‘Ant-Man:’ Movie Review

July 27, 2015 0 Comments

Until I’ve seen the trailers in movie theaters, I have never heard of a Marvel Superhero called ‘Ant-Man.’ I don’t know anything about who he is, where he comes from, or anything relating to his backstory. I’m probably not alone in this sentiment, as most people have never heard of a character called ‘Ant-Man’ as well. So, other from the fact that its a Marvel/Disney movie, why should you go watch it?

Even something that sounds very lame can be made interesting, with the right casting, storyline, plot, screenwriting, etc. Also, who better to play a superhero you barely know, than an actor you barely recognize: Paul Rudd. That’s not to say that Paul Rudd is terrible. I just don’t recognize any of his work. So what is he doing in this film? He pays the crafty, intelligent, skillful cat bugler, ex convict, named Scott Lang. The role could have been casted by anyone, but Rudd pulls it off pretty well. It’s one of the few roles I can look forward to this actor.

Despite this, you probably still won’t be tempted to check out Rudds other work. However, you most certainly will be familiar with the rest of the cast, who are presented in a wide mixture a different storylines. However, we’re going to focus on the most important and relevant plot.

Flash back to the year 1989. You have a scientist by the name of Dr. Hank Pym, played by Michael Douglas (Falling Down: 1993; Basic Instinct: 1992), who has a particle research capable of shrinking the size of living tissue and is highly valued by S.H.I.E.D. Due to his formula compromised, he decides to abandon S.H.I.E.D and leave his research behind in his own company.

Fast forward to the present time, you have Scott Lang who has spent three years in San Quentin and is just being released. After meeting up with his former cellmate Luis, played by Michael Pena (Fury: 2014; End of Watch: 2012), he tries to get him back into the life of crime with his current associates, Kurt (David Dastmalchian) and Dave played by T.I.P (Yes… Clifford Joseph ’T.I.’ Harris…). However, Scott has decided that staying away from crime is better for reconnecting with his daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson). Unfortunately, its not going to be that easy. He has to be able to prove to his ex, Maggie (Judy Greer), that he is capable of hold a steady job, having an apartment and being able to pay child support before they even discuss visitation… As if things weren’t bad enough, we have Maggie’s cop fiancé, Paxton (Bobby Cannavale, stop following me around!), who is just waiting for Scott to slip up just once, giving him an excuse to send him back to prison.

Although, it shouldn’t have been that difficult. Scott soon decides to turn back to a life of petty crime, breaking into a giant safe in the basement of an old home. However, instead of finding cash to pay child support, he finds a stupid looking 60’s era motorcycle suit, through self-experimenting he finds that it has the power of atomic compression, hyper agility and super strength. Completely freaking him out, he decides to return the suit back to where he stole it from and as it turns out, the basement belongs to Dr. Hank. It also turns out that the entire heist was a test, designed to find out whether Scott was capable of donning the ‘Ant-Man’ suit.

From there, the entire story of the ‘Ant-Man’ begins. Scott trains in his new suit, obtaining new skills like how to shrink and grow on a dime, learning how to fight with Hanks daughter, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) as his trainer, and harnessing the skills necessary to communicate and control Ants, his minions/sidekicks. I’m not sure how this actually occurred in the comic books, but how do you actually turn hero with these skills into an action-packed Marvel movie? If anything, it sounds like it would be better as an esponigne and information gathering movie.

Chances are if you decided to see this film, you didn’t decide to see it for the action, but rather, the comedy and the drama involved with the film. The movie, for the most part, is largely hilarious. Most of the hilarity ensues just from Scott’s presence alone. He’s wise cracking, super-skillful and intelligent, holding a masters mechanical engineering. Although, not brainy enough to understand the sudden nuances of certain things, like say, atomic energy, as Dr. Hank explains, which makes watching Scott learn things for the first time even more hilarious.

He’s a criminal, but a super nice criminal, as he explains: “I’m not a robber. Robbery involves force. I’m a burglar.” He doesn’t take any of his endeavors seriously, and becomes extremely self aware of his mishaps of ‘ruining tender moments” between Hank and his daughter Hope. Although there were very few serious moments in the film, they were all pretty emotional. However, they were completely overshadowed by the number of comedic scenes in the film. You’ll probably forget that you’re watching a comedy, but there are times where you won’t even mind.

Although, even if you’re not a fan, you probably can already tell that Ant-Man is part of an elaborate phase to unite all of these Marvel characters into the same universe. As you can tell from Hank referencing what the Avengers did in the movie Age of Ultron (2015): “Besides, they’re probably too busy dropping cities from the sky.” We even have the impossible mission of retrieving some vital piece of hardware from the Avengers base, where Ant-Man has the unfortunate situation of duking it out with Falcon (Anthony Mackie). Or, should I say, it was unfortunate for Falcon, as I ended up laughing uncontrollably during the fight, I didn’t know whether to pity him or to think to myself: “Well, at least it was Ironman…”

Final Verdict: A-

Despite having what seemingly appears to be a very lame ‘superpower’ and having very small knowledge of the character, that’s not to say that the movie isn’t interesting by any means. If you’re not familiar with the backstory of the character, you should probably take some time to research it if you’re curious. Other than that, it’s not very complicated or rigorous.

Despite being another Marvel movie, you’re not going to be watching this one for the action. Instead, you’ll find the screenwriting, characters and cinematography very enjoyable. It’s pretty interesting how Peyton Reed (Director) can transform something that would normally be interesting, into something that is very comedic, not to mention dramatic. I’d never thought I’d see the day where I’d actually feel sorry for someone killing an Ant…

The unlikely mixture of actors and actresses makes this film work for the most part. T.I. — who have seemed to found a way to interject himself into Hollywood Blockbusters recently — didn’t do too bad of a job, especially for a PG-13 film. Wood Harris is also in the lineup, who is best known for his roles in Paid in Full (2002), Dredd (2012) and Remember The Titans (2000). To be honest, he was probably one of the last few people I would expect to see in a Marvel film.

The writers also managed to add Evangeline Lilly to the lineup. Despite not having a very extensive history in acting history (especially in films), she has somehow managed to land some pretty big roles in blockbusters recently. The most recently being the last two Hobbit films: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) and The Battle of the Five Armies (2014).

You probably shouldn’t expect too much from watching a film like this, especially if you’re not a fan of Marvel comics. But even if you are a fan and you decide to take my advice, it will make watching the film much more enjoyable. It’s a pretty enjoyable movie, for reasons you probably won’t expect, but enjoyable nonetheless.

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