Ant-Man’s computer generated imagery is anything but small. Pairing minature worlds with giant insects, there's no wonder this film was eight years in pre-production!
We first glimpse the full extent of the movie's special effects on Michael Douglas’ face. That’s right; even Douglas’ face couldn’t escape the visuals department, and as a result appears decades younger in early scenes of the film. Dubbed ‘visual cosmetics’, this type of VFX has been used in other Marvel films, including The Avengers and Captain America: The First Avenger. If it wasn’t for Douglas’ later appearance as the present-day Hank Pym, I honestly believe that audiences would have been second guessing just how old he really is; both his fluid facial expressions and natural appearance really set the bar for the rest of the film's aesthetic.
The first time Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) dons his Ant-Man costume, the audience is unquestionably engaged, and ready for the visual artistry that is expected with a human-sized world from an ant-sized perspective. The initial scenes featuring Rudd debut as Ant-Man are some of the most memorable of the film. Delivering everyday activities from a new perspective, the visual effects team reimagine bath water as a raging rapid; dance floors become earth quakes and hoovers are tornados, devouring everything in their path.
As the film continues, and Scott Lang fully integrates himself into the role of Ant-Man, he names his favourite flying ant, ‘Ant-thony’ - though in my opinion, even a good pun can’t draw away from the fact that this is a huge bug and the VFX designers seem all too eager to make ‘Ant-thony’ look more lifelike than Michael Douglas’ face - thanks for that!
Approaching the credits of what could be Marvel’s most family-friendly film to date, the visual effects continue to play host to a range of comedic cues with climactic fight scenes taking place on a toy train set. There were no armies or city-wide destruction (the kind of endings we have come to expect from a superhero movie), yet Marvel plays on this idea by showing Ant-Man running through a scale model of the city whilst being shot at, making it even more obvious that this movie is different to its predecessors, in both narrative and imagery.
I originally attended the screening of Ant-Man because my grandma is a fan of CGI and though the story wasn't exactly innovative, we were not let down by the level of detail and raw craft that was pulsing throughout. Almost two years were spent on the visual effects and Ant-Man has certainly succeeded in producing life-like environments, creatures and objects.
My grandma even stated that it was better than Birdman, sorry Alejandro!
Ant-Man is now showing at FACT. Click here to see cinema times and book tickets.