Jul 20, 2015

[Movies] Ant-Man (2015)

So we've finally reached the end of what is known as Phase 2 of Marvel's big plan for getting us hopelessly addicted to their movies. And this one seemed a somewhat odd choice since it features a character that the average non-comic book reader might be all that familiar with. But Marvel always tries to assure us that they have some sort of a plan, so we all just roll with it

And while Ant-Man may not be the most amazing Marvel movie ever, it is a movie with a lot of heart and might just actually be a heck of a lot more approachable than people thing. It's easy to dismiss someone who's power is to become very small since shirking doesn't seem particularly useful in the world of "what superpower would you wish to have" sort of conversations.

But the movie really did a great job of trying to stress the fact that Ant-Man is a great example of a science-related hero much in the same way that we have heroes like Iron Man or even Spider-Man. And thus he's more than just a person with a unique superpower, but he's also someone who needs out think his enemies and all that good stuff.

Synopsis: Ant-Man is a 2015 Marvel comic book superhero movie directed by Peyton Reed. There were a number of changes in terms of the creative team during the development of the movie, thus the screenplay includes contributions from Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, and Paul Rudd.

The movie begins with a flashback to 1989 where we see Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) resigning from S.H.I.E.L.D. after discovering that they had been trying to replicate his work. He's concerned of the potential abuses his technology could lead to and thus he swears never to allow it to fall into anyone else's hands. Back in the modern day, we find that Pym no longer controls his own company, which is now run by his former protege Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) and his own daughter Hope ban Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) as a senior member of the board.

Pym is invited back to the company to attend the unveiling of their latest development - the Yellowjacket suit which they hope to use to create miniaturized armored soldiers for combat in the future, which all feels dangerously close to the technology Pym had created. Thus he hatches a plan to enlist ex-convict burglar and engineer Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to aid him in his efforts to stop Cross from completing his own shrinking technology. And to do this, someone needs to don the Ant-Man suit once more.

There was a lot of concern about this movie potentially not being faithful to the comics or going off book in terms of characters. Plus there was a distinct absence of other aspects of the franchise, most noticeably Pym's in-comic wife Janet van Dyne also known as The Wasp. But I'm glad to say that the final script felt like an interesting mix of various elements derived from the original stories but put together in a manner that felt pretty compelling for the medium.

At the same time, the movie still has a lot of Edgar Wright's fingerprints all over it, even though he departed the project early on. The script is mostly him and it shows the sort of wit and clever visual storytelling that we tend to associate with his movies. On the other hand, the new creative team added in another of additional items and angles to the story that still fit with the Wright narrative but also potentially made things a bit more true to the source material.

Paul Rudd was a somewhat surprising but very nice choice for the role of Scott Lang in this movie. He's quite classically a Hollywood nice guy and his performance here largely reflected that aspect of his character. This isn't to say that he's a pushover - he's just charming in a subtle adorkable way and has a decent knack for wisecracks, although at times it feels like he's trying too hard (but on purpose). And so his getting rather physically fit for the role was just a nice bonus for someone who has already demonstrated that he's quite likable. I'm just glad that he turned down the snark factor as we've seen in some other roles so he doesn't become fully annoying.

The overall story was of relatively simple structure but not in a bad way. It's a classic superhero story, but one that is wrapped up in a heist-style narrative. It all works without becoming the sort of laugh out loud slapstick comedy that I don't really get into. It's still smart with a lot of clever moments and of yet also some amazing movies of superhero prowess.

Ant-Man is charming, enjoyable and a great new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It has a lot of action and a lot of quirky comedy that all makes for one compelling story. Thus the movie gets 4 crazy fight scenes out of a possible 5.

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