Ant-Man Movie Review
Rather than going bigger like most summer films, Marvel has taken a different approach with their latest superhero edition. With the ability to shrink in scale and increase in strength, ANT-MAN is the newest soon-to-be Avenger. While the microscopic Ant-Man is another huge hit in character, this Marvel movie meddles in mediocrity.
Using technology from his suit and an ear piece that helps telecommunicate with ants, ANT-MAN is a sort of cross between Marvel’s Iron Man and DC’s Aqua Man. The technology was first created by former S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). Realizing the technology was too dangerous if intercepted into the wrong hands, Dr. Pym kept the project hidden. With the help from his daughter, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), they recruit ex-convict and skilled cat burglar, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to don the suit, find his inner hero, and pull off an elaborate heist that will stop the cartoony evil Daren Cross (Corey Stoll) and save the world.
With four credited screenwriters (Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd), ANT-MAN feels a bit quickly thrown together in order to add another Avenger character for the films the studio truly cares about. But that’s not say the film is without charm. Yes, the characters talk a little too much in exposition but they are also likable and funny. The direction by Peyton Reed (YES MAN, THE BREAK-UP) falls a little flat, lacking a lot of energy, as we are treated to the normal training montage and subsequent hiccups in the final plan. It would be interesting to see what Edgar Wright (SHAUN OF THE DEAD, HOT FUZZ) would have done with the project had he not left “due to differences in their visions of the film.”
There are dozens of superhero films that come out each year… and that’s just from Marvel. Seriously though, Marvel has created an amazing universe where all their films are connected as different sequels to one another, even if they are not directly connected. While one may not be that interested in seeing Ant-Man, the appeal is there because you know the film will reference, cameo or introduce characters and storylines in the larger picture of the Marvel phase plans. The brilliant marketing makes all these films at least somewhat desirable and necessary for fans, despite the movies always being all that great. A few of these films have proven the ability to be amazing (IRON MAN, THE AVENGERS, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) and some are really good (IRON MAN 3, CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER’S SOLDIER) but plenty are tired and dull (IRON MAN 2, THOR). While ANT-MAN is light and fun at times, it sadly fits an ant-size higher than the latter category.
As a Kansas City guy, I can’t help but love Paul Rudd. He is a big supporter of his hometown where he still has family and visits regularly. Always giving shoutouts to our amazing barbecue and Royals baseball team, he’s a man of the people. Not to mention he’s a smart, funny and talented actor to boot. So it’s with a little bit of biased when I declare that Paul Rudd is easily the most appealing aspect of this mundane movie. Bringing a humorous, every man quality to the role, Rudd is the number one reason to see ANT-MAN.
While admittedly, I’m feeling a little superhero fatigue, ANT-MAN squashes some of those generic worries as the film offers a different viewpoint than normal. Fighting battles through a HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS set, the film has plenty of fun playing with scale. In fact, some of the best sight gags come in the third act where the danger is proven to be all relative to size. Those few moments, along with the always enjoyable Paul Rudd, might be enough to sustain those who are looking for nothing more than an easy, clean, pleas’ant’ time at the theater. But that still doesn’t save ANT-MAN from being another insignific’ant’, middle of the road superhero film.
The 3D offers some nice separation when dealing with smaller scales and a plethora of ants, but is once again an unneeded feature.