Ant-Man review: Is the hero worth the hassle?

Peyton Reed knows what’s what with Ant-Man’s hilarious MCU debut…

Ant-Man

After everything that was thrown at it – all the production problems, Edgar Wright’s departure, the re-writing of the script, Wright fans threatening to boycott the movie and angry Marvel fans complaining in the YouTube comments section – it turns out that Ant-Man is actually pretty brilliant.

For people who weren’t familiar with Ant-Man before the film was announced – this writer included – the concept was kind of silly. A superhero that can shrink down to the size of an ant: it just sounds ridiculous no matter how you say it. An ant-sized man, what good is that going to do? Quite a lot, it turns out.

For pure entertainment value, Ant-Man is up there with Guardians Of The Galaxy. It’s got some of the angst that films like Thor and Captain America have that makes it emotional and relatable – that whole father/daughter dynamic verges on heavy – but mostly it’s just a damn good time.

It’s a heist movie. That’s all it is, a fun heist movie with powers and explosions and awesome costumes and ant armies. It’s also extremely well directed. Elements of the film make it obvious that Wright had a hand in it at one point. Some of the sequence work definitely echoes his style on Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim.

But anyone who thought his replacement wasn’t up to the job (and let’s be honest, there are quite a few of those people) will just have to admit they were wrong and get on with their new lives as Peyton Reed fans.

Like Guardians, Ant-Man has something that Iron Man, Thor and Captain America just don’t. It’s hard to say what it is though. At times, the film feels like a flat-out comedy, and a good one at that: these aren’t your regular superhero quips, these are proper jokes. There are times you’ll want to cheer because a visual gag or a one-liner was so well thought out. People actually did cheer. Five times. Because of jokes.

Paul Rudd is on top form as burglar-turned-superhero Scott Lang ,who doesn’t really know what he’s doing. Michael Douglas as Hank Pym bats the zingers perfectly while still remaining in control of the heist.

Corey Stoll, though not quite as interesting as Loki or Ultron, is fun, sinister and quite Patrick Bateman of American Psycho as Darren Cross/Yellowjacket. Even seven-year-old Abby Ryder Fortson is responsible for some of the film’s funniest moments as Lang’s daughter Cassie.

But Ant-Man’s MVP, as far as being completely hilarious is concerned, is easily Michael Peña as Lang’s best friend and partner in crime Luis. He steals every scene he’s in with buckets of charisma and 50 per cent of the best lines. The only way you couldn’t like Luis would be if Peña had personally wronged you at some point in your life and you had been too contrary to let it go. Marvel are missing a trick if they don’t make him an MCU regular.

As well as being the funniest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (yes, it’s actually funnier than Guardians), it also has a lot of heart. It might be because it’s a fresh take on a new character, or because it has a lot of heart. It makes you want to wave your arms about outside Kevin Feige’s office shouting, ‘This is it, Kevin! Do more of this stuff!’ The idea of Captain Marvel, Black Panther and Inhumans is more enticing from this side of the film.

If you’re a Marvel fan, whatever you think of the Ant-Man, just make sure you stay until the end. Like, the end-end. The film’s mid- and post-credits scenes are some of the best we’ve had. These are no Howard the Duck stumbling out of the Collector’s museum. These are proper teasers that will blow the anticipation levels through the roof.