Synopsis: “Forced out of his own company by former protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) recruits the talents of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a master thief just released from prison. Lang becomes Ant-Man, trained by Pym and armed with a suit that allows him to shrink in size, possess superhuman strength and control an army of ants. The miniature hero must use his new skills to prevent Cross, also known as Yellowjacket, from perfecting the same technology and using it as a weapon for evil.”
Review: The latest (and smallest) addition to the MCU, like the many Avengers that came before him, is privy to yet-another origin story in Ant-Man, a largely by-the-numbers introduction to another likable Marvel hero facing off against a lackluster villian. With comedy director Peyton Reed (Bring it On, Yes Man) behind the camera, Ant-Man is one of Marvel’s most sarcastic efforts yet, with Rudd handling the many witticisms the likes of Tony Stark with relative ease. Though Ant-Man was pitched as more of a heist movie than a superhero movie, that distinction didn’t really stand up to scrutiny. This is MCU doing what they always do. And surely they know how to craft a product that properly lubricated for mass consumption but the repetitive shtick is beginning to get more than a little dry.
From our original review: “Ant-Man is pest controlled, a refreshing take on the increasingly stale superhero concept. Though Rudd might not be the coolest Ant-venger yet, he packs a concentrated punch in a smaller package. He’s the Brian Fantana of superheroes, but for him, 60% of the time works every time. Douglas and Lilly play well off of each other, and the host of minor characters like Peña and T.I. is fittingly ridiculous. It’s the Anchorman of Marvel movies, a eusocial experiment in de minimis, a goldilocks ‘just right’ with all of the superheroism, effects and excitement packaged in.” [Full review here] (C+)
As always, the package Disney has constructed for Ant-Man is immaculate with 1080p resolution and a 1.85:1 aspect ratio with DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 delivering a full audio wallop.
The Ant-Man Blu-Ray release comes somewhat packed with features but lacks a Marvel One-Shot, the occasionally great short tie-ins that Marvel customarily includes with their releases. Extras do include:
- Audio Commentary: Paul Rudd and Peyton Reed offer a full-feature audio commentary full of jibes and anecdotes about the making of Ant-Man. The analysis is somewhat surface-level (looks like we’ll never know the full details of Edgar Wright’s departure) but it provides some mildly enjoyable side notes for hardcore fans.
- Gag Reel: 3:24 of the cast and crew goofing off, breaking character, cursing, dancing and making funny faces. If nothing else, it should prove just how much fun Paul Rudd had filming this thing. The man seems like a living, breathing smiley emoji.
- Featurettes: Let’s Go To The Macroverse (8:08) shows how the effects crew and producers realized the size-manipulation involved with Ant-Man and shows what went into making the tiniest sets feel “interactive and real.” Making of an Ant-Sized Heist: A How-To Guide (14:34) Peyton Reed and the cast talk about the connections Ant-Man has to the classical heist movie, the production design, casting, conventional heist tropes vs Marvel tropes, the suit, Rudd’s workout routine, stunt shooting and more.
- Deleted Scenes: Fixing the Cable (3:10) Scott Lang poses as a cable repairman when casing Hank Pym’s house. Hank Vaults the Suit (0:32) Hank locks the Ant-Man suit away from prying eyes. Paxton and Gale (0:24) Two cops try to figure out how Scott escaped the police station. Qubit Defense Matrix (0:33) Hank and Hope Van Dyke conspire as to how Scott broke through a tough security system. Scott and Cassie (0:36) Scott’s daughter confesses that she misses her father. Wish Fulfilment (0:25) Scott rigs a game of craps to help his buddies win big. The Future of Pym Particles (1:40) businessman/villain Darren Cross talks about the future of the company and its shrinking technology in this alternative take. The History of Ant-Man (1:19) Hank walks Scott through his own journey as the Ant-Man and his many covert ops around the globe. All deleted scenes are also available with commentary.
- WHIH News Front: A series of fake interviews conducted by Christine Everhart (Leslie Bibb) with Scott Lang and Darren Cross tying the events of The Avengers movies in with the goings-on of Ant-Man.
Verdict: Even if you’re a MCU completist, the somewhat limited Ant-Man special features only warrant a rental.