Ant-Man ★★

2.0/5.0 = Satisfactory

You know how a Yoyo has its start point and end point? Well imagine that those 2 points represent the only occasion where Marvel releases a memorable film, and the trip between those two points is usually a long slew of forgettable ones. Ant-Man might be the Yoyo hitting the start point for 2015, but this Yoyo's been played with for so long that the kid holding this toy now has arthritis and has soiled his pants at least a dozen times, but can't keep his eyes off of the television screen that's selling him yet another Tony Stark-endorsed circlejerk. Yes, Ant-Man is not bad, but Marvel really should have gone home and called it a day a long time ago.

In fact, Marvel studios should really be used as an analogy to teach the Big Bang theory and the endless expansion of our universe to a pack of confused middle schoolers. But whilst the universe only expands into more of the same, Marvel still finds ways to surprise their viewers, albeit these incidents being far and few between. So by some miracle, as the Marvel universe further spirals into its own greedy vortex, some executives dug to the depths of innocuous comic book hero names and actually pulled off a screenplay to a film that should have been hopeless from the moment you say its title.

The magic of the Marvel screenwriters template never ceases to amaze, consistently resulting in films that are average, rarely resulting in films that are great, but even rarely-er providing us with films that are bad. Ant-Man might not be the height of Marvel's entertainment catalogue, which at this point is about as dense as the Hulk's genitalia, but it feels like the least Marvel a Marvel film can be, thanks to an even lighter tone, action scenes that aim for pure entertainment as opposed to spectacle, and a narrative that feels like it can be viewed independently of its incestuous cousins that we call The Fantastic Four so they don't feel so bad about themselves, as well as the rest of the Marvel family.

However, what must be said before going any further is that Ant-Man is a good script, not a great one. It's clearly visible that Edgar Wright's involvement is largely to thank for the films brisk comedic pacing, but the fact that Wright was removed from the project as director is a serious travesty. The scenes where Wright's humor is most apparent is where this hurts the most, playing out like some college fanboy attempted to imitate the director's trademark style. Having said that, Ant-Man is not a poorly directed film, in fact its action sequences are some of the most fun since Captain America: The Winter Soldier premiered in 2014, but it's blatantly obvious that the film could have been stellar if the director's reigns had been left in the hands of its brilliant writer.

Everything that audiences have come to expect from Marvel is in Ant-Man, but because the film is the franchise's first traditional origin story in a long time, one has to commend Ant-Man for managing to avoid a lot of the egregious winks to future installments and spin-offs that plague the dialogue scenes of most Marvel films these days. Borrowing Guardians of the Galaxy's best quality, Ant-Man functions as an independent film, separate from the canon that binds this boomeranging money magnet. The first act is unnecessarily long and overstays its welcome considerably, but Paul Rudd is charming enough to carry the film into what soon becomes a fun second and third act.

Once the narrative really takes off, it becomes apparent that Ant-Man is really a heist film disguised as a superhero film, which is great. Providing a ton of fantastic visual ideas, it's understandable why Edgar Wright was even interested in working on the project in the first place. Though the antagonist is undeniably dull, the great thing about Ant-Man is that it realizes that it isn't supposed to capitalize on the Ant-Man VS. Mecha-Ant-Man formula, but rather the visualization of scale and the fun that can be had when Paul Rudd needs to adapt to his rollercoaster of an environment.

Seeing small items become threats to superheros is a nice change of pace from the city-destroying, mythical demi-Gods we've come to expect from Marvel and DC lately. In fact, the sense of scale that is established through Ant-Man's set pieces are the films absolute highlight. The final act that involves molecular sizes also makes for some beautiful imagery and maybe one of the few occasions where wearing 3D glasses felt somewhat justified.

Ant-Man is electrifying and carries great momentum, but only during its action scenes. Whilst the dialogue is not bad, it doesn't hit the audience with the comedic velocity that it should. Of course it's unfair to keep comparing director Peyton Reed's accomplishments to the hypothetical version of an Edgar Wright Ant-Man, but it's just too obvious that these scenes were written by and for Wright, and it's a shame it didn't stay that way.

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