How much of Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man is left in Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man? It’s hard to tell precisely. There are certainly hints of the Cornetto Trilogy’s brand of humour here and there – those montage scenes, the thing with the waffles – but were they there in the original script, or an attempt by rewriters Paul Rudd and Adam ‘Anchorman’ McKay to ape their style?
There’s definitely two different types of comedy going on here, and they clash as awkwardly with each other as the humour in general clashes with the self-serious action-thriller aspects. And self-serious is what you have to be when you’re dealing with a plot that involves controlling ants with the mind. That side of the movie works OK, but it’s all curiously underwhelming, making me think of Honey I Shrunk The Kids and Antz and A Bug’s Life rather than what I was actually seeing in front of me.
I’d be interested to see whether Wright’s original vision, which he submitted to production hell what feels like a decade ago, would have overcome these issues. The impression I’m left with, though, is that even if the script was on point, it’d still be let down by poor casting: Rudd is a dud in the starring role; Evangeline Lilly only figures out how to emote by the end; Michael Douglas once again plays MICHAEL DOUGLAS.
One more thing: I did notice the effort to diversify the mise en scène, with many of the supporting and background characters being people of colour. But when all the leads are white…