Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Review: Ant-Man (2015)

        'Ant-Man' Is A Fun-Sized Blockbuster Of Near Gigantic Proportions
        Well, two things: One is that it left me happy because it did get the bitter taste of Avengers: Age of Ultron out of mouth. Another is that it left me very sad that we might not get a sequel while we're getting another unnecessary Spider-Man movie. You know, the one we don't need.

     Ant-Man follows the story of a thief named Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) who, after getting released from jail and looking for a new lease in life, is given a shot at redemption once billionaire Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) has him pull off another heist and become the superhero known as the Ant-Man.

    Now, I'll start off with Paul Rudd. The film lies mainly on his shoulders because he is the main star and he nails it. He nails the humor, the charm, and even brings layers of emotional depth. Rudd makes Scott Lang seem like a real person trying to get by and I would say both he and Chris Pratt prove themselves as very likable entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even if we don't get an Ant-Man sequel, I still want to see more Rudd in the suit. I also really liked Michael Douglas as Hank Pym and thought he had a nice presence when he was on screen. Evangeline Lilly, aka Kate from Lost, is also in this as Hank's daughter Hope Van Dyne and she was very good. She and Rudd had very colorful chemistry and I thought the scenes between her and Douglas were very touching. I would say Lilly gives us the best female character in the MCU since Black Widow as Hope is determined, witty, and willing to throw a punch. But the real scene stealer is without a doubt Michael Pena as Scott's fellow thief Luis. He constantly brought laughs to the screen when he appeared and he continues to prove how undervalued he is as an acting talent. All the actors bring in their A-game in this which is neat because in films like these, it can be pretty easy for most of the cast to sleepwalk through a paycheck in the midst of the grand effects thrown at them (*cough*Thor: The Dark World*cough*).

   However, while this film has its fair share of amazing visual effects, it is still effective in its simplicity. One thing that I can appreciate about this film is its self-awareness. It already introduces the villain as the villain without any mystery and demonstrates the film's plot points involving Hank's wife as well as the friction between Scott and his daughter's stepfather quickly enough in a way where they don't feel like footnotes. It's as if they said, "We have seen these sort of things before, so we won't delve too deeply into them", yet I loved that. The film pretty much kicks in from the beginning and doesn't stop even when the film slows down.

   Another thing that I liked was how, much like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, it weaves in a different genre to make it more distinctive from other Marvel movies as it is a heist film as well as a superhero film.

   I thought the main villain, Yellowjacket, played by Corey Stoll, was pretty underused, but that's a problem that has plagued most Marvel movies. With the exception of Loki, a lot of Marvel villains are introduced as cardboard cutouts. I also thought Judy Greer, who plays Scott's ex-wife, was also pretty underused yet still made the most with what she was given.

   Overall, Ant-Man is a fun superhero/heist romp that relishes in its self-awareness. It features a well-rounded performance from its lead actor, has nice visual effects, a terrific supporting cast, and is overall, just a fun ride.

   Would I Recommend It?:
   Absolutely. Even though there are some swears, I would take the entire family. It's not too intense for children and it is something they will get a kick out of.

Grade: A-