4: Ant-Man Review

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So, I wanted to always tackle superhero films for these live-action reviews. However, no matter if they were DC, Marvel, or some other indie company, I never really want to rewatch them. I definitely enjoy the Marvel films, but I don’t ever think about watching all of them again. I would argue that maybe eight or so of the current Marvel films that have been made under the Disney banner are ones I would definitely rewatch. Since we are past the two giant Marvel films of the year with Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, I decided to review the film starring our pint-size hero, Ant-Man by director Peyton Reed.

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The story focuses on a recently released criminal/ex systems engineer named Scott Lang, played by Paul Rudd. After being released from prison, and failing to make a living for himself, he decides to take an offer to pull off a heist at a mansion owned by Hank Pym, played by Michael Douglas. After getting his crew, that includes Luis, played by Michael Pena, Dave, played by TIP Harris, and Kurt, played by David Dasmalchian, he breaks into the mansion to see what’s inside. Scott finds a large safe that includes a super suit. After putting the suit on, Scott realizes that the suit gives him the ability to shrink down to the size of an ant, or even smaller. Scott gets contacted by the creator of the suit, Hank Pym, and gets wrapped up into a mission to take down an individual who wants to weaponize Hank’s technology. Can he stop the maniacal Darren Cross, played by Corey Stoll, before he can take over the world with Hank’s inventions?

Before we get started, people are going to probably wonder if I side with the people who were mad that Edgar Wright was kicked off this project. Well, to be frank, I don’t care. I love the director, but this kind of stuff happens. The classic Wizard of Oz went through multiple directors and development changes. It doesn’t always end up with a good product, but I’m judging Ant-Man for what we received, and not bash the film, because the original director was going to be Edgar Wright. Now then, let’s get to the rest of the review.

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I think what I like about this movie is that while it’s a superhero movie, and a superhero that could be considered an odd choice, they take full advantage of having fun with this premise.  The best way for superhero films to evolve is to simply be more than superhero films. I mean, that sounds weird, but let me explain. In spite of it being a Marvel superhero film, it’s more in line with a heist film. It doesn’t skimp on the fact that our hero is in a size-changing suit either. Anything that you can think of in the range of a normal Marvel film is done here. A lot of the best moments of the film are Paul Rudd changing size. Seeing him jump in the air, shrinking, running up a gun and knocking a henchman out, while in that tiny form, is a highlight of the film. Scenes like that are what make the film fun. Of course, the most memorable moment is with Ant-Man and Yellowjacket being tiny, and fighting on a Thomas the Tank Engine trainset. It’s flashy, funny, and you really get the scale of how small they are, and how big everything else is. I mean, when you have a superhero that can change his size, and control ants, you make sure that’s a huge focus. They somehow made ants adorable, and each species have their own distinct personalities. If this was a superhero film back in the early 2000s, this character would have suffered from bad adaptations, and no one really having an idea on how to use him. I think getting Paul Rudd as the lead character was the perfect choice. I like that while he can be tech savvy in certain areas, he’s more grounded as a normal guy among the more tech savvy individuals in the MCU. He also has charm for days. He is simply a great actor. Corey Stoll is also fun as the villain. He isn’t one of the greatest villains of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he’s one of the more entertaining, because he’s just so slimy and obviously evil. Evangeline Lilly and Michael Scott are also great as Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne, but they are pretty much secondary for the first film, and are way better utilized in the recently released sequel (which will also get a review in the future). Of course, everyone remembers and references Michael Peña as Luis, and how he has these amazing and incredibly hilarious ways of recapping stories. Whether this was part of Edgar Wright’s original script or not, these sequences bring in some of the best comedy in the Marvel films.

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While I do find myself watching this movie a lot, I have some problems with it. Sometimes, the story doesn’t flow as well from one point to another, some of the jokes could have been cut out, the Baskin Robbins scene went on a bit too long, and it’s yet another origin story with some fairly predictable story beats. Granted, when this came out, it was a cleanser for the intense story and moments of Age of Ultron, but it could have had a bit more substance to the story and certain characters. I also found the Yellowjacket suit to be fairly generic-looking. At least the excuse you can have for Ant-Man’s suit is that the retro-style suit would not have translated at all into live-action. I wish there was a bit more creativity with his design.

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Still, I love Ant-Man and it tends to be one of my personal favorites of the Marvel films from Disney. It’s creative, fun, I like Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, and I love watching it every time it’s on TV. This is why I love Marvel. They can take certain heroes from their catalog of characters, even the oddest heroes, and make them work. I would definitely recommend this one if you want something different from your normal superhero films. It’s an entertaining experience that makes me want to shrink down, and Play It Again!