Ant-Man is a movie which I so desperately wanted to see at the theater. Unfortunately, life made that an impossibility, so you can imagine my joy when a 3D Blu-ray copy of the film hit my mailbox for the purpose of review consideration. Before we get into the movie, here is a brief background on my enjoyment of the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’ve pretty much loved them all, to one degree or another. My least favorite of the bunch have been the Thor movies, and I still liked them. I know it’s a weird complaint when dealing with comic book movies, but something about the colorful, fantastical nature of the Thor movies just doesn’t appeal to me. My two favorite movies in the entire MCU are the two Captain America movies, and especially Winter Soldier. That a comic book, in my view, could be contender for best action movie of the year, is really amazing. Ant-Man is a character who I’m probably least familiar with. If I’ve ever read a book containing the character, I don’t recall. But once I saw that Paul Rudd was getting a turn as a superhero, I knew it would be magical.
The movie was the subject of controversy for over half of its production cycle. Originally intended to be helmed by fan favorite director Edgar Wright(Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End) a chance in leadership was made when Wright and the film’s producers had a major difference in opinion as to which direction the film would take. I’ll admit to being worried. It seemed like every couple of weeks, we’d hear some bad news from behind-the-scenes of the production. In spite of the troubles behind the scenes, Ant-Man finally made it to the big screen, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.
Paul Rudd has been working his whole life towards this moment, when he could bring his brand of cynical, sarcastic “nice guy” to a huge movie like this. Like I said, I know almost nothing about the character of Ant-Man other than what was presented in the movie, but after seeing it, I can’t imagine another actor in the role. Rudd seems as if he were born for this type of greatness. And while yes, I am a huge fan of Edgar Wright, I do not think his exit from the project harmed it in the least. Peyton Reed took the reigns, and while his most notable past directorial efforts consist of a few episodes of several cult TV shows, and Bring It On, he did a fantastic job behind the camera here. Also, though Wright exited the movie, his artistic input was still utilized, at least in some ways. The movie boasts a staggering 5 or 6 writing credits, including Wright, Adam McKay, Joe Cornish and Paul Rudd himself, but never does it feel disjointed or hard-to-follow.
Ant-Man is an origin story, so it does take the first entire third(if not more) of the running time to set the stage, introduce the characters, and put them into the situation where the final act will kick in, but it’s still a fun ride, and never feels like it stops for too long, or takes an exceptional amount of time to get to the action. And when the action does start, it’s a hell of a good time. It’s not quite as gritty and brutal as Winter Soldier, because, let’s face it, this is a much lighter character. But the action is there, and it is highly effective. As with most of the Avengers movies, Ant-Man ends with a caption stating that “Ant-Man will return” and I personally can’t wait to see how they work him into the Avengers movies.
The Blu-ray release of the film itself is every bit as awesome as you’d assume it to be. You have 3D and 2D options, as well as a digital copy of the film. The video and audio quality are both top-notch, zero issues to report. The bonus contend tends to lean to the “fun” side of extras, but there is a little bit of behind-the-scenes production footage as well.