Ant-Man follows suit as the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and although it shares many beats of the Marvel formula, there is a distinct tone of this film that is different than any others, mostly in just how incredibly funny this title is. Edgar Wright, credited as one of the screenwriters, was initially attached to direct this film years before it began production, but after creative differences with Disney, Wright opted out, leading Disney to peg Adam McKay, until he left the project with it finally winding up in the hands of Peyton Reed. Although Wright didn’t direct it, it feels like it has the DNA of one of his films. Clever, fast-paced editing, a sarcastic self-deprecating male lead, and large scale action scenes that deliver on humour just as much as thrills.
Paul Rudd is an absolute joy as Scott Lang, the hero of the franchise. Rudd, known for his comedy and successful career as strong, funny sidekicks, brings to memory the casting of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. When first announced it seemed like an ambitious choice and out of left field, but when watching it play out, it becomes impossible to imagine anyone else playing the part. The supporting cast of Ant-Man are incredibly strong, too. It’s a joy to see Michael Douglas on screen and he illuminates the screen as the mentor Hank Pym, while Evangeline Lilly is engaging as his daughter. Corey Stoll is absorbing and nuanced as the arch-villain Darren Cross, while conversely, Michael Peña is completely hilarious, just about stealing every scene he is in.
Not only working as an out and out comedy, Ant-Man proves its originality by being the first heist movie included in the Marvel franchise. The action scenes are fantastic and due to things being on a much smaller scale, to say the least, we see things never before seen in any of the Marvel films. The Marvel creative team has simply figured it out. During the summer audiences want something light-hearted, playful and endearingly irreverent. While recent endeavours such as Age of Ultron and Winter Soldier have taken on some serious dark subject matter, which are important too, sometimes you just want to have pure fun – and Ant-Man delivers.
Ant-Man may not have reinvented the formula for Marvel, but unlike it’s name it doesn’t come up small. It delivers big time on laughs, action and overall enjoyment. They’ve only gone and done it again.