In my last Ant-Man article, I may have given off the impression that I didn’t like Ant-Man. I’ll admit, talking about all its flaws did get me riled up but, ultimately, I actually really liked the movie. So, to prove it, here’s my counterpoint: all the good parts of Ant-Man. Mild spoilers inbound.
1. Paul Rudd as Scott Lang
I didn’t know what to make of Paul Rudd being cast as Scott. I’m not the kind of person to get worked up over casting choices nor do I know which actor should play what role. But from the moment we were introduced to him, I felt like Paul Rudd was pretty much perfect.
In a cinematic universe that has starred billionaires, super soldiers, special agents and literal gods, Rudd’s Lang was a refreshing change of pace. A down-to-earth, somewhat snarky ex-con who just wants to get his life back on track and reconnect with his young daughter – despite his amazing thief skills, he’s already a very relatable character. That’s not to say the other Marvel leads aren’t relatable but there was something about Rudd’s performance that made him immediately likable.
Maybe it was because he was able to capture so many different sides of Lang’s character perfectly. The sarcastic asshole that always had something to say about the situation, the devoted daddy that loves his daughter and the tired and desperate ex-thief; they all felt like they belonged to the same character. I didn’t know who should play as Lang but now that Paul Rudd’s here, I don’t want him to leave.
2. The comic relief weren’t annoying
When we’re introduced to Lang’s criminal buddies, I remember thinking to myself “God, I hope these guys don’t get annoying.” They just seemed to have all the trademarks of being really cringey and pointless comic relief. But to my surprise, whether it be the acting or writing, they not only managed to be funny but relevant.
It’s displayed very early on that despite their silliness, they were still really good thieves. The moment they orchestrate the break-in at Pym’s house, they suddenly become serious and professional while still retaining their comedic personalities. When they are called in to help with the final heist, I initially had a similar reaction to Pym, thinking that everything was going to go tits up because of these three. But no; they do an amazing job. Any problems that arise are a result of the interference of someone else.
It’s all too easy to make the comic relief dumb; like really idiotic to the point where you question why the main character would ever socialise with them. This film manages to avoid that pitfall entirely. Ironically, the best kind of comic relief is the kind where they’re not just the comic relief.
3. Scott’s daughter
This was definitely something I wasn’t expecting but it left quite an impact on me that I felt like I had to include it. The main character having a small daughter that he’s trying to help support isn’t a new idea and, usually, these small daughters are simply cute and innocent – in another word “pwecious.” Cassie manages to be “pwecious” but not in the way you’d expect.
Her first scene is at her birthday party, where Scott gives her a toy rabbit. Of course since he’s out of work and has virtually no money, it’s a crappy toy. More than that, it’s frightening. An ugly, creepy looking thing with an almost-equally creepy voice. What’s Cassie’s reaction? She loves it. 100% genuinely loves it and we even see her with it later while she’s asleep in bed. Cassie doesn’t serve that big of a role in terms of the action but I love how the writers went out of their way to make Cassie her own character instead of simply following a stock template.
Her performance is equally excellent. It’s all too common for child actors to be either dull or just plain bad but it’s like the girl who plays Cassie wasn’t even given a script. She’s just so natural. It’s a small thing but, for me, this character was a very pleasant surprise.
4. The shrinking scenes
I very rarely complement how scenes are shot, simply because I’m not an expert cameraman and the only reason I would call a shot bad is because it’s really bad. But my god, the scenes when Ant-Man has shrunk look amazing. The very first one, when Lang accidentally shrinks himself in a bath tub almost blew me away with how good it looked. It felt like Edgar Wright had never left, or at least someone was doing a damn good imitation.
There was just something spectacular about seeing the world from Ant-Man’s perspective. You feel like you’ve shrunken with him; running water now feels like a tidal wave and bullets feel like giant missiles thanks to the visuals and the sound. The shot of Ant-Man running across a pistol might be my favourite in the whole movie.
The best parts, though, were when Ant-Man would rapidly switch between sizes. Not just because it looks cool but because it lends itself to a lot of creativity; the fight scenes between Ant-Man and Yellowjacket at the end were the payoff and demonstrated how much of a threat these two can be even when shrunk. Hell, I’d even say that it was one of my favourite climaxes in all the Marvel movies thus far, both for its creativity and how silly it all really was.
5. Still had plenty of surprises
It was unanimously decided that the best part of Ant-Man was seeing big bad Yellowjacket getting run over by a Thomas the Tank Engine toy – a scene that was sadly shown in all its glory in one of the trailers. We all agreed it was fantastic but how much better would it have been if our first exposure to it was in the move theater? It felt like the film had played its trump card too early.
Fortunately, that wasn’t entirely the case. Obviously I don’t wish to spoil any of it but let’s just say there were still plenty of great moments that I don’t think anybody expected to see. All I recommend you do is actually go watch the movie and experience them for yourself.
Ant-Man could have very easily become the one blot within Marvel’s cinematic universe but was somehow saved and managed to be far better than I think even fans of the super small superhero expected it to be. All I wanted from it was a good Ant-Man movie, but I think it managed to even be a good movie on its own. It was funny, had a great lead, great action and was, overall, very fun. If you still don’t believe how a film about a guy whose main powers involve shrinking and talking to ants can be good, I suggest you still go watch it. You just might find yourself a new favourite superhero.