Marvel’s Ant-Man is a whimsical, fun movie that is a welcome break from the plodding bridge experience of Avengers: Age of Ultron. This movie, more than anything, feels like a palate cleanser after a meal too rich for its own good.
I’m not one to go into spoilers or recaps, so this is going to be a brief review so your eyes don’t glaze over. I’ll split things into the pros and the cons, and leave it to you to decide if it sounds like your cup of tea.
The performances of the principal cast are all strong. Paul Rudd is a pleasant leading man, Evangeline Lilly is freed from the burden of Peter Jackson’s ridiculous Elvish torments and Michael Douglas has a solid turn that reminds you why he became a movie star in the first place.
The supporting cast is stellar, though. Everyone will be heaping praise on Michael Peña (a scene stealer), so I’ll add that David Dastmalchian and T.I. both turn in fun characters that keep the movie light and entertaining.
The dialogue is crisp. It’s witty without being cloyingly contrived the way Kevin Smith’s or, yes, Joss Whedon’s can be occasionally.
The movie has heart without going schmaltzy. It’s not attempting to be anything more than fun summer fare and so dodges trying to pull any tear-jerker moments. They know what you expect, and they know you’re there to see a superhero in action.
The ending is phenomenally fun, well staged and well shot. It reminds me a lot of the first Iron Man, but with a more satisfying third act. I very sincerely think the ending alone is worth the price of admission and undoubtedly more enjoyable on the big screen.
And no, the trailer didn’t ruin the fight on the train set. For once, a trailer showed just enough.
While it doesn’t go schmaltzy, it could have withstood a few more tender moments for the leads. Just because we know the beats doesn’t mean you should go halfway with them.
The effects on the Yellow Jacket suit were uneven, as were the effects for the big fight with Avenger Cameo I Won’t Spoil Even Though You Probably Already Know Who It Is. This was only emphasized by the practical suit they used for Rudd as Ant-Man. The practical effect being in such close proximity to digital doesn’t help sell the digital.
It’s fun and it’s worth seeing on the big screen. It’s not going to top anyone’s list of best comic book movies of all time, but it gives me hope that Age of Ultron really was just a momentary misstep from Marvel.
Oh, and the signature cameo is delightful and got a big laugh from the audience.