Sunday, 16 August 2015

Ant-Man by Wright & Cornish, McKay & Rudd

With this summer's disappointing crop of Marvel movies (Avengers Age of Ultron, Fantastic Four) I was getting ready to dismiss the whole genre... but then along came Ant-Man.

This movie is a winner, and for an unexpected reason — its sense of humour. The original draft of the script was by the English team of Joe Cornish and Edgar Wright. 

Both have a strong background in TV comedy, and both have written and directed previous films (Cornish, Attack the Block. Wright, the splendid Hot Fuzz): they previously collaborated on the excellent screenplay of Spielberg's Tin Tin.
Edgar Wright was originally scheduled to direct Ant-Man. He was bumped in favour of Peyton Reed (Down With Love) and the Wright & Cornish script was rewritten by US comedy writer Adam McKay and the star of the movie, Paul Rudd.

But whatever transformations the screenplay was subjected to, the film which ended up on our screens is great fun. 

I particularly treasure the role of Luis, played by Michael Peña (seen in last year's classic Fury). Luis is a small time crook who is also an unexpectedly good natured sophisticate. When he isn't making waffles for his fellow criminals he is attending wine tastings or exhibitions of non-representational art and enthusing about rosé and Rothko.

It also features a cherishable scene where Michael Douglas catches his daughter (Evangeline Lilly, who played Tauriel in The Hobbit – cinema's hottest elf) snogging with Paul Rudd outside his door. 

And there's a fleeting but unexpectedly moving moment when the hero's favourite insect friend (dubbed "Ant-ony") is killed. Plus the movie boasts a terrific score by Christophe Beck.

Ant-Man has some dull Avengers continuity crow-barred into it, but that doesn't matter. It is altogether an unexpected summer treat, which I warmly commend to you.

(Image credits: All the posters are from good ol' Imp Awards.)

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