brings real charisma and some depth to Scott Lang, keeping him from being a generic anti-hero. Michael Douglas establishes actual depth within Hank Pym in a lot of moments. Corey Stoll embraces his almost unbelievably inhumane role, which strangely makes it an effectively menacing villain. Evangeline Lilly appears to be more than a love interest and that is alright. Michael Peña steals all of his scenes, which a role that could have been just another comic-relief, he makes all of his character's greatest comedic moments remarkably delightful.
It's still quite inevitable to keep bringing up the supposed-to-be helmer of Ant-Man, because his fingerprints are really there, while it's actually nice to see it hinting every once in a while, it also feels somewhat exasperating for what daring opportunity it could have been. We'll never know the answer. Still, Ant-Man brings a sheer amount of fun. It's filled with comicbook enthusiasm and memorable laughs that appropriately sticks through its actually preposterous property. The cast helps bringing all of it to life, from levity to gravity. The action is executed with affecting weirdness. Ant-Man is best when it's weirder, because that is where it speaks its own flavor.
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