Synopsis: Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world. (Imdb)
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If you thought The Guardians of the Galaxy was spectacular, Ant-Man might be even better. Marvel is really onto something with these lesser named superhero movies they have been releasing. When it comes to Ant-Man, it’s an all around hit.
Directed by Peyton Reed (Edgar Wright dropped out of the movie), Ant-Man follows the story of an ex-con Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). Upon serving time in jail, Lang receives his freedom and vows to turn his life around for the sake of his young daughter.
He gets a job at Baskin Robbins, that lasts all of a minute. He hits rough times once again. Lang’s best friend/roommate Luis (Michael Pena) proposes Scott does one more big score to secure himself financially and provide for his daughter. The task, breaking into a house of some big timer and retrieve all the prized possessions.
Lang using his top-notch thievery expertise gets through multiple vaults only to come across a costume. The costume belonging to Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). Pym offers Lang the chance to change his life and provide for his daughter, only if he he agrees to wear the costume and work for him.
His mission is to stop budding nemesis Darren Cross/Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll). Lang becomes Ant-Man, and his journey as the unlikeliest of superheroes begins.
This movie has it all. Packed with timely humor, action, and heart. The appeal of Rudd and the character of Ant-Man is that he possesses more humanity than most superheroes. He isn’t your typical superhuman, or god-like superhero. He’s a flawed regular guy that has a messy past and can’t seem to get on his feet. It’s an element that people can relate to. He struggles with becoming a superhero, and fails many times in establishing himself as one. This sort of humanity gives the character an extra dimension and being personable gives the audience a rooting interest.
While many will try to compare it to previous Marvel films such as The Avengers, Ant-Man should be judged as a stand alone. It does a nice job of acknowledging the existence of The Avengers, even going as far as including a cameo by one of the Avengers.
There is no doubt a similarity that the style of the film is on par with The Guardians of the Galaxy. The humor is similar. The performance between Rudd and Pratt can potentially be compared.
What Ant-Man should be ultimately judged on is the quality of the film on an individual basis. In that respect it succeeds.
For those that follow the Marvel cinematic universe closely, were already aware that the production of Ant-Man had some pitfalls. Originally slated to be directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), it ended up being directed by Peyton Reed (Yes Man, The Break-Up). Reed does a really nice job focusing on the origin story of Ant-Man. We get a good sense of who Scott Lang really is, well before he becomes Ant-Man.
The build of the storyline is crafted to perfection. I didn’t find myself in angst awaiting the action, because the story of Lang and his interactions with his friends is just as entertaining as the action itself. The comedic parlays between Rudd and Pena are golden. More on that later.
This is the sort of movie where 3-D comes into play. To witness Ant-Man in a minuscule version among the ants gives it another dimension that other Marvel movies didn’t have.
Seeing Ant-Man sprinting across a bathtub in order to avoid the water from the faucet that mimics the tidal wave from Exodus: Gods and Kings is quite eye catching. This is where 3-D does it’s best work, the amplify the magnitude of setting. The enlarged ants look like mini dinosaurs, kinda neat, yet sort of creepy also.
The cast of Ant-Man is comprised of some Hollywood mainstays. Paul Rudd owns this role as Scott Lang/Ant-Man. His deadpan humor and sarcastic wit infuses every scene that he’s in. For a guy who is quietly one of the kings of cinematic comedy, I had a bit of doubt if he could pull-off a role of a superhero. Not only does he pull it off, he might have outshined the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Pratt, and Chris Evans. This was a perfect casting, couldn’t see anyone else leading this film.
Michael Douglas plays a critical role in the film as Dr. Hank Pym. In a sense the origins of Ant-Man is tied heavily to Pym. Douglas, also making his superhero movie debut, nails the role. He’s the ideal guy to portray an authoritative figure, that can easily been a former superhero (Pym was the original Ant-Man).
Evangeline Lilly plays Hope, Pym’s daughter. Hope is the tough, no-nonsense, business savvy woman that ends up training Lang to become Ant-Man. She complemented the characters well, and was the mediator between Pym and Lang. Still wondering why she had the bowl haircut though?
While Rudd, Douglas, and Lilly are the ideal fits to play their characters and are the prime focus of the movie, no one steals the scenes as much as Michael Pena. Pena is painfully (makes your stomach hurt from laughing) good. His character provides constant comedic relief.
For comparisons sake, because majority of fans will be comparing this movie against the likes of the Guardians, Ant-Man is a better movie. The story keeps you engaged and just like Guardians it doesn’t scare away from making fun of itself. It’s why Guardians became a mega hit in the first place. To have the ability to not take itself seriously and poke fun at the genre is what makes Ant-Man extra endearing.
Credit Reed, Wright, and Rudd for letting loose and not trying too hard to measure up to past Marvel movies. They approach it as a sort of an indie, more than the big-budget Marvel adaptation it’s supposed to be.
Overall, Ant-Man is the sleeper hit of the summer that people weren’t sure what to expect from. It had the potential to be a hit or a flop, luckily for them they created a gem of a superhero movie. The performances are outstanding, Rudd and Pena are a blast to watch together. The visuals affects are very good, but short of greatness. There is a little more pop that they could have added with some stellar affects, especially while we witness the miniature Ant-Man, but that’s nitpicking. This is the summer movie that has it all.
Additional Thoughts: I loved Ant-Man. Didn’t come in with any expectations, attempted to judge it as an individual movie, and not compare it against other Marvel ones. Paul Rudd proved that he is as good in a superhero role as he is in any comedy. Even though he incorporated his comedic persona into the character. Not only is the humor clever and smart, but it’s genuinely laugh-out-loud funny. This is one of those Marvel films that will be talked about for a while. Welcome to the superhero universe Paul Rudd.
Runtime: 117 minutes
Release: In Theaters July 17, 2015
Small In Stature And Big On Laughs
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- I rate Ant-Man - 9/109/10