Monday, July 20, 2015

[Review] Ant-Man


In a few ways, Ant-Man is like this year's Guardians of the Galaxy. It's a later summer release, it introduces a new, lesser-known character of the Marvel universe, and it has a spunky tone that diverts from the bombastic 'the world is crumbling' scenario. Now, it isn't as phenomenal as Guardians, but it's certainly still more than just minor Marvel.

Scott (Paul Rudd) is just finishing up a 3-year prison sentence at San Quentin for burglary. His homie Luis (played goofily by Michael Pena) swoops him up in attempt to get him back on his feet. But despite Scott's initial insistence on living a legitimate lifestyle, he enters the theft game again. There's a nifty scene where he sneaks into a mansion, pulls some MacGyver moves, and cracks a safe only to find it void of cash. Instead, he sees a strange but unassuming suit, leaving him perplexed.

Meanwhile, Pym, a hi-tech establishment founded by Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglass) is cooking up some advanced combat weapons. It turns out that Dr. Hank was ousted from his own company, and it's now headed by the conniving Darren Cross (Corey Stoll). He's inventing a Yellowjacket vessel that is based on the Ant-Man suit, which means it can shrink in size but still pack power. When Dr. Hank catches wind of this, he recruits Scott and teaches him to become Ant-Man in order to break into Pym and steal the Yellowjacket suit before Cross uses it for destructive means. With some help from Dr. Hank's daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly, who you might know as a standout addition as Tauriel in the recent Hobbit trilogy), Luis and his goons (David Dastmalchian & T.I.), along with actual ants of various species--this warps into a superhero heist movie.

From the get-go, it's clear that plenty of humor is in-store, whether it's Scott and Luis' easygoing conversations, the comical reversals/misdirections in the script, or the jocular scene transitions: Just after Scott proclaims he wants to get a cool job--it cuts to him working at Baskin Robbins... And just as his manager fires him and says (paraphrasing) "I feel bad, so if you want to take a free Mango Smoothie on your way out, I'll pretend I don't know..." Then it cuts to Scott moping down the street, smoothie in hand. The humor is a constant throughout and we get some great one-liners.

It seems as though Ant-Man might've been a 3rd-tier superhero in a long line of other insect counterparts, but that doesn't end up being the case. Given his ability to shrink--As Ant-Man gets tinier, the settings get larger--which creates some intriguing visuals. Whether he's on the surface of a dirty bathtub, running through blades of grass, or across the nose of a gun, the film is texturally stimulating and full of cool microscopic views and amusing sight gags.

Paul Rudd is perfectly cast here with his charisma, vulnerability, and solid comic timing. There's a bit of warmth within his character, demonstrated by how much he loves his estranged daughter, even though the family is in the process of moving on from him. He's also a non-violent ex-con trying to gain his redemption and purpose in doing something good. The rest of the cast brings much to the table as well, especially Michael Douglass and Evangeline Lilly. But at this point, considering the machine that is Marvel, you'd have to think they're not going to pull any major missteps with casting.

While this is an origins story, it doesn't waste much time and it's consistently entertaining. And as opposed to this year's Avengers: Age of Ultron, it isn't as bloated and it never feels like it's there just to set up sequels. Speaking of the Avengers, Ant-Man is very candid about functioning in the same universe, and it even takes a couple of playful jabs that can be perceived as quips within the film or as commentary on Marvel's cinematic universe in general. "Can't we just call the Avengers?" Ant-Man asks. "I don't want Stark involved," Dr. Hank stresses. "Anyway, they're probably too busy dropping cities out of the sky." And luckily, this film is well-executed enough to talk some subtextual shit.

It isn't necessarily reinventing the genre, but Ant-Man is a slight superhero twist that proves that sometimes bigger isn't always better.

* 8.5/10 *

1 comment:

  1. I had seen a review which was share on FB, about Ant-man and The Wasp movie trailer. I can say that you can't stop reading till the end. I'm so excited, so I search "Ant-man and Wasp movie trailer" with GG and saw many things helpful for your question about this movie but not all. So I can't wait longer for Ant-man and Wasp full movie in 2018. One year is too long for an amazing film like that!

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