7/26/15

ANT-MAN - REVIEW


If the success of Guardians Of The Galaxy confirmed one thing it was that Marvel could, indeed, get away with making the most out-there, obscure comic book movie adaptations and turn them into gold.

The plan was certainly to do that with Ant-Man but the departure of director Edgar Wright last year seemed to suggest that this was a troubled production doomed to not make Avengers-style zillions.

The horror!

And so, while Ant-Man certainly didn't wow audiences and critics quite as much as some of the (literally) bigger superhero movies, it still did a good job and put ants (and wasps) on the map! Paul Rudd, known mostly for his reliably goofy work in Judd Apatow-led comedies, turns out to be a solid choice to be the Ant-Man despite the fact that one feels the man, who gives a restrained performance here, was holding back from cracking all sorts of inappropriate jokes on set during the course of the movie. It should make for some inspired bloopers on the Blu-Ray, for sure.

The film itself links Ant-Man and that suit's history (including Michael Douglas' Hank Pym) to the Marvel movie universe surprisingly well by having a nifty bunch of cameos and references to key events pop up here and there. One scene even sees Ant-Man fight an Avenger in one of this film's most entertaining moments. The real strength of the film is how well it balances celebrating its wackier concept while poking fun at it also, yet never turning into a disrespectful parody or getting too serious. Ant-Man also looks super slick, boasts some fascinatingly trippy scenes and the fact it's a heist movie makes it stand out more as something a bit different. Composer Christophe Beck's theme capturing what makes the character so likeable, fun and interesting perfectly.

The film's flaws are minor but certainly worthy of mention: Scott Lang's (Rudd) daughter subplot is thoroughly uninvolving and underwritten. As a motivation to get that character to do anything, it ends up feeling a tad weak. Michael Peña and two other dudes who play Scott's sidekicks/partners in crime could have probably been cut out of the film entirely despite them getting the odd amusing scene. Story-wise, the film seems to throw a lot of ideas into the air and, while most of them land safely, a few plot-holes remain throughout. The whole "I knew you'd do this, this and that so I let you do this only so I could do that!" thread is repeated one time too many so here's hoping future outings will mix things up a bit. That said, Corey Stoll makes a worthy one-time-only villain as The Yellowjacket pulling off the vanity, cunning intelligence and dangerous nature of the baddie really well.

All in all, Ant-Man is ludicrous but in a good way. It's consistently entertaining and, with all the comic book movies around, it still manages to feel pretty darn original, which is an achievement. Visually, it's a treat and the cast is well chosen. Sure the script is a tad slight in places and contains a handful of cheesy jokes we could have done without but, as a whole, it works.

A good time.

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