Tyler Harris's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Ant-Man (2015)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

There's not much I can say about Peyton Reed's ANT-MAN other than it does what it sets out to do and that you should see it. Speculating about behind the scenes drama isn't something I generally enjoy doing, but there's no doubt that a big shadow looms over this film. Edgar Wright fought to make this film for years and when people learned Marvel finally green-lit the project with Wright directing, there was a collective applause. That same applause turned into a big, long sigh when we discovered that "creative differences" led Wright to exit the project. Certainly my own excitement for the project diminished after hearing the news. The sigh within only grew louder when I found out that Peyton Reed, director of such classic films as BRING IT ON, THE BREAK-UP, and YES MAN, was brought in to helm the project. All this aside, I can really only judge the film on its final product, right? Right.

So, what is it that makes Ant-Man so good? I think it's a lucky mixture of many things. This film would have never happened had contemporary culture not taken such an extreme interest in connective superhero universes. If it had happened before this current hero boom, it may have been during the 90's, a time of great superhero film fodder, with BATMAN & ROBIN, STEEL, or Roger Corman's FANTASTIC FOUR. In many ways, Ant-Man is reminiscent of older, simpler superhero films. Ant-Man isn't convoluted or bloated (haha), it's very straight forward and, well, fun. It works well in the shadow its bungled production had created, and that's a rare feat. One might go in thinking, "Man, I wish Edgar Wright had directed this," and come out saying, "Wow, was that directed by Edgar Wright?" Okay, maybe that won't be said, but Wright definitely has a presence in this film felt through the movie's overall energy - it also helps that he has writing and story credits at the end!

In many ways, Ant-Man, by design, acts as a palette-cleanser to the bigger superhero films that have been released in the past. It's not any mistake that a film about a man who can shrink to the size of an ant is meant to be smaller-scale in comparison to such films like AGE OF ULTRON. In fact, Ant-Man has several moments of tongue-in-cheek, meta humor, commenting and almost making fun of itself for its own smaller size, but it's just that which works so well - its size. There are no toppling cities in Ant-Man. We aren't taken to parallel universes, slapped in the face with jargon about Infinity Stones, or faced with terrifying world-ending stakes. The film knows that's for The Avengers, and that begins to simplify and ground a lot. Ant-Man is a sci-fi heist film with the Marvel logo attached to itself. Its stakes are more personal, revolving around a great father-daughter dynamic not only with Rudd's Lang, but with Douglas' Pym, too. The global setting of The Avengers has scaled down to a street-level comedy about family. When Ant-Man is on top of things, it's great. When Ant-Man is more concerned with setting up future films, it starts to lose me.

Rating: 4/5.