Antman – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

antmanAntman – 3.5/5 – In Marvel I trust; it is statement that garners fervor and a belief (for me) that Marvel studios delivers each time they introduce a new character in their film universe.  Regardless of the characters they have brought to the big screen; they have not disappointed so far.  With a relentless streak of entertaining films; they have managed to succeed with whatever ‘world’ we had to stretched believability for.  This new ‘origin’ tale of a character is no exception.   With a few generic storytelling elements mixed with some creative set pieces and technology usual, Antman is another wonderful foray into the world of this MCU.

Premise:   As one man is trying to put his life together and another is trying to prevent catastrophe of sorts, Hank Pym and Scott Lang must work together for the ultimate heist.  Will both men reach their goal before the world (for both) is brought to end?

In the lead role of Scott Lang (and taking the mantel of Antman) is Paul Rudd.  In this lead role, Paul Rudd delivers a great performance.  His mixture of his comedic talents with a more ‘dramatic’ character grounds Scott Lang for the audience.  This helps bring out a more believable character as a ‘superhero’ then any other hero brought the screen for Marvel.  The pain you see as he struggles to be a real father while also putting his life back on track is one that tugs at the hearts for many.  It gives you a feeling to root for him through this ‘intriguing’ premise.  With the rest of the cast, you have:

Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym

Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne

Corey Stoll as Darren Cross / Yellow jacket

These characters stand out from the rest of the supporting cast because of their deeper connection to the Ant Man persona.  These three do a good job in fleshing out the back story of ‘who’ the Ant man was before Scott Lang, and also shows the history of Hank Pym, Hope (his daughter) and Darren Cross (his protégé) to this shrinking technology.  You watch as their dynamic levels out deep layers to their relationship, bringing out that strength in each character’s persona and purpose.  Even as they play off typical archetypes (especially Daren Cross when he becomes a watered down villain in the end), you still feel a raw human quality.  The other notable secondary characters you have are:

Bobby Cannavale as Paxton (Ex-Wife new lover)

Judy Greer as Maggie Lang (Ex-Wife)

Abby Ryder Fortson as Cassie Lang (Daughter of Scott Lang)

Michael Pena as Luis (Lang’s Best Friend)

There are a few others, but these are the noticeable rest.  Each of them plays a ‘purposeful’ role in the story, bigger than the typical ‘throw away’ plot device character.  Each of them adds an element of fun and flavor that brings out excitement of the secondary characters.  With some ‘slapstick’ comedy from mostly Pena, it helps add another flavor to the film.  There are times when it comes off too ‘cheesy’, but overall it helps add to the films tone.

The direction can be described (in an overall perception) as formulaic.  Outside of the creative elements that add to the ‘Marvel’ connections and the ‘unique’ power of the suit; the film is a pseudo origin tale spun into a heist film.  In going down a very generic direction, the director provides a standard ‘A to B’ linear film; one where you have a lot of foreshadowing story elements that become relevant in the end.  As mentioned; this is an origin tale in a different way.  What you come to find out is that ‘Ant-Man’ has been part of the MCU for a very long time, through the character Dr. Hank Pym.  There is a ‘prologue’ of his history with SHIELD and Howard Stark, before we move into present day.  In present day, we are introduced to the rest of the cast, and how all of them come together through ‘fateful’ chance and some convenient plot devices.  What you learn is that Hang Pym brings Scott Lang into his situation (with Hope), and needs to use his ‘burglar’ tactics to steal back the shrinking formula from Darren Cross.  There is a ‘villainous’ side that has developed in Cross, and according to Pym, he needs to be stopped before he unleashes this technology on the world.  This is when the formulaic process begins.  Even with the standard of ‘first introductions’; a homage display of the ‘shrinking’ powers and the setup for the ultimate ‘heist’, the film is filled with a lot of life, love and fun through a tonal perspective.  This is brought through by the clever dialogue and ‘relationships’ of all the characters.   Watching the dynamic (as mentioned before) of the main four characters in the film, you feel that human element.  Through the mixture of some ‘unbelievable’ situations (where you have to suspend disbelief even further than other Marvel films), you get to see a heart of a tone-down tale, one that brings you in and forces you to stick with the characters (till the end).  Once you get through all the shenanigans and the ultimate heist takes the grand stage, the film’s formula is turned on its head (through some unexpected events) that leads to the confrontation of Antman and Yellow Jacket.  Out of the typical ‘good vs. evil’ cliché, we get one of the most creative fights between two characters you’ll ever see on the big screen.  The intensity of the fight mixed with the colorful dialogue and ‘unique’ elements of the ‘shrinking’ powers adds a veracity that’s amusing and thrilling.  When you reach the end, you know this is a basic tale of sorts, but one that has enough flavor to have you say it was an entertaining ride.

The visuals of the film are like night and day.  There is a very aesthetic appeal of keeping the film within a singular location (San Francisco); but at same time, the ‘shrinking’ powers introduce another side that’s mind-blowing and imaginative.  Seeing the world from an ‘Ants’ perspective could have come off as unbelievable, but they managed to create a world that rivals any ‘epic’ fantasy tale.  There is awe in seeing things from a miniature perspective, one that keeps you glued to the screen, especially when it comes to the fights with Antman.  The score is a mixture of typical ‘comic book’ tension sounds with a complimentary soundtrack, but it doesn’t deter from the films enjoyable factor.

Ant Man is a film that will seem very basic in its direction, but because of the fun characters, witty dialogue and ultimately, the creative elements of the powers, you will not be disappointed.  If you’re a fan of Marvel, comic book films or heist films at that; you will find something to see here.  This is a good time at the theaters, and worthy outing for the full family.

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