Friday, July 17, 2015

Movie Review #282: "Ant-Man" (2015)

Director: Peyton Reed
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 57 minutes
Image Source

Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), while working for S.H.I.E.L.D., developed a technology that allows a person to shrink to the size of an ant, yet retain all of his strength as if he were normally sized. Hank used this technology in his youth as a soldier and was known as Ant-Man. In 1989, higher powers tried to steal his Ant-Man technology for themselves, so Hank leaves the agency and buries it away, hidden for decades. Now, Hank has his own company called Pym Tech. that is being run by his protege Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), who has been secretly working on developing Hank's shrinking technology, which he now calls Yellow Jacket. Cross plans to sell to the highest bidder. In order to stop Darren, Hank hires on a an ex-con named Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) who did time in prison for burglary. He gives Scott his Ant-Man suit and teaches him to use it with the help his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly). Hank wants Scott to use the Ant-Man suit to break into Pym Tech. and destroy the Yellow Jacket before it falls in the wrong hands.

We don't buy into the whole Marvel vs. DC Comics thing. It doesn't matter where an origin story began. If we like a movie, we like it, regardless of any other ongoing beef. That being said, chalk this one up to another win for Marvel. "Ant-Man" is the 12th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe theatrical series and it doesn't miss a step from its other counterparts. There was a lot of concern in the development stages of this movie since the original writer left the project. From that point on, it seemed as if it was being rushed into production, especially considering Paul Rudd, who plays Ant-Man, was also helping to pen the script. But, after 11 successful box office hits and 11 movies with overall positive reviews, we may have to accept that Marvel might actually know what it's doing at this point, especially when considering how well "Guardians of the Galaxy" was when no one had ever heard of it and people questioned why it was being made into a movie in the first place. We know there are people out there just waiting for the one film that will be panned universally and flop flat on its face, showing a break in Marvel's seemingly endless winning formulas, but those haters will just have to wait a little while longer. Collectively, Marvel knows how to make fun, entertaining, action-packed movies, and "Ant-Man" certainly falls into this category as well.

Now, sure, this isn't the absolute best film in the MCU, but it really doesn't have to be because it's still awesome nonetheless. First of all, the acting is fabulous all around, starting and ending with Michael Douglas. He is great as Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, who is now too old and too broken to continue using the suit himself. This is why Hank needs the much younger, more expendable Scott Lang, played by seasoned veteran actor Paul Rudd, to fill his shoes as the new Ant-Man. Paul Rudd is the kind of actor who is confident in his goofiness, cocky in all the right ways, and we think, the perfect fit for such a character. Rudd as Ant-Man begins slowly, but learns how to handle the suit with relative ease. It's fun to watch him fall flat on his face, while also learning tips and tricks along the way to become the best superhero he can be. He also makes a wonderful Scott Lang, as we believe his want to be reunited full-time with his young daughter, so much so he's willing to go above and beyond at great lengths just to make it happen. Next, there's Michael Peña's character Luis, Scott's good friend who has also been in and out of prison for thievery. He certainly brings a lot of laughs and is excellent in this role as a gabby, talkative friend who can never quite get his words out in a relatively short time frame. Corey Stoll steps in as the main antagonist Darren Cross, aka Yellowjacket, and does an excellent job as the sinister bald villain, something Marvel has been known for in the past. A combination of genius and crazy, Darren Cross seems wholly unstable, but also just crazy enough to pull off duplicating Hank's work on the suit. There is another layer to Darren beyond just money and power. He also desires respect and approval as he has some unresolved personal issues as Hank's younger protege who was never told the full, true story about the technology surrounding the Ant-Man suit. Bobby Cannavale has a smaller part at Scott's ex-wife's new husband, Paxton, a cop who has a penchant for being in the right place and the right time when it comes to seeing Scott arrested. He is commanding in the few scenes, where he is able to shine. Finally, we have Evangeline Lilly, who plays Hank's daughter Hope. She has a chip on her shoulder from the start, not understanding her father's need to put someone else besides her in the Ant-Man suit, even though she knows her ish. Strong, fierce, poised and collected, but also mildly snarky in her own right, she will play a much more pivotal role in the years to come. There are actually a lot of laughs in this film as it is much more light in context and contains a lot of humor than some of its other, darker MCU buddies.

The premise of the film allows for some great special effects as Ant-Man and Yellowjacket shrink and grow throughout their battles. We constantly see different elements of the scenes on different scales, which is something of a spectacle to watch unfold before your eyes. This constant size shifting brings some outstanding and often very funny and epic fight scenes to the screen, such as ants growing to large dog sized levels and scenes you won't want to miss featuring the likes of Thomas the Tank engine and The Cure. Bringing it down to such a big versus small level also showcases that Marvel is more than just a one-trick pony, and while the action is all well and good, the story surrounding the action can be just as clever and enjoyable outside of The Avengers. All in all, "Ant-Man" is a wonderful, welcome addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and we look forward to what they have in store for us in the upcoming years.

PS: There are 2 after credits, one mid-credit and one after everything is done rolling. Though short, stay for both!

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 79%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

No comments:

Post a Comment