Monday, July 20, 2015

Review: Ant-Man

Marvel movies have stopped being a must see event for me post Guardians of the Galaxy. To date I have still not watched Avengers 2 as I don't feel I need to watch a retread of the original film regardless of the fact I liked that movie. So what attracted me to seeing Ant-Man? Frankly it was Thomas the Tank Engine. That blurb from the commercials showing the hero battling the villian, Yellow Jacket, shrunk down on top of a toy Thomas evoked actual laughter from my cynical self. But past that I wasn't impressed with the movie from what I've seen so far and written it off as "Yep, it's another Marvel film". 

Choo-choo Mother F*cker!

And that isn't an exaggeration as it feels similar to the other Marvel films. It holds to the similar tropes of the MCU's other flicks within the superhero genre. And, yes, it's time to start examining these types of films, superhero films, as genre films unto themselves; that's a bigger subject for another day. So at the very least I anticipated a fun flick that might have some elements that stick with me after the house lights come back up. Surprisingly Ant-Man is now being inducted into my personal collection once it hits Blu ray. It was a damn fun film; it satisfied my craving for action and the fantastic beyond my original expectations. It also delivered in an area that I wasn't expecting from this heist flick: heart. 

"He kept his gimp suit in a vault?!?"
This is an area that is really a hit or miss when it comes to any movie; you can have the greatest actors in the world with the best script written and still feel cold and clinical. Usually these are best picture winners for award ceremonies. Here it feels like this cast and crew felt that even within the Marvel brand they are the underdogs and for that reason threw themselves even more into their roles to make the characters just feel real and welcoming into their niche within the bigger picture of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ant-Man did this, even after all of the Edgar Wright troubles ended, and kept the initial promise of a heist flick with solid laughs. I was pleasantly surprised when watching this movie just how damn much fun I was having here. And I knew the movie was a success when it can make you feel for ants. Yes, I said ants.


The traditional pest became heroes in their own right in this film and I found myself thinking of the ants Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) works with as part of the team instead of just cannon fodder. Speaking of Rudd he was apparently born to be a superhero instead of a bumbling comedic actor the whole time. Who knew? He is also a father who is trying to get back into his young daughters life after serving time in prison for burglary. His kid, Cassie, is adorable by the way.

Diabetic coma inducing level cute.

 If I had a daughter like her I would put on a super suit to save the world if it means I get to be in her life again. Yeah it was kind of sappy and soft but Rudd made the exchanges between them just pleasant and moments I looked forward to seeing.

Deal with it.

I also enjoyed Michael Douglas as Hank Pym. The man has been a favorite actor of mine for decades and finally seeing him in a big budget effects flick as a hero was bliss. Evangeline Lilly as the new, film created character, Hope Van Dyne was sold to me as a wild card who's loyalties were unclear. That is bullshit. She is very clear as to her loyalties and she is a force to be reckoned with; I'm certain she will be more prominent in future Marvel films.

Gee...wanna guess who she will end up as?

In fact having Hope is a boon as now the films have an original, strong, female hero to take point. Black Widow was somewhat wasted as a second banana amongst egomaniacs, gods, giants, and war heroes as she faded into the background or was written as soft as perceived by some fans. Hope can cut loose and be a front-line personality easily. 

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the action in this film some more. I found the innovative use of size and space for the battles refreshing. Yes there is lots of punching bad guys in the face, lots of gun fire too, but fluctuations in size which alter the battlefield made the movie light up in a manner that I'm afraid won't be successfully transmitted via advertisements. 

Ant-Man may not be the biggest grossing film for Marvel but do not discount its ability to make the audience transform into little kids full of awe and wonder with almost as much heart as Guardians of the Galaxy. That comparison alone makes Ant-Man a winner and it won over this jaded prick.