Friday, July 17, 2015

Ant-Man

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  If the hero thing doesn't work out, Ant-Man can take a job at the Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can't Read Good...or at least the model of it.


Ant-Man – 5 out of 5

That’s right, playas!  Another Marvel Studios film has been released and Phase 2 has been shut and it’s no surprise that I absolutely loved this film!  What can I say?  I’m a huge fan and superhero films haven’t been letting me down for several years now.  So, strap in and let’s get to talking about the latest in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; Ant-Man.


                                                                                                                          Marvel Studios
Welcome to the world of being a hero, Scott Lang.  You are legally required to land all your
jumps like this.



Set after the events of Avengers:  Age of Ultron, we see Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) desperate to get his technology out of the hands of the unstable Darren Cross (Corey Stoll).  Years ago, Pym discovered how to pull a Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.  This tech would leave the subject with the ability to shrink, revert to normal size, and have heightened abilities when in the shrunken state.  Pym knew that this tech could be used for great evil so he turns to Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a criminal desperate to reform in order to be a positive presence for his daughter.  Lang agrees and learns to control the tech and the suit that contains this ability (part of which is the ability to communicate with ants) and ends up becoming the Ant-Man.  Now, teaming with Pym, his daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), and some of his former robbing buddies (played by Michael Peña, T.I., and David Dastmalchian) set out to successfully complete a heist to take away Cross’ suit that replicates Pym tech.  A suit he soon adorns in order to become the villainous Yellowjacket.

                                                                                                                         Marvel Studios
Yes, Yellowjacket is a bad guy but that suit is badass.

I know I get repetitive when I defend my perfect scores for superhero movies but I feel I have to always explain myself.  I never deny that I’m bias towards these films because I totally am.  Superheroes are just my thing and I’ve been a loyal fan of Marvel and DC superhero properties since I was old enough to actually talk.  I’ve been through the dark times and seen the horrors they made when I was a youngling and seen the adequate items that were made when I was a teenager and in my early 20s.  However, things all changed when Iron Man came out and things just seem to keep getting better and better.  Ant-Man just keeps that level of quality going and proves that Marvel Studios might be unstoppable with their shared cinematic universe.

                                                                                                                          Marvel Studios
I think this is a metaphor for San Diego Comic-Con.

Unlike the entirety of Phase One, Ant-Man ventures past just an origin story that establishes Scott Lang and Henry Pym.  In the same vein that The WinterSoldier went the political thriller route or how Guardians of the Galaxy became a loving tribute to the Sci-Fi space adventures of old, Ant-Man forgoes being just a straight forward tale of the aging hero Pym handing off his tech to the younger Scott Lang and, instead, is a heist movie with a heavy dose of comedy.  Granted, the film is still filled with the usual superhero origin tropes and familiar twist and turns that heist movies go through but they never feel tired or boring.  Part of this has to do with fantastically established cinematic universe Marvel has but a lot of it has to do with the wonderfully written comedy and the charismatic cast.
                                                                                                                           Marvel Studios
Oh, Paul Rudd...you are too damn charming and are, without a doubt, Hollywood's
most likable man!  You are a national treasure...now please lift the restraining
order.

I was very excited to hear that Paul Rudd was going to suit up and enter the MCU as Ant-Man.  I’m a big fan of the guy.  I find him hilarious and overwhelmingly charming…with the whip cream and cherry on top being the fact that he is a ridiculously talented man.  I’ve said it many times and I stand by it; I don’t want to meet the man who doesn’t like Paul Rudd.  Rudd brings his usual lovable persona and makes it work well with the redemption-seeking Scott Lang.  There was the potential that Rudd might not have fit in within the Marvel Cinematic Universe due to his comedy work but, not surprisingly, Rudd proves that he can balance his humor with heart and complete badassery and prove that he is a welcome addition to the universe and someone I’m excited as all hell to see fight side-by-side with Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow and the rest of the Avengers.

                                                                                                                          Marvel Studios
We going to see Giant Man in Civil War perhaps?

