After the large-scale event of their last film Avengers: Age of Ultron, it makes a lot of sense for Marvel to tone things down with the 12th feature film in their shared cinematic universe. Literally dropping down a size is a neat joke, and focusing on one character rather than a dozen gives things a lot more clarity and allows an audience that might be a little fatigued over how complicated their meta-story is getting to breathe a little bit and just have some fun. Its road to production may not have been smooth (Edgar Wright sadly quit the project weeks before filming), but the finished product itself is a very crowd-pleasing, simple-in-a-good-way affair, a pleasant throwback to the days when superhero films could more or less stand alone by themselves, and not have to pander to a bigger ur-narrative arc.

Much of its appeal lies in a quirky, comedy-heavy script that seems to have retained much of its original writers’ (Wright and Joe Cornish) arch British humour, helped along by the experienced comic timing of Paul Rudd as the lead. It’s very much business as usual as far as superhero origin stories go, but it’s intriguing to see just how effective the less-is-more approach can be on the rare occasions Hollywood blockbusters adhere to it. It’s a playful, quite odd film in many ways, and it makes you wonder just what Edgar Wright’s version would have been like. Marvel are smart enough to know that they need to keep things fresh, the same thing every time won’t work for long, and as long as they shake up their formula with unusual choices like this they will remain on the right track.

The whole "smaller is better" thing is a pretty good running joke8
It's also a very effective lesson in streamlining and simplifying a story9
Probably the most outright comedic of all the Marvel films so far8
Otherwise pretty straightforward superhero stuff6
One can't quite shake the feeling that this good film would have been great with Edgar Wright...7
Bechdel Test Passes
  • Features more than one named female character
  • The female characters talk to each other
Bechdel Test Failures
  • They only talk about men
8Overall Score

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