Spoiler Free Plot Synopsis
Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.-via IMDB
Ant-Man was a solid take on a rather non-mainstream hero and while they succeeded in making the Ant-Man character work on the big screen, I felt that with all the backstory available for Hank Pym this film should have in theory been a sequel to his exploits. I think with the success of Agent Carter we could have benefited from something with Michael Douglas as Hank Pym on a smaller scale that would have fleshed out some of Ant-Man's origin and expanded on key items mentioned throughout this film. Paul Rudd at one point in the film says “I am expendable” and while in the context of the story it made sense. The fact is that this film was more about Hank and his issues then about Scott's transformation into Ant-Man. It was a recurring theme that hurt the film to a degree. Seasoned comic fans will get it immediately but when trying to make a non-mainstream character relevant those little bits of origin and character development are crucial.
The overall plot of Ant-Man was solid and did a great job in playing to all Paul Rudd's strengths all while making Ant-Man a likable character. There were moments where Ant-Man felt like a bridge film that essentially was a plot device for Captain America: Civil War, which, while needed in some instances hurts the overall presentation of the characters. We also saw this to a degree in Iron Man 2 as well where the film was basically an Avengers prequel.
The cast in this film was one of the high points as there was tremendous chemistry between Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas, especially in the scenes where Scott was learning to harness the suit's abilities. Michael Douglas' work as Hank Pym was not only incredibly well done but he also brought the right amount of passion, grit and intensity to the role. This is why I felt an Ant-Man prequel or miniseries with Douglas would have worked. Evangeline Lilly's portrayal of Hank Pym's daughter Hope was solid and while Lilly gets a bad rap for her subpar acting in other roles, she definitely excelled here. The low point acting-wise was Corey Stoll, who portrayed Darren Cross aka Yelllowjacket and I think the main reason was because Marvel does not do villains as well as they should. Stoll, who is killing it on The Strain played a slightly unhinged yet serviceable villain who in the end embodies Marvel's one off philosophy with its' villains. It really is a shame because Stoll is a great intense actor who barely got to bring that intensity to the big screen. Do we attribute these shortcomings to the changes in the script? We may never truly know. Lang's friends/cohorts were solid in their roles with Michael Pena adding a healthy dose of comic relief. I did feel T.I was underutilized, but given his role I can see why.
The need to use 3D in post production for some films is both a gift and a curse. It is a gift because it boosts the box office totals substantially but is a curse because it sometimes adds nothing to the overall film. While the 3D in Ant-Man worked from a perspective standpoint it really did not add more to the film. If you can see it in IMAX or RPX without 3D I would honestly recommend you go that route.
Ant-Man falls into a weird category for me in that it should be seen on the big screen because it is a solid film but you may come away frustrated if you're a comic fan because there were so many things that could have been done better. There are ample easter eggs in the film including one that was definitely awesome and alludes to a new Marvel addition. The two post credit scenes were great they added to the Ant-Man mythos and also set the stage for Marvel's next big film Captain America: Civil War.
Go see Ant-Man with an open mind and feel free to let me know of you felt like I did or if you disagree with my assessment.