Director: Peyton Reed (Bring it On, The Break-Up, Down with Love, Yes Man)
Writers: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd
Producers: Kevin Feige
Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Abby Ryder Fortson, Michael Peña
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 117 min.
One thing a superhero movie, or any blockbuster, should never be is boring. Unfortunately, that’s the quickest criticism I would make of Ant-Man, which out of everything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe should have had the uniqueness to avoid that description the most. At this point in the game, being the 12th film in the franchise and the closer of their Phase Two, it’s no surprise that Ant-Man follows the Marvel formula from start to finish, but Guardians of the Galaxy just last year showed that you can be on the MCU factory line and still bring a flesh flavor to the mix that excites more often than it succumbs to tedium. Even with the much-discussed departure of Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish, this film had all the potential to be the quirky and charismatic jolt of energy that the franchise needed to stave off the fatigue it’s been plagued with increasingly the past few years of dolling out one overfamiliar entry after the next. Director Peyton Reed comes from a unique line of comedies, Anchorman director Adam McKay worked on a new draft of the script and right alongside him was star Paul Rudd, an unconventional and exciting choice to lead a big superhero extravaganza. So why did Ant-Man turn out so dull?
Maybe it was the tired plot, as Marvel’s patented routine of bland, one-dimensional, practically non-existent villains sees its newest member in the form of Corey Stoll’s Darren Cross, saddling a very talented actor with a character who doesn’t even warrant a second glance. The moment you meet this guy there’s no real sense of threat to him, so instead you sit back and wait for whatever is going to happen to wash him away so he can join Malekith and Ivan Vanko in the annals of nobodies. Cross got his feelings hurt when his mentor, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), wouldn’t share his big secrets with him so instead he spent decades trying to create what Pym did in order to…. um…. uh….. revenge…. or….. ? Well how about this, how about Pym’s sad story about his deceased wife leading him to neglect his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly), who now works for Cross but goes back to her father for help when she discovers what he’s going to do with this dangerous new technology. You see, the whole relationship is built around the fact that Pym has been hiding the truth of what happened to Hope’s mother and there’s this really big emotional moment where he finally tells her, letting her know that he hid it all these years, ruining his relationship with his only child and causing her to abandon him, because…. um…. crap…. well…. the movie needed an emotional scene?