Although Ant-man certainly has its moments, overall it feels like a neglected step on the way to Civil War.
Paul Rudd plays, Scott Lang, an Ex-convict trying to reconnect with his daughter. His Ex-wife (Judy Greer) makes clear that he has to prove his ability to take responsibility for his life before he can take part in his child’s upbringing. So, naturally, he decides to break into the vault of the original Antman, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), and steal his super suit. The two men, along with Pym’s daughter decide to take on a megalomaniac with a super suit of his own.
As far as action films go, it’s a bit of mess. The majority of the action sequences are nauseating. There are a few linear action sequences that have been well thought through, but they all pop up in the trailer. That goes for the best comedic sequences in the film as well, which is really too bad, considering the director’s forte is comedy. Even with Rudd, the comedic elements flail. It’s easy to understand why: He excels at walking the line between caricature and character, between human and comic, but Antman doesn’t give him much to work with.
The other characters are a confusing mess as well. The baddy in the movie, Yellowjacket, is crazy because science. The ex’s new bubby is captain cop. And I can only assume that his ex-wife either is either a complete moron or she has a terrible case of amnesia; At the beginning of the film she makes clear that she doesn’t want Rudd’s criminal dealings to endanger her daughter’s life. And when Rudd fails to listen she lets him see his daughter anyways.
Let’s review his actions for a second—spoilers. He gets arrested, breaks out of prison, goes on the lamb, fights an avenger, breaks into an arms manufacturing building, destroys it with planned explosives, and then gets into a super suit fight with a megalomaniac in Greer’s house, destroying his daughters bedroom in the process. Christ, he could have accidentally created a blackhole! But Greer’s character laughs it off and lets her daughter keep a giant ant as a pet. Don’t worry if you’re confused, so am I.
I can only assume that this remarkable convenience is the result of a rewrite. Perhaps in Edgar Wright’s original script, Antman loses contact with his daughter, and faces the consequences of his actions. It wouldn’t be surprising if the original script dealt with responsibility and sacrifice. It is the bread and butter of the comic book world.
The more I think about the film, the more I’m convinced it was made by people who just didn’t care. There’s no passion to the vision that they’ve brought to the screen. Antman is not a comic book film, it’s what a producer thinks a comic book film should look like. It’s the product of someone who thinks comics are a childish form of entertainment, void of any depth or character. This is bad news, because when you think your genre is a joke, your end product becomes one.
On the micro, it’s the reason everyone hates Schumacher’s Batman. And on the macro, it’s one of the reasons the Western genre bubble burst. Cowboys became unrelatable cardboard cut outs; Toys for children to play with. There was a last ditch effort to make them human by showing their mortality. But when they killed John Wayne in The Cowboys, all they effectively did was kill the genre.
And considering what happens in Civil War, and Superman vs Batman, we are headed in that direction. Especially when the studios continue to self-sabotage by making films like Antman that are nothing more than a necessary evil; Something to tide fans over until the next instalment.