Well, It Wasn’t Cars 2: A Brief Review of Ant-Man

The more I think about Ant-Man, the less I like it. I saw Ant-Man on Friday. This is not going to be a terribly positive review.

It’s intermittently entertaining, with all the production values you’d expect from a Marvel movie. It has its moments, and if you’ve seen the trailers, you’ve seen most of them. Marvel’s string of movies that are at least all right remains unbroken; this did not give me flashbacks to Cars 2 bringing Pixar crashing back to earth.

But a tepid “Eh, that wasn’t awful” is about the most I can muster for it. If I hadn’t invested so much energy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, going to see Fury Road for the fourth time definitely have been a better choice.

Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang, a … thief? He’s a thief. Except the script claims he isn’t really a thief, he was a whistleblower who got caught taking matters into his own hands when he learned the company he worked for as an electrical engineer was doing some deeply dodgy stuff. Except he totally has the skillset of a veteran cat burglar … sometimes. When has has nothing to work with but a duffle bag and somebody’s kitchen, he’s extremely creative. When he has godlike shrinking powers and an army of ants he can control with his mind, he tends to punch people and blow shit up.

You get used to shit like that in this movie; the schism between Marvel Studios and the movie’s original director Edgar Wright cripples the script, which is riddled with half-baked ideas and fleeting signs of a much livelier story. When Scott’s ex-cellmate and his petty crook buddies are on screen, the movie becomes clever, energetic, inventive. When Scott’s self-appointed mentor Hank Pym (the original Ant-Man) and his estranged daughter Hope take the spotlight, the movie becomes dull and inert. Particularly during the “Let’s Train Scott To Become The New Ant-Man” sequences.

Scott spends roughly half the movie training to become the new Ant-Man.

Oh, yeah, and he gets into a fight with Falcon, in what may be the most perfunctory action sequence to yet befoul the MCU movies. No, I’m not forgetting Iron Man 2.

Is this the worst of the MCU movies? I didn’t think so when I was leaving the theater. But now that I’ve had time to chew on it…. It isn’t a lumbering clusterfuck like Iron Man 2. But Iron Man 2 had some good action scenes, Robert Downy Jr’s considerable charisma, and a very underrated villain in Ivan Vanko. It wasn’t as fluffy and disposable as Thor: The Dark World. But the second Thor movie was a pleasant watch, and had some genuinely fun and witty moments.

Ant-Man is just kinda … there. It’s totally a movie, that exists. A largely forgettable movie that takes few chances and gives itself fewer opportunities to excel.

Recommended for Marvel completionists only. Anybody who isn’t completely sold on the MCU can let this one pass them by.