The best thing I saw last week was Ant-Man. Now usually I do these spoiler free on opening weekend to let you guys know my thoughts and whether or not you should drop your hard earned dollars. I waited on this one for a specific reason that I will now explain. According to boxofficemojo.com Ant-Man has now made an estimated $132,148,000 and it had a budget of $130,000,000, which means add in the cost of the marketing and subtract the $159,500,000 foreign as well as DVD and Bluray sales and Ant-Man is profitable.
Was it a hit, nope. Was it the next Guardians of the Galaxy coming out of nowhere and stunning non-believers, not even a little. But it made Marvel and Disney money. I believe the people that were going to go see Ant-Man pretty all have at this point. Since the rise of the the Marvel controlled Marvel Cinematic Universe this movie is the biggest risk taken by Marvel Studios hands down. And the only really important thing to remember is that it made money for them. Marvel Studios can keep pushing the envelope. They can keep trying to expand what storytelling can be in the world of their movie franchises. They can keep moving forward shoveling money in the Disney machine and giving me reasons to be excited to be taking a day off from work and sitting in a theater ready to experience their newest gem. Whether it be another diamond like Avengers, or another diamond on the rough like Guardians of the Galaxy, or a really damn nice looking star garnet like Ant-Man.
I got a kick out of this movie. Behind Guardians it is the second funniest Marvel film. Even with Edgar Wright departing as the director it’s got his fingerprints all over it. Wright is still credited as a writer and producer on the film. So whatever you may think about why he and Marvel Studios didn’t see eye to eye and caused him to step away from the big chair don’t take it out on Ant-Man because Ant-Man is 100% an Edgar Wright movie. Really the only thing missing was Simon Pegg.
Michael Douglas turns in a forceful performance as Hank Pym, the man that really created Ultron wink wink, and gives his character plenty of gravitas and more than enough bad ass to make you believe he’s a retired superhero. It might be my favorite Douglas performance since The Game in 1997. Paul Rudd gives us a great version of Scott Lang the guy that has made a lot of bad decisions but is in no way a bad guy. The somewhat standard Rudd performance works well with the environment and feel of the movie as well as the characters around him. Rapper turned actor T.I., Evangeline Lilly, and Corey Stoll all play well and work against some cookie cutter archetypes in good performances. But the show stealer this time around is Michael Pena, he’s the comedic heart of this little caper romp and is a joy to watch. Spectacular cameos by Hayley Atwell and John Slattery are great for connecting this flick squarely in the Marvelverse and the scene with Anthony Mackie is one of the best in the film.
And yeah I said caper romp, or better yet let’s call it what it is, a heist film. Going much against track in the MCU this is a solid heist film and it works well as one. Adding more genre elements can really help flesh out the Marvel films and I hope they keep pushing it. Could go a long way to show those that think all the Marvel films are the same story rehashed. I do wonder if they green light a sequel if it will be another heist flick or a more standard action film, only time will tell. But man I got to tell you a Marvel heist film every couple of years would be pretty damn cool.
If you have held off this long I hope you still have a chance to go catch it on the big screen, It’s fun, you’ll have a good time, I promise. And if not the first run theaters at least give it a chance at your local dollar theater, the action scenes are well done and deserving of the big screen.
P.S. I shouldn’t have to tell you this anymore but it’s a Marvel movie, stay until the very END of the credits as there are 2 stingers at the end of Ant-Man, both really good setup pieces.
Tags: Ant-Man, antman, Edgar Wright, Evangeline Lilly, Hank Pym, Hayley Atwell, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, mcu, Michael Douglas, Michael Pena, movie review, Paul Rudd, Scott Lang, stinger, The Game, TV and Film