US release date: 17th July 2015
Director: Peyton Reed
Writers: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd
We open with the most overtly MCU call back in a film so far. This is Triskelion, the future base for SHIELD, seen and also destroyed in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014). In fact, this plate looks like an establishing shot from that 2014 film, with new graphics overlaid to make it look incomplete.
The location is Theodore Roosevelt Island, at the end of Theodore Roosevelt Bridge, in Washington DC.
We are in 1989.
Inside. It’s a set. The main studio home for this film was Pinewood, Atlanta. It was the first film to shoot there.
Behind some people we see a big round logo for SHIELD. Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement Logistics Division.
We see some people from the back and far away. The first person we see properly is Howard Stark, played by John Slattery.
This is Slattery’s 2nd appearance as Stark in the MCU, last appearing in Iron Man 2 (2010). Howard Stark is also portrayed as a younger man by Dominic Cooper in other films. Slattery was spotted in passing on a screen in Avengers Age Of Ultron (2015). Slattery told IGN:
It’s the biggest set I’ve ever seen, I think, or I’ve ever been on certainly. It’s just a gigantic room and there’s numbers and girders and you think, is that what green screen looks like?
Then Hank Pym, played by Michael Douglas.
Pym is one of the mainstays of the Marvel Universe in the comics. He is the first Ant-Man, later taking on various roles like Giant Man and Yellowjacket. He’s an important scientist in the comics, creating many of the important elements that make the Marvel universe, from the Pym Particles and Ultron.
In many ways, Pym’s role has been taken by Tony Stark in the MCU. In the comics, he is a contemporary of Stark and the other Avengers. Here, they have made him part of the generation before. Pym is also a very complex character in the comics, with a strong strain of mental instability, which is all excluded here (so far).
He first appeared in Tales To Astonish #27 (January 1962). He was created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby.
Douglas has been a huge star for many decades. He’s probably best known for iconic roles like Wall Street (1987) and Basic Instinct (1992). Comedies, blockbusters, thrillers, acclaimed indies – he’s done it all. Although this is his first stab at the world of superheroes, and he was excited. He told Collider:
When my agent called me and sent the script over I was like, ‘Yes! Finally.’ Actually, I was a little hurt that no one had asked me before. Jack Nicholson and Danny Devito are two of my oldest friends… I looked back at the Joker and the Penguin and they told me how much fun they had playing characters that were theatrical and larger than life. So I was excited when Marvel sent me two years worth of Ant-Man comics in a leather-bound volume to research my character and get an idea of who this crazy inventor Hank Pym was. And I was really looking forward to doing a big special effects movie.
He is, of course, de-aged here. This is a mix of Michael Douglas with a younger performer, and CGI.
Steve Buscemi, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan and Gary Oldman were all considered for the role.
We see two more people. First is Mitchell Carson, played by Martin Donovan.
Carson appears in the comics, as a traitorous SHIELD agent with ties to Pym and Ant-Man. He is a relatively new creation and also more of an active agent and a brawler, than a high powered exec. He was also set to be a new Ant-Man, but was a villain at heart.
He first appeared in Marvel Team Up Vol 3 #21 (August 2006). He was created by Robert Kirkman and Andy Kuhn.
Donovan is best known for his work in indie American cinema, with films such as The Opposite Of Sex, Insomnia and more. Reed was a huge fan of Donovan’s work in Hal Hartley’s films. He worked with Michael Douglas on 2006’s The Sentinel. Donovan told CBR:
It was incredible because I’ve been doing this for a long time, and my background is small films and television. I’ve done a few, borderline sort of studio films, but I’ve never been in anything anywhere near this. So it was a pretty remarkable call to get. But I have to say, that it was driven by Peyton Reed and Paul Rudd, who I know and have worked with years before, and Peyton knowing my work from the independent films I’d done years ago.
Donovan is also de-aged here.
Then Peggy Carter. She is played by Hayley Atwell.
This is Atwell’s 4th time as Peggy Carter. We last saw her in Avengers Age Of Ultron (2015).
