Closing the by now famous phase two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Ant-Man” takes Marvel’s ability to change tone and artistic direction to a whole new level. Sure, we’ve seen how good these guys are in juggling with dramatic themes, planet wide conflicts, conspiracy theories and pretty much all types of comedy, sometimes all of the above throughout the same film. But even if you’re a diehard Marvel fan, accustomed to all they have up their sleeve, you will still be taken aback by the uphill ice skating courtesy of Peyton Reed’s direction.
While Reed does a great job in integrating slow motion CGI with practical effects, keeping the rhythm and pace alert during action sequences and fights, his approach in directing changes so often, it’s hard to connect with the heart of this film, or to discover true substance behind the characters. Some movies feel content with one comic relief character, “Ant-Man” has an entire team of borderline silly blokes, to support the main act Paul Rudd (Scott Lang). Rudd is heroically hilarious in his own right, delivering many of the comedic one liners. During the rare moments of dramatic exposition, the script falls flat in the most face roll clichés you can imagine.
I was surprised by the frequent intersection with content from previous phase two films. As a fan of the MCU I am happy to see anything that has to do with cameos, references and special mentions. However it felt as if “Ant-Man” was using this method to make up for its own lack of original new narrative, or weight.
The action sequences taking place in the diminutive hero’s micro verse are a beauty to look at, yet many of the visual components and CGI elements from the “real world” have no core defining characteristics. “Ant-Man” does a great job in making fun of its own nature. While “Guardians of The Galaxy” or “Age of Ultron” threw large scale conflicts on the screen, involving numerous locations and grand battles, Scott Lang’s quest is resumed ultimately to saving his daughters life, during a final battle happening inside one room, on a tabletop worth of space.
With a minimal script and direction, it’s hard not to feel like the MCU is tuned down by this final installment of phase two. The movie is not a disappointment in itself, but the timing for its global release affected the impact. I can’t help but feeling, that this story should have happened somewhere between “Winter Soldier” and Ultron.
Da word from F and G, is “Ant-Man” a must see?
In many ways you simply have to see it.
It fits well into the whole MCU ensemble and fulfils the mission of adding a new and unique character in the mix. The film also connects with the soon to come “Civil War” and teases Wasp through the post credit scenes.
While “Ant-Man” doesn’t offer enough substance to be viable as a standalone film and the overdose of humor simply makes it hard for the viewer to take anything seriously, it’s still an enjoyable experience as part of the MCU.