There’ve been constant ups and downs regarding this movie, a bunch of speculation about whether it can even be told in a compelling and interesting way. And when Edgar Wright left the project…wow.
So I had no idea what to make of this movie going into it, except that I’d heard from people who saw it that it was funny.
I really liked it! It had great direction, awesome actors, a good story, an interesting villain, and a climax that tops everything else the movie had wowed us with before. It had some of the best, most organic 3-D I’ve ever seen, and is a true experience in the theater. More than anything though, it was funny. Maybe the funniest Marvel movie so far–including Guardians.
But it has two flaws that keep me from LOVING it.
Flaw One: It had almost no emotional impact. I liked the characters, especially Scott Lang (Ant Man) and Cross (Yellowjacket), but I didn’t care about them. That robbed one particular scene of a lot of its power. Fortunately that scene did everything else right, and kept me entertained, as does most of this movie. Which is why this doesn’t wreck the entire film.
Flaw Two: They break the rules of their own Sci-Fi tech. We all know that the Marvel movies aren’t hard Science Fiction. Heck, Star Wars does more science and less hand-waving than Marvel, and THEIR SCIENCE LITERALLY INVOLVES HAND-WAVING. So this shouldn’t come to a surprise to anyone. In addition, the ways that it breaks its own rules should probably fall under the respective Rules of Awesome and Funny.
And yet. I write Fantasy. Epic Fantasy, with magic infused into the fabric of the world. Literally half of what I do is make rules up for a given magic, and then show readers the repercussions of those rules until it feels real to them. So this bothers me more than it would most people.
What do I mean? According to Hank Pym (the original Ant Man), the technology shrinks the user down to ant size by reducing the space between the particles. A bit hand-wavy, whatever. But here’s the important part: No mass is lost or gained when shrinking or growing. So the person (and anything they shrink/grow) should weight the same, small or big.
And in some scenes, this is depicted. When Lang hits the floor after a long drop, he chips ceramic, dents car roofs. It also explains why he can hit as hard as he can. But in other instances, he jumps from the edge of a desk and is caught by a flying carpenter ant. Imagine a bead that’s 170lbs, dropping on an ant. What would happen? There are other examples, but I’ll not spoil until the spoiler section.
These inconsistencies wreak havoc on the plot for anyone who’s paying attention. I worry about the future of the shared universe exploding with this lazy physics whenever Lang is on screen.
Is Ant Man a good movie? Absolutely. Entertaining? Definitely. Stupid? Dumb as rocks. 7.5.
Also, fair warning: There’s about one word per minute that you might not want your kid hearing. Unlike in Guardians, where the cursing sometimes felt forced, this felt appropriate, and yet a tad excessive for a Marvel property.
Other instances of Ant Man in-universe physics fails? The train bursting through the roof, the giant ant, and OHDEARLORD THE TANK. When he goes sub-atomic, if time and space have no meaning, how does he hear his daughter’s voice? And it’s never established beforehand that the shrinky and growy Frisbees can go into the belt, changing its properties.
The exact opposite of this? When Captain America reflect’s Thor’s blow at the start of Ultron, sending the shockwave to take out the tank.
This isn’t a spoiler, but I didn’t know where else to put it: I loved Cross/Yellojacket. He was basically Obadiah Stain, or Hammer, except compelling and likable (and maybe a tad bit Tai Lung from Kung Fu Panda). Corey Stoll’s performance was simply fantastic. Even better than Paul Rudd’s understated performance as Lang.