If you only saw the films, this is right in the middle of Peggy’s life. We last saw her, chronologically, in a grainy clip talking about Captain America in a museum, and then near the end of her life, with Alzheimer’s (both scenes from Captain America The Winter Soldier, 2014). Peggy was also the star of Agent Carter, a two series TV series that expands on her story, although questionable if the series is now considered canon.
The Pym Particle. In comics and the films, it is Hank Pym’s greatest discovery. It’s what powers Ant-Man’s abilities, as well as several other heroes. It has been the catalyst of many stories.
There is mention of Janet. We will find out more about her later.
Pym attacks Carson.
There is a deleted scene here, of Hank putting the Ant Man suit in the vault under his house.
Then the Marvel Studios titles.
The music is now Borombon, performed by Camilo Azuquita, a Panamanian musician.
Then here he is. Scott Lang, played by Paul Rudd.
Lang is the second Ant-Man from the comics. He has been Ant-Man for decades, and shares the role of petty theft turned hero, mentored by Hank Pym. He is a slight anomaly in the MCU Avengers, in that he’s an 80s hero, not a 60s one. But he is a mainstay of the Marvel comics universe, and has become something of a leader in recent years.
He first appeared in Avengers #181 (March 1979), and was created by David Michelinie and John Byrne.
Rudd was perhaps an unconventional choice for an action hero. Until this point he was best known for being a comedic leading man. He is best known for a string of comedies in the mid 2000s like Anchorman, 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and more. Rudd told Collider:
First, there was the fact that it was different than anything I had ever done. I liked the challenge. I thought it would be an exciting adventure. And I enjoyed the fact that when I was cast, people went, “Huh? Really?” You wouldn’t necessarily think [of me], and I think that Marvel likes to do that. I was thrilled to have the opportunity.
Also up for the role we’re Adrien Brody, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ewan McGregor.
Lang is in a fight. He’s in prison, but this is likely a studio.
He is fighting Peachy, played by Robert Crayton.
Scott leaves the prison. It’s San Quentin State Prison, near San Francisco, California.
Waiting for him is Luis. He’s played (wonderfully) by Michael Peña.
There’s no Luis in the comics, he was made for the film. Can’t imagine he wont appear soon.
Peña is a reliable character actor, starring in action roles and comedies from Million Dollar Baby, Crash, End Of Watch and lots more. Peña based the characterisation on a friend of his – a friend named Pablo. He told the LA Times:
I based [Luis] off of someone. It’s somebody that I grew up with. [He’s] kind of a criminal, kind of not a criminal. OK, a criminal. He was in and out of jail and stuff [and] still slightly annoying, but at the same time lovable, you know, and I tried to play that. I don’t know if I pulled it off or not.
It’s great because there’s actually a civilian in the Marvel universe that’s not like a cop or a mentor. [Luis] really is just a civilian, and for him to be who he is in this movie I think is great. I’m pretty stoked and I liked the movie a lot. You can’t always say that about the movies that you do.
A filmed deleted scene featured Luis playing In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel on an iPhone, in a nod to a scene in Say Anything (1989). According to Reed, the song ended up being too expensive to use.
The music is now Shingalin en Panama, by Camilo Azuquita.
The van is a 1972 Ford Econoline.
They drive and chat through the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and we see the Golden Gate Bridge. We are north west of the bridge. Conzelman Road. This was the first day of filming.
Baskin Robbins. For non Americans, it’s a real store. The store were up for being made fun of, and I guess this is technically product placement. Chipotle and Jamba Juice were also considered, bit were less keen on the depiction.
No branch info and we assume it’s a set.
The first customer is played by Johnny Pemberton. He’s been excellent in the 21 Jump Street films, In The Loop and more.
Subtle joke in the music playing in the background. It’s Antmusic by Adam & The Ants.
Dale. He’s played by Gregg Turkington. He is best known for his comic persona Neil Hamburger and the film review show On Cinema.
“Baskin Robbins always finds out” became quite a meme.
Lang gets fired and heads to the Milgrom Hotel. It’s the Riviera Hotel, 420 Jones St, San Francisco.
Milgrom is a reference to Al Milgrom. Milgrom was a long serving Avengers artist, illustrating many of the important Hank Pym storylines in the 70s.
