(This review may contain spoilers, skip to the end for an abridged and spoiler free review.)
In a universe where superheroes go by names like Captain America and Iron Man, a superhero by the name of Ant-Man doesn’t quite have the same intimidation factor. When superheroes and villains have abilities that let them fight off dozens of men at once and level buildings, the ability to shrink doesn’t have quite the same “wow” factor. And when Marvel announced that Ant-Man would get his own movie, some may have asked “Who is he and why?” On paper, it seems like a hard movie to sell if you’re trying to compete with your fellow Avengers, and the Ant-Man movie is well aware of that.
Instead of competing with the other superhero movies by starting off with high stakes and high explosions, the Ant-Man movie starts small. The protagonists don’t have to deal with a global threat (yet), and that is where the movie truly shines. By focusing on the relationships between the three main characters, you truly get a sense of who they are, and they are far from perfect human beings.
Hank Pym is a father who is distanced from his daughter, Hope. Hope in turn resents him for harboring secrets regarding what happened to her mother. Scott Lang is always on the wrong side of the law. And all three of them either don’t trust or don’t have any confidence in each other. Thus most of the movie revolves around how they come together to raise Scott as the new Ant-Man. While this does make it an origin movie, at least it doesn’t cover one of the more well known superheroes, or even the original Ant-Man.
In fact, the majority of the movie can be described as a kind of a training montage, relatively free from conflict with the main antagonist. In a way, that is for the best, as it sets the tone for the whole movie. This is not a movie where the two sides have small skirmishes that lead up to a city shattering fight at the end, this is a movie where the fights are smaller, but more meaningful. With all the upcoming superhero movies presumably featuring large scale battles, Ant-Man truly stands out among the soon to be crowd of big name comic book movies.
If you like charismatic villains though, then prepare to see very little of the antagonist, Darren Cross. Compared to other superhero movies, the villain gets very little screen time, with most of his appearance being in the last half an hour or so of the movie. In fact, Darren doesn’t don the Yellowjacket suit until the very end. If anything, Darren is a fairly predictable and cliched villain who wants to sell his technology for profit, hardly a groundbreaking character.
In classic Marvel movie style, Ant-Man is filled with plenty of tongue in cheek jokes and a less serious tone in general. Compared to say, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Ant-Man is guaranteed to get at least a chuckle out of most people. Whether that is to your taste is up to you though, but being a summer movie, Ant-Man might be a good movie to end the summer with.
Potential spoilers end here
If you like a light hearted movie in classic Marvel style where the protagonists are the underdogs, then this movie is for you. Smaller in scale than the other superhero movies, Ant-Man brings the fight to a more personal level. A good way to end the summer regardless of whether or not you are a comic book fan.