Rudd isn’t a lone wolf in this film and is surrounded by an excellent cast.  Smaller roles filled by Judy Greer and Bobby Cannavale play just as well as the bigger roles of Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly.  Some of the highlights include the great chemistry between Douglas, Lilly and Rudd in the core of the heist team and special mention has to be made to Michael Peña who provides some of the strongest laughs in the film and proved to be just an absolutely and fantastically entertaining character.  Finally, just like Rudd nailed becoming Scott Lang, Michael Douglass proved to be insanely captivating to watch as the mentor and creative genius Hank Pym.

                                                                                                                           Marvel Studios
Seriously, try and take your eyes away from Douglas when he's on screen...
you can't do it.  He's that good.

The only downside I had to the cast was Corey Stoll as Darren Cross/Yellowjacket.  Stoll is never outright terrible in this role and actually proves to be quite intimidating once he puts the suit on but early in the film he comes off a tad cheesy.  His performance made it seem like Cross was seconds away from spontaneously growing a mustache before he started twirling it and tied Hope van Dyne to some railroad tracks.  And speaking of Hope, Lilly's performance was so good that I really wanted to see a bigger character arc for her.  Her character isn't written badly at all but she was so cool that I wanted more...which is definitely going to happen as it is hinted A LOT!

                                                                                                                          Marvel Studios
Not to spoil anything but during the button scene in the credits we learn
*COMMENT REMOVED DUE TO SPOILERS*


Stoll’s performance proved to be the only real downside I had for the film for the most part.  Occasionally, the action is difficult to watch because of the scale.  When Ant-Man is small, the action is fast and sometimes hard to focus on because the scenes are so busy but, for the most part, the action is satisfying—even though it’s on a much smaller scale than the previous Marvel film…pun intended.  This also leads to the very cool special effects that successfully provided a sense of scale that showed you how different the world looks when you’re the size of an insect and it was just awesome to see how they created the shrinking effect and did so in a way that honored the source material wonderfully.

                                                                                                                           Marvel Studios
The design of the suit is so rad!  And I'm not trying to be ironic by saying "rad."
I really mean it, it looks very cool.

Finally, no adaptation—whether it is a book, comic, video game or cave drawings—will ever been 100% accurate and translated exactly.  I don’t expect it to be because I honestly think that would be boring.  I want just enough changes that makes what I’m seeing to be fresh and new and Marvel Studios is doing an amazing job of adapting their characters so they are familiar from the pages but different enough so they exist in a realm that can cater to a mass audience.  This story captured the spirit of the characters extremely well—heck, even taking the character of Yellowjacket (who is actually Pym in the comics) felt like it was a nice mix of the source material but molded so that it fits in the MCU.  What I saw on screen feels like the characters I read on the pages but shown through a different filter for the MCU and it works.

                                                                                                                          Marvel Studios
Just going to say it again:  Michael Peña is a show-stealer in this film.

My complaints for Ant-Man are very minimal because I had a blast watching it.  The story is solid as it tells a great heist story and blends it with themes of passing on the torch, redemption and personal responsibility.  The humor is fantastic and helps keep the movie light enough and the cast is an ensemble of talented people that fit right into this universe.  This film, much like Guardians, was a big risk for Marvel because Ant-Man isn’t a mainstream hero and the realities of his abilities might be considered silly to the average movie goer but Marvel Studios knew how to play the game and proved that this gamble was successful and they crafted another fun and wickedly entertaining film.  Now, it just sucks that I have to wait until next year to watch Captain America:  Civil War…well, at least Jessica Jones will be coming out on Netflix.  That’ll be my Marvel fix!  And then, of course, there's season 2 of Daredevil and that contains Jon Bernthal as The Punisher!  Oh my glob, I can't wait for that!

1 comment:

  1. Michael Douglas could eat a slice of Domino's pizza and he would even make that seem awesome. I'm such a huge fan of his.

    ReplyDelete

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