Interestingly, behind the scenes photos of Rudd walking here showed posters for Pingo Doce, the soft drink company where Banner worked in The Incredible Hulk (2008). A mere corner of the poster cast be seen in the final film.
Inside, it’s a set. We are with two others. We first see Dave, played by T.I.
Dave was created for the film.
T.I. first came to fame for his hip hop and hit albums, but has also appeared in films such as American Gangster and Get Hard. He is from Atlanta, where a lot of this film was made. He told MovieWeb:
When you actually involve yourself in the world of acting, one of the things you always want to do is, if only once, experience the huge budget, big set, peek behind the curtain of how these things actually take place. When it finally presents itself as an opportunity, you’re kind of skeptical in the sense of, you figure as big as this budget is, and as big of an opportunity as it is, you expect for it to be very rigid, a very not-so-fun experience, due to the magnitude of investment, time. You just expect everyone to be on edge. This was nothing like that. It was the complete opposite. The set felt like an independent boutique kind of thing. There was a camaraderie and an instant getting-along with everyone. Everyone had the utmost respect for each other, and it made it easier to embellish and experiment with the script.
Then Kurt. He’s played by David Dastmalchian.
Kurt was also created for the film.
Dastmalchian appeared in films such as The Dark Knight and Blade Runner 2049. Rudd apparently thought his accent here was real, and his American accent was a joke. He told Direct Conversations:
Peyton was made to make this movie. He’s as big if not bigger a comic book geek than I am, he loves the obscure characters like ‘Ant-Man.’ It’s a character he’s read and been devoted to for a very long time. Plus, he has this real flair for bringing a good story to life, while utilizing action and comedic elements. So, as difficult as the starts and stops of the film process was, it ultimately all happened the way it was meant to be.
There was more scenes with the gang. It was later cut together for another purpose, but it saw scenes at a casino, and the gang coming back with money, but Lang has sat out the heist.
It is also worth noting that the Edgar Wright version called for a bigger crew around Ant-Man. Dastmalchian and Peña were the only two members of that crew to remain. T.I. joined later.
We then see a skyline of San Francisco. Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. Then we see a car driving on the north side of the bay again.
We will soon see it belongs to (a present day) Hank Pym. He’s driving a 1977 Triumph Spitfire.
Onto Pym Technologies. This is the Georgia Archives building, which used to stand at 344 Capitol Ave SE, Atlanta. It has since been demolished. Rudd also shot Anchorman 2 too.
The gate guard is played by Jim R Coleman.
We see Pym’s keys. There’s a tank that we will see later.
There was a long deleted sequence set in Panama in the past, in a battle scene. It was going to be the opening of the film, and we would see the origin of the shrunk tank. Carson was also involved.
Inside, it’s a set.
Pym sees someone shaking hands. It’s Darren Cross, played by Corey Stoll.
Cross appears the comics as a self made millionaire, who through various entanglements, became an enemy of the Scott Lang version of Ant-Man. He didn’t take the mantle of Yellowjacket in the comics until after this film was well into production, and was no doubt a tie in.
He first appeared in Marvel Premiere #47 (April 1979) – which is also the first Scott Lang Ant-Man adventure. He was created by David Michelinie and John Byrne.
Stoll came to fame in the series House Of Cards. He appeared in films such as Midnight In Paris, This Is Where I Leave You and more. It was Midnight In Paris where Reed first saw Stoll. Stoll has happily admitted to being a big fan of comic books. He told Coming Soon:
Playing Darren Cross, this larger-than-life villain, it was this license to really go big, smile and play the villain, and these huge sort of Bond villain sets and these insane power suits and these great monologues. It was really, really fun.
Then we meet Hope van Dyne. She is played by Evangeline Lilly.
Hope only exists in the comics in an alternative universe, not the main comics Marvel universe. In that universe, known as MC2, she was the daughter of Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne. She actually became a villain, and the film version takes very little of her character from the comics. Hope here does share a haircut with the comics version of Janet, and is more of a stand in for the original Wasp.
Lilly is best known for her role on the TV show Lost, followed by The Hobbit films and more.