tl;dr version: You should go see this, even (and perhaps especially) you were skeptical about the idea of Ant-Man getting a movie.
I’ve seen every Marvel movie in theaters, and I think I’ve seen all of them opening weekend, although it’s possible I’ve missed one or two first weekend. I feel like Thor: The Dark World may have taken a few minutes for some reason. Ant-Man is the movie I’ve come closest to actually skipping; if it hadn’t been for my wife wanting to see it I can’t guarantee I would have ever prioritized it. I’m not a fan of the character, really, and I would have survived without seeing it.
I have learned to follow my wife’s lead in these things, as she’s always right, because Ant-Man is great, and it’s possible I enjoyed it more than Age of Ultron, which I also liked a lot. AoU had the disadvantage of being a sequel, and there’s a lot going on in Ant-Man that you haven’t seen on screen before. Evangeline Lilly’s hair, for example.
Also notable, although I can’t for the life of me find a still of this anywhere, is whatever sorcery they used for the brief 1989 portion of the film, where they appear to have traveled back in goddamn time to capture Michael Douglas and bring him forward to act in this movie. I don’t know if that’s CGI or a body double with CGI or insanely good makeup or a combination of the three but it is creepy as hell because however they did it it looks completely perfect. I remember what Michael Douglas looked like 26 years ago, guys; that’s him.
Anyway. On to the observations part:
- Paul Rudd. I’m not a huge fan of Mr. Rudd’s; he’s one of those actors where I’m absolutely certain I’ve seen him in other movies but hell if he was memorable enough that I can tell you who he was. But he nails this role and fulfills the number one thing actors have to do to make me enjoy your movie: make it seem like you enjoyed playing the role.
- The action. Watching a guy fight who can miniaturize himself on command led to some great fight scenes, particularly the one with <spoiler> at the <spoiler> base.
- The effects. The ant stuff was awesome.
- Actually, all of the actors, with the exception of the guy playing Yellowjacket, were pretty damn good. Douglas is no slouch, obviously; Evangeline Lilly was great, and the three comic relief guys were funny. I’ve seen some reviews that complained that the familial relationships between Hank and Hope and Scott Lang and his daughter felt forced; I didn’t feel that way at all.
- The bit with the tank, which I swear was a throwback to my favorite incarnation of the Hank Pym character– the lab-coated West Coast Avengers version.
- Bug zappers. ‘Nuff said.
- Both of the reveals at the end. The end reveals in this film were my favorite ones since the end of Captain America.
Less good stuff:
- I could do without ever hearing another male character say the words “I was just trying to protect you!” to a female character again. (Note that this led to a good scene or two, I’m just really tired of the trope.)
- The plot is basically Iron Man crossed with Ghostbusters. Perfectly serviceable but a bit fill-in-the-numbers, especially since…
- …Yellowjacket was not great, and in fact I think he seems to have broken a couple of the movie’s rules along the way. Hope van Dyne seems to think that the Pym particles were affecting his mind, which would be a good idea, except for the part where he was wearing the suit for the first time at the end of the movie. That said, for someone wearing said suit for the first time, he was pretty darn good at it.
- The whole don’t-cross-the-streams bit wasn’t well-used. It’s good that Sony still controls the X-Men, because who knows how many people would have died had anyone had access to adamantium.
Make sure to see this, guys. It won’t be the end of the world if you don’t see it in the theater– although I’d like the movie’s box office to be better than expected– but don’t sleep. It’s well worth seeing.