Movie Score - 8.5
Special Features - 7
When Ant-Man was in production, it seemed like it would never make it to the big screen. Edgar Wright was working on Ant-Man before the Marvel movie universe even took off on its own. However, he went on to make a more personal project in World’s End and then returned and started working on Ant-Man again. When the very popular Wright left Ant-Man, many fans deemed the movie dead in the water and refused to accept the new direction of the film.
Wright said it was a mutual decision, but the thought was that Marvel wasn’t interested in someone as brilliantly creative as Wright making a movie that didn’t conform to the other movies in the universe. Peyton Reed had a nice background, working on Mr. Show with Bob and David and Upright Citizens Brigade. That gave him geek cred, but his movies included Yes Man, The Break-Up, and Bring it On. What was he doing making a big budget Marvel movie?
Luckily, those worries were for naught. Reed did just fine on Ant-Man, making a heist movie that had just the perfect amount of humor and some incredible special effects when it came to shrinking and made a pint sized superhero fighting seem real and made Ant-Man a very dangerous character.
The movie opened perfectly, putting Ant-Man squarely in the world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), who in the comics was the original Ant-Man and a founder of The Avengers, stormed in to meet with S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives, including Howard Stark, Peggy Carter, and Mitchell Carson. He immediately quits when he learned that S.H.I.E.L.D. planned on using his shrinking technology to make weapons. After punching Carson, he leaves and the movie cuts to present day.
The Ant-Man movie does not cast Hank Pym as the superhero. By this time, Pym is an older man who has suffered the side-effects of using the shrinking tech too much while helping the U.S. battle enemies for S.H.I.E.L.D. over the years. This Ant-Man is Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a convict who was just released from prison after embezzling money from a company and giving it to customers they had been screwing over for years. Sadly, Lang can’t even get a job at an ice cream parlor and ends up stealing Pym’s battle suit.
There are plenty of twists and turns that lead Lang to wearing the armor to help save Pym’s company, and the world in general, from a scientist named Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) and Carson, who actually works for Hydra. There are fun points here, such as when Lang trains using the suit and tech. There is also a personal note with the jealousy of Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), Pym’s daughter at not using the tech herself as well as her anger at her father for abandoning her when her mother, Jan van Dyne (The Wasp) died when she was a child.
However, where this movie really knocks it out of the park, it is with the humor. From the training to the sidekicks, Luis (Michael Pena), Dave (T.I. Harris) and Kurt (David Dastmalchian). These three are who sets up the entire heist into Pym’s old labs, which Cross now controls. Rudd has always been very funny, and he is on top form in this movie, very funny, but also very heroic in an unassuming way. HIs battle with a certain member of the Avengers is a clear misunderstanding, but one of the more entertaining moments in the movie.
By the end, Ant-Man succeeded despite everything set up to cause it to fail. That is a huge success for Marvel, Peyton Reed, and Paul Rudd. It is also proof that Marvel can make great movies, even out of heroes that don’t seem like they should work on the big screen. It is proof that the upcoming Marvel movies featuring unknown mainstream characters like Capt. Marvel, Black Panther, and Dr. Strange are in the right hands.
First, the digital download is missing the commentary track with Peyton Reed and Paul Rudd that is on the Blu-ray, so if that is important to you, get the Blu-ray and the digital download comes with it. As for the digital version, there are still some nice features.
For those who have never used the digital downloads, you can watch the movies on platforms like VUDU, but if you want to see the bonus features, you have to use Disney Movies Anywhere. Included here is a three-minute feature at the look at Marvel’s Phase 3, including Kevin Feige explaining that the reason that Ant-Man was in Phase 2 was because they wanted every member of the original Avengers members introduced before moving to Phase 3 (Ant-Man, Wasp, Iron Man, Capt. America, Thor, Hulk). Don’t watch this before the movie, because it spoils a big surprise from the movie.
They also preview Captain America: Civil War, which will bring back Ant-Man. Then, they talk about Dr. Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on this feature.
Up next is a 14-minute feature about the making of Ant-Man. This has interviews with the cast and crew and talks about the comics, casting, characters, and plot from the movie. There is also an eight minute feature about the tech used to develop the new technology and techniques used to show the shrinking in the movie. There is also a three-minute gag reel, and four fake WHIH news casts from the world of the Marvel movies. Finally, there are 16 deleted scenes.