By Andy Chandler
Now that the dust has settled (sob) since the amazingly emotional end to Infinity War, the MCU has to dust (sob) itself down and carry on.
And it’s carrying on in style as next week finally sees the release of ‘Ant-Man & The Wasp’, I say finally because it’s been held back from release for a month because of the World Cup, and it looks fantastic.
Set in the run up, and aftermath, of Infinity War, it promises to be a great film and it needs to be because the bar was set so very high by its 2015 predecessor: Ant-Man, which is the focus of my review this week.
Ant-Man started out life as an Edgar Wright film, that’s right, the director of ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and ‘Hot Fuzz’ bagged himself a Marvel film and it was enough to get the geek world very excited. After multiple scripts and changes Wright left the project before filming started and Peyton Reed was bought in to finish it off, but the humour of Edgar Wright is still there and it makes the film a better one.
Anyway, Paul Rudd stars as Scott Lang: a cat-burgular released from prison at the very start of the film. He’s out but is desperate to turn over a new leaf and forge a better life for himself and his young daughter Cassie.
He moves in with some friends and even gets himself a job at Baskin & Robbins intent to go straight. Alas, that wouldn’t be much of a story and it isn’t long before he’s tempted back into his life of crime by former cellmate Luis, played perfectly by the ever-hilarious Michael Peña.
Scott’s first mission back as a thief (sorry, cat-burgular) comes about when one of his friends hears a story about an old millionaire who has a massive safe is his basement that must be full of money, it must be….right?
When Scott gets his hands on the contents of the safe, it isn’t quite what he had anticipated. It’s an old leather suit and helmet. He gets it home, tries it on and BOOM he gets shrunk down to the size of an Ant.
The millionaire he had robbed turned out to be Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym, a scientist who had discovered skrinking technology and used it to become a superhero for a short time but whose wife had disappeared into the ever-shrinking quantum realm some years before.
What follows is one of the best heist films of the last decade. Rudd and Douglas are effortlessly charismatic and help ground a story that verges on the insane with their very human performances as two characters forced to co-operate because of their mutual need for each other.
Evangeline Lily pulls no punches either as Hank’s daughter Hope Van dyne, she’s stuck in a dilemma between wanting to help her dad whilst still working at Pym Technologies, the company that Hank created (but got voted out of when he refused to share how he invented the shrinking technology), which adds another level of intrigue and questions about exactly where loyalties lie.
It’s a film with real heart, real action and some very real laughs that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat throughout and toppled ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ as my favourite Marvel Cinematic Universe movie.
The sequel promises more of the same and I cannot wait, it’s films like Ant-Man and Guardians that, for me, keep the MCU from feeling old or stagnant by bravely doing it’s own thing. The fact that it ties into a bigger world is nice, but not essential to enjoy these great, great films.