Ant-Man, a short review (and how I got into Marvel)

Tonight Jon and I attended one of the first showings at our local movie theatre of Marvel Studios' latest release in their epic 'Marvel Cinematic Universe', Ant-Man.

When I was younger I never really got into comic books. I was definitely a sci-fi and fantasy TV/movie person, and for the most part, still am. However, as I have gotten older I have noticed other genres more and more, and taken more of an interest in the awesome offerings coming out of various movie studios; I have found myself drawn to the Marvel Universe in a way I never way before.

I'll fully admit that I have never really liked super heroes and the like, as I said above, I'm definitely a sci-fi person. I think I had this perception that much of Marvel - the extremely little I knew about it - was purely superheroes living in the "real" world - and that simply didn't interest me. Then came along the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It didn't start well for me on that front right away though. Iron Man? Nope. Captain America? Forget it. Then we arrived at The Avengers, Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy. Ah, yes. Sci-fi and fantasy combined. Cosmic Gods fighting wars against alien races alongside powerful tech from Earth. This definitely peaked my interest. Of course, in the process of watching those, other characters popped up - some of them in rather large roles, and I discover that actually, I might have to go back and watch those other movies I dismissed. Who are these people? What are their stories? They're making me laugh - I need to know more!

Three Iron Man movies, two Captain Americas, the Hulk, the Agent Carter series, and a re-watch of both Avengers, both Thors and Guardians later, I find myself at the cinema anticipating big things from the latest in the MCU, Ant-Man. This was one I knew even less about than I had the others way back in the beginning.

I don't want to give too much of the plot away, but I do want to be able to give my thoughts on the film without being hindered, so be warned, there may be some spoilers. I'll give an overview of the movie first, then I'll talk about my thoughts and the highlights for me.

The movie opens with us meeting Scott Lang, a young guy who wound up in jail for trying to do good by the people, but not by the law (sort of a modern Robin Hood). His partner left him, took his daughter with her, and moved in with a cop. Scott gets out of jail and with no other real alternatives, ends up staying with his former cell mate, somewhere in the city of San Francisco.

One thing leads to another, and before he knows it, Scott is once again finding himself on the wrong side of the law, breaking into an old rich guy's house. The break-in goes well, but the reward isn't what he expects. Cue the suit.

Once back in the apartment, Scott tries on the suit and discovers that it has an incredible power - it can shrink him down to the size of an ant! Scott decides to return the suit, but ends up back in jail, only to find himself being bailed out by a mysterious old man - bailed out though in the most unconventional of ways!

Some action sequences later, we find out that the old guy from the police station is in fact the owner of the suit that Scott stole, and he has a plan for his future. Hank Pym, was apparently a founding member of The Avengers (not something that I would have ever known. But there it is). Cue the bad guys.

Darren Cross now runs Pym's former company, and wants all the power and glory of Pym's secret technology that he refused to develop years earlier. Pym doesn't want the technology falling into the wrong hands - and quite rightly so, as we'll soon discover. Pym enlists Scott's help, along with Pym's daughter, Hope. Together they work to bring Cross down, and prevent him from handing over the technology to the even-worse bad guys (I won't say who). There are some really fun moments while Scott is training, and some touching family moments between Pym and his daughter, too.

The climax of the movie comes as they infiltrate the main company building, only to find themselves up against the clock, and lots of extra security all on the bad guys' side.

An eventful battle back at the family home where his daughter lives leads to some hilarious-but-action-packed moments that only Marvel could pull off, and finally the resolution, which leads Scott into his new career as the Ant-man.

Credits roll, lights up, and that's end! Or is it?... This is a Marvel film, so of course it isn't! Make sure you stay through the entire credits, as there is a short sequence that will lead us into the next film, right at the very end after every credit has finished rolling.

So what did I think? Going into the movie I had no expectations. Honestly, on the outset it didn't sound all too thrilling, but I came out of the theatre with a definite grin on my face.

What Marvel does best is taking how we would all feel in any given situation, and transplanting that onto characters that we can relate with. There are very human moments in this film that make you laugh and make you feel sorry for Scott all at once. The show stealer for me though was Scott's wannabe criminal mastermind, but ultimately a good guy at heart, Luis. Luis' ridiculous, but hilarious, explanations, his role as bumbling crook, and indeed his moment of heroism near the end, really make it hard to dislike him.

The final action sequence is the most memorable for me though, and not because of the actual fight, but the comedy that comes out of it. I don't want to spoil it, but by the time there is a big hole in the roof and a new, um, dog, running around, you'll be in stitches.

I only had two points that didn't sit well with me, but they are minor things overall.

At one point they have to steal something from Tony Stark. At this point I was a little confused as to why, and even now I'm not sure still. The thing they stole didn't really appear to do a great deal, not that they made obvious anyway. Regardless of this item they stole, they don't seem to be otherwise hindered or advantaged in any way or form, and I was left wondering what the point was. Perhaps I missed what was said, but even if this device was supposed to help them in some way, we saw so little of it that it didn't seem to serve a purpose.

The last point is really even less important than that, but because my brain likes to analyse everything, I end up finding holes where there aren't any sometimes! At multiple points in the movie, there are references by both Cross and Pym to the Avengers and technology pertaining to them ("dropping cities" is mentioned, and the Iron Man suit, for example). Then Pym tells us how this kind of technology will change the world. Cross leads us to believe it will revolutionise combat. But wait a minute, haven't we already seen the far advanced technologies of Tony Stark? What about The Avengers and all their tech? The characters in this movie mention them on the one had, then dismiss them in the next. Pym seems to imply his work on the atomic level is groundbreaking. Well, I'm sure it is, but what about the Hulk and Captain America? One grows in size, and the other has super strength and his body can self heal. Sounds like work on the atomic level is already pretty far advanced. I'm not sure why people in this MCU reality would find anything remotely incredulous any more. After everything that happened in both Thor movies, both Avengers Iron Man 1 through 3 and Hulk, how can any of this be a surprise? Why are they trying to change the world so bad, when in fact, the world is already drastically different? I know that's probably a massive over analysis, but I just wish films like this didn't claim to be doing something "new", when in fact it isn't. Let's just accept that this is a different person now involved with the same organisations we've come to know; but let's not pretend this is somehow new, because it isn't.

Finally, there are a lot of characters in this movie from other parts of the MCU. Be sure to look out for cameos from at least two current Avengers, two founding members who we know and love from a certain TV series, and of course Stan Lee himself.

I'd give the movie 8 out of 10. The stolen device thing did "bug" me (yeah, I know...), and while it was a really good film, it's not my favourite in the MCU.

If you've seen the movie, let me know what you think by commenting below!