released OUT NOW! 2015 | 12 | Blu-ray 3d/Blu-ray/dVd Director Peyton reed Cast Paul rudd, evangeline lilly, Michael douglas, Corey stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña
This was the Marvel movie many expected (perhaps even wanted) to fail. You know, the one about a diminutive hero who, while part of the original Avengers line-up, wasn’t a member of the comic book A-list, and had a somewhat problematic character history. The film also attracted negativity after parting ways with its fan-favourite director, Edgar Wright, weeks ahead of shooting. The omens were not good.
We needn’t have worried. After the epic action and “let’s set up every Marvel movie between now and 2020!” approach of Age Of Ultron, the smaller scale of this more standalone trip to the Marvel Cinematic Universe proves very welcome indeed. It’s also a hell of a lot of fun.
Indeed, the lightness of touch is what makes Ant-Man so memorable. Freed from the need to service a complex mythology (the few nods to the wider MCU are by no means integral to the plot), the movie is free to focus on the quartet of characters at its centre: genius scientist and original Ant-Man Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), his ex-con replacement Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Pym’s daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly), and morally dubious business rival Darren Cross (Corey Stoll). The themes are far from original – father/ daughter relationships; redemption; hostile business takeovers from the Iron Man playbook – but they’re all packaged together in a way that feels fresh and remarkably intimate. This is not so much a movie about saving the world as saving families.
It’s inventive, too, from the clever heist plot (think Ocean’s 11 if George Clooney was five millimetres tall), to the hilarious dialogue (“That’s one messed-up looking dog”) and action sequences that make the most of Ant-Man’s unique abilities. What a shame that Thomas the Tank Engine’s showstopping cameo had already debuted in the trailers…
Extras If you’re looking for scurrilous gossip about Wright’s departure you won’t find it here. The closest you get comes in the entertaining, info-packed commentary, where Rudd (who co-wrote the movie) and director Peyton Reed make occasional references to moments/ideas that survived from Wright’s script. The star/director duo also explain why the eight deleted scenes (nine minutes) failed to make the cut.
There are two featurettes: “Making Of An Ant-Sized Heist” (15 minutes) rounds up cast and crew for the standard Making Of fare, while the superior “Let’s Go To The Macroverse” (eight minutes) points its microscope at the challenges involved in convincingly shrinking a man to the size of a bug. Faux news interviews from the “WHIH NewsFront” (nine minutes) provide a bit of non-essential background, while the highlight of the gag reel (three minutes) is Michael Douglas admitting “I have gas”. Unfortunately, all these extras are limited to the Blu-ray releases – on the DVD you get nothing. Richard Edwards
There were often no lenses in Ant-Man’s helmet during shooting – they were added digitally, so we could see Rudd’s eyes.
The smaller scale proves very welcome
Evel Knievel had awful gas.