I don’t have the guts or knowledge or care enough to put myself out there like Ryan and predict the top ten grossing films of 2015. But one thing I’ve steadfast to in the Gabbing Geek Bullpen has been that I thought Ant-Man would end Marvel’s blockbuster roll. And it turns out I was right. (What a different time we live in when an opening of 58 million dollars is considered a disappointment.) Besting only The Incredible Hulk‘s opening weekend (and finishing dead last if you adjust Incredible Hulk for inflation).
I just never thought Ant-Man on his own would be a draw. He was not one of the Marvel big hitters, and he never stepped up to the plate and hit a home run with a trailer like other B-Listers Guardians of the Galaxy.
I had low expectations going into this. Maybe that was partially due to the disappointment of Age of Ultron, but likely just because the property never really grabbed me. The trailers were underwhelming. And the behind the scenes shuffleboard of directors and writers usually doesn’t inspire much confidence.
That said, I really enjoyed it. Paul Rudd and Michael Pena were great. Evangeline Lilly was ok, but I was so distracted by her awful hair it was hard to take her seriously. Michael Douglas was good as Hank Pym, and it was an interesting angle for the film to take to put Hank and Janet back in the days before the likes of Iron Man.
I liked the ties to the MCU, especially the Spider-Man shout out which made me smile. I didn’t think it bridged any gaps between Phases Two and Three like Marvel big wig Kevin Feige was spinning it, even if it does obviously take place after Age of Ultron and before Captain America: Civil War. I thought Falcon would have a minor cameo, so the fight scene was a nice surprise. Unlike Jenny I didn’t feel it went on too long.
I do agree with Jenny (and Tom and Watson) that Cross was an incredibly weak villain, but hey, so was Obadiah Stane in Iron Man and that is one of the best MCU films.
I also agree with Watson on one other thing, it never really found a grove as to what type of movie it wanted to be. It wasn’t funny enough to be a full blown comedy. (Though it does have some great one-liners and sight gags.) It wasn’t heist-y (is that word?) enough to carry itself as a heist film, say, the way Captain America: The Winter Soldier did as a conspiracy thriller. And it wasn’t action-y enough to be a pure action film. Granted, it has it’s share of action, but nothing overly memorable.
My one complaint centers around the after credits scene involving Captain America, Falcon and Winter Soldier. It was a cool scene, and I’m really looking forward to Captain America: Civil War, but there were two things that bugged me about it. The first being that it looked like a different movie, like it was tacked on after the fact. Because, well, it was. This was footage shot during production of Civil War and added just prior to Ant-Man‘s release. The second is that it feels like it is just a scene from Civil War, stuck on the end as a sneak preview. Which is ok in and of itself, but not what the end credit scenes have given us in the past. This is not a shot of the Maximoff Twins, or Nick Fury recruiting Tony Stark. This seems like a scene we will see again at some point while watching Civil War. Not a big deal, but just rubbed me the wrong way.
Ant-Man is a lot of fun and the audience also seemed to be enjoying it. I think I would give it 7/10 Pym Particles as well. It’s a middle of the pack MCU film, but a decent way to spend two hours this summer.