Ant Man [IMAX/3D]
An enjoyable film and a decent addition to the ever expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, with a charming turn by Paul Rudd and great use of 3D-effects, but marred by the ghost of Edgar Wright (and Joe Cornish) and a general uneven-ness in terms of tone and characters.
As an origin story, the basic structure was there. Director Peyton Reed brought us from Point A to B to C and D smoothly and there were enough humour within to make this a sort of Marvel's Ocean Eleven. Reed's action sequences were also entertaining enough although nothing too mind-blowing.
But the biggest problem was that Wright's fingerprints could still be seen through Reed's gloves and the glimpses of Wright's DNA leave Ant-Man wanting.
Wright and Cornish have a very particular style and it peeks out at times in certain sequences, but these moments never really got to shine and hence it ended up giving the film a certain sense of uneven-ness.
Furthermore, Marvel's insistence to tie up every movie so succinctly with the greater MCU made it even more uneven, with certain parts of the film feeling like they were haphazardly mashed-up to give a whole. As much as we loved to see Hayley Atwell, John Slattery and Anthony Mackie, their scenes really ought to feel more organic.
I have a feeling Ant-Man will tie in very nicely with MTvU.
Adam Mckay and Rudd contributed to the screenplay, and it was evident with many of Rudd's lines. However, most of the people he played opposite with could not parlay with him as effectively. The only true standout was Michael Peña who owned his role and had great comedic timing with Rudd.
Rudd was great as Scott Lang, although his backstory should have been more developed. But Rudd had the screen charm and that handsome-ish yet rouge-ish and boy-ish charisma to play a thief-turned-hero. He is likeable but yet serious. And of course he wrote his own lines and was able to deliver the one-liners as they should be. That's an advantage right there.
Michael Douglas as Hank Pym was a disappointment. Douglas had no connection with his character and as the dead-panned one opposite the goofball Rudd, Pym was just boring. He and Rudd had no chemistry.
Evangeline Lily and Rudd were not much better. I wonder how Wasp would be like if Joss Whedon had got his hands on her. Her character was just as one-dimensional and predictable and boring.
(Whedon and Wright and Cornish should do a film together!)
Corey Stoll is on a roll ever since his turn on House of Cards. but here he was just another cookie-cutter, one-dimensional Marvel villain. And not even a very convincing one at that. Marvel either needs to gives us more complex villains like Daredevil's Kingpin (although granted a series does allow more time for character development) or more hammy ones like Ultron.
The Captain America franchises work well because they do not usually have a villain per se.
Again, the music - by Christoph Beck - was another decent MCU score.
The mid-credits scene was kind of expected. The end-credits scene, however, makes me excited for Captain America: Civil War!
At the end of it, I wished we could have gotten Edgar Wright's vision instead of Marvel's.