Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe came to an end on June 29th when Ant-Man was released. Set after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Ant-Man is embedded into the MCU with plenty of references to other films and characters, but is mostly a self-contained story. And for still being familiar to superhero film fans, it comes from an entirely different film genre
Ant-Man is a heist movie, ala Oceans 11 and The Italian Job, which just happens to exist within the MCU. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is an ex-con trying to make good by his daughter. Unable to find steady work, Scott joins a heist and ends up with a mysterious suit that allows him to shrink to the size of an ant. The suits original owner, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), now needs Scott to become Ant-Man to help steal a new weapon of mass destruction created by his company’s new tyrannical CEO.
I loved Ant-Man enough to see it twice in theaters and was thrilled to watch it again for this review. Paul Rudd is incredibly likable as Scott Lang, whose moral compass is so great that he often has to break the law to do the right thing. Evangeline Lilly is wonderful here and she and Rudd have fantastic chemistry. Michael Douglas is his usual complex self here and his character adds more rich history to the MCU. Amazing visual effects add to this beautifully crafted film that is as funny as it is exciting.
A hard sell to general audiences, Ant-Man was still a box office success, but had lower than average box office revenue compared to other Marvel Studios films. For fans of Marvel Studios, Ant-Man is an essential character heading into Phase Three where he will return in Captain America: Civil War and the sequel to this film, Ant-Man and the Wasp. In other words, if you plan to see the upcoming films, Ant-Man is required viewing.
For its home video release, Ant-Man debuted to digital retailers two weeks early on November 17th. Fans looking to own a physical disc had to wait until December 8th to own it in one of four possible releases. This review covers the 2-disc Blu-Ray 3D/2D/HD-Digital combo pack. It is also available as a single-disc Blu-Ray and a DVD-only release. But the holy grail release for Phase Two is also available that same day, which includes all five Phase Two films (including Ant-Man) in deluxe collectable packaging with an exclusive bonus disc.
The special effects in Ant-Man are fantastic and look photo realistic. Many shots could only be accomplished with CG, but the film never looks fake. The Blu-Ray expertly presents the color dynamics and the rich details in the film. It’s honestly one of the best looking films I’ve seen on home video and it replicates the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1.
The 3D disc adds incredible depth, particularly in scenes such as the bathtub after Scott shrinks for the first time. In the same way that the 2D disc is perfect, the 3D is one of the best presentations I’ve ever seen in my home theater. If you own a 3D TV, this would be a great movie to show friends the benefits of having a 3D TV.
Ant-Man’s primary audio track on Blu-Ray is a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix, which is incredibly robust. Rear speakers are filled with score and sound effects and occasionally off-scree voices. The subwoofer gets quite a workout during the big action scenes. Other audio options include a stereo descriptive audio track for the blind, as well as French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital surround mixes.
- Making of an Ant-Sized Heist: A How-To Guide (14:34) – The production team and on-screen talent reveal what it was like to make Ant-Man by taking you through what it took to make the big heist sequence at Pym-Tech.
- Let’s Go to the Macroverse (8:06) – Another behind-the-scenes feature reveals the difficulties of making a film where characters shrink and how they took the film subatomic.
- WHIH News Front (9:12) – Four “news” reports from Christine Everhart add realism to the film as she interviews characters from the film at various parts of the timeline.
- Deleted & Extended Scenes (8:39) – Eight deleted scenes are offered with optional commentary by Peyton Reed and Paul Rudd. They are “Fixing the Cable,” “Hank Vaults the Suit,” “Paxton and Gale,” “Qubit Defense Matrix,” “Scott and Cassie,” “Wish Fulfillment,” “The Future of Pym Particles” and “The History of Ant-Man.”
- Gag Reel (3:25) – Bloopers from the set are shown in a fun montage reel.
- Audio Commentary (1:57:06) – Director Peyton Reed and star Paul Rudd lead this discussion on the film, sharing some fun anecdotes from filming and pointing out lots of hidden references to the original comic.
Packaging & Design
Ant-Man is housed in a black (you read that correctly) Blu-Ray case with disc holders on either side of the interior. Both discs are basic blue, with 3D on the right and 2D on the left. There is one single insert inside, a digital copy code that features Scott Lang inside the Ant-Man “A.” The case is housed inside of an impressive foil embossed slipcover.
The Blu-Ray disc opens with ads for Avengers: Age of Ultron and Agent Carter. Selecting “Sneak Peeks” from the main menu repeats these ads along with Ultimate Spide-Man vs. Sinister 6, Avengers: Assemble and Playmation. The menu opens with Scott Lang shrinking and proceeds into a series of action moments from the film with clickable options along the bottom of the screen.
Marvel’s Ant-Man is a rousing heist film set insides the world of superheroes. In terms of entertainment value, it’s one of the best films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This release is light on bonus features, but the bonuses included are high quality. With gorgeous picture quality and a wonderful 3D presentation, Ant-Man is a must-own film for Marvel fans.