I am genuinely surprised by the resiliency of the Marvel formula, which seems to be: take the script from Iron Man, cross out the name Iron Man, insert new comic book character name, print money. The outlier to this formula seem to be Guardians of the Galaxy which didn’t use the Iron Man script, but instead used The Avengers. Ant-Man, the latest offering from Marvel Studios, also stays firmly in that impenetrable mold. All of this begs the question, “Why bother reviewing these at all?” I haven’t come up with a satisfactory answer to that as of this point.
The model isn’t new, but typically in the past it’s been utilized on horror franchises. Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, and Hellraiser all have multiple sequels that follow that very specific formula. There are rabid fans of the various series’ and they know the ins and outs of all the mythology unique to each one. The exact same things can be said about Marvel movies in almost all instances. The difference appears to be that horror franchises are considered shlocky and niche fan bases, while the Marvel films are blockbusters that make millions of dollars.
So here we are with Ant-Man. Did I enjoy it? Yes, I mostly had a good time while watching the film. Is it a good movie? No, it certainly isn’t. It’s the same hero origin story that has been around for decades and essentially spins its wheels for two hours. This comes back to the same conversation that rears its ugly head every time a tentpole blockbuster is released. Quality vs. Entertainment. Ant-Man is entertaining without being good. And you know what? That’s fine. There’s no reason not to enjoy yourself while watching Paul Rudd charm the pants off everyone he meets, and I even laughed quite a few times during the movie. I draw the line, however, at saying that it’s a good movie. It is charismatically mediocre. It is charming in the way that all of the best Marvel films are charming, but will it leave any kind of lasting impression on me? Sadly, no it will not. I foresee that I will have forgotten almost everything about the film in a week. Ant-Man is like eating a really good ice cream cone. You will rave about it while eating, savor the taste that lingers in your mouth for just a little while, and then go about your day. Pretty soon you’ll have forgotten that you got ice cream at all. Grade: C+