Before Ant-Man and The Wasp hits theatres tomorrow (or tonight depending on where you you live) let’s throw it back to 2015’s Ant-Man. Coming right after the announcement of the ‘Marvel Phase 3’ slate announcement and Avengers: Age of Ultron, Marvel decided to wrap up Phase 2 in the biggest way possible – using their smallest hero. Ant-Man is a film that not only does a great job wrapping up Phase 2, but sets the stage for the beginning of Phase 3.

The 12th installment in the MCU is directed by Peyton Reed. Ant-Man has a star studded cast that includes Michael Douglas (Hank Pym aka the ‘original’ Ant-Man), Paul Rudd (Scott Lang, the modern Ant-Man), Canadian actress Evangeline Lilly (Hope Van Dyne who becomes the modern Wasp in the mid-credits scene), Michael Peña (Luis), T.I (Dave), Corey Stoll (Darren Cross/Yellowjacket), and cameos by Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon), and the Marvel God himself Stan Lee (bartender).

In terms of ending Phase 2, Ant-Man does a great job because it is light hearted. It’s the first superhero comedy movie in the MCU (Guardians of the Galaxy had jokes, but it was too action heavy and Thanos shall not be in a comedy) which is much needed after Quicksilver’s death in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Tony Stark “retiring” from the Avengers. In terms of setting up Phase 3, we get a cameo from Falcon when Ant-Man tries to infiltrate the S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ. In a funny exchange in quips and fists, Ant-Man wins the fight over Falcon (it is his movie afterall). The main goal of this scene was to make Falcon aware of Ant-Man, and for him to know who he is. This comes in handy in the post credits scene, which was also a scene in Captain America: Civil War;where Cap, Falcon and Bucky are in hiding and they need to build a team in case Iron man decides to strike. Falcon looks over and says, “I know a guy.” This would ultimately lead Ant-Man to be on #TeamCaptainAmerica in Civil War and ultimately lead to his house arrest for violating the Sokovia Accords, and explain a part of his absence in Infinity War.

The funniest scene in the entire movie had to be the most profitable one. After the 1989 flashback with Hank Pym “formally” resigning from S.H.I.E.L.D., we see the release of Scott Lang from prison in present day. His best friend Luis picks him up from prison, and tries to tell him about a new heist they could pull off. Scott declines and says he says he has a “Masters of Electrical Engineering and is totally capable of getting a job.” The film then goes into one of the best product placement in film history; Scott Lang is working at Baskin Robbins trying to upset Mango Fruit Blasts. His boss finds out about his criminal past and fires him saying one of the movie’s most trademark line, “Baskin Robbins always finds out.”

Another aspect that is praiseworthy is the choice to make Scott Lang the Ant-Man for the MCU, as opposed to Hank Pym. This is an interesting choice because thus far, we have seen all of the original iterations of the Marvel heroes (Steve Rogers, Thor Odinson, Natasha Romanoff, Tony Stark, etc.). Once again, with the exception of the Guardians of the Galaxy, although to be fair no one really knew of them, they could’ve been entirely new characters just fro the movies. Ant-Man was definitely not a household name at the time, so one would think that they want to introduce Ant-Man with his original holder of the title. It was an exceptional job done by incorporating Hank Pym’s story and run of Ant-Man and transitioning the title to Scott Lang, as that would be something you would expect unable sequel or the end of a trilogy, not an origin story movie.

Unfortunately, this movie suffered from the tired, formulaic “Marvel Equation for Making Movies.” The 2-D supervillian who is evil because he is angry because his lab partner is not sharing his suit technology, so he makes his own suit and become super bad and super powerful, so the hero has to get in the suit in some way, shape or form, (in this case it is through Scott Lang) and the hero fights an equally powered evil version of himself in an epic third act. So back to this Iron Man review…. wait a minute. There’s nothing in my opinion that could’ve been done to fix this because that is who the character of Yellowjacket is, and this is supposed to be a light-hearted movie. But there is no excuse for lazy writing!

All in all, Ant-Man was well executed and introduced to the big screens, which is nothing new for Marvel. It makes great for movie night with some friends, although the rewatchability of it may be not to often, since it is like almost every Iron Man (and that one Hulk movie) since the MCU’s debuted debut in 2008. Some things that we are excited to see in Ant-Man and The Wasp is Evangeline Lilly kicking butt in The Wasp suit, and how Scott Lang furthers his relationship between Hope and his daughter Cassie.

Grade: B+

Vishal Lilman
vmlilman@yahoo.ca

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