19th Jul2015

HOBI Review: ‘Ant Man’

by Jason Brigger

Stars: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Michael Peña, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Wood Harris | Written by Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish and Adam McKay & Paul Rudd | Directed by Peyton Reed

AntMan-poster

Ant-Man crawls it’s way into theaters this week and for a “lesser-known” superhero, it definitely has the buzz that everyone is talking about lately. Ant-Man is not a perfect film nor is it Marvel’s best film but it is probably the most grounded and well-rounded film that Marvel has released in some time.

For those unfamiliar with the character of Ant-Man, the film centers on Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a burglar with a heart of gold that is just released from jail and tries to walk the straight and narrow in hopes of being a part of his daughter’s life again. Lang falls back into his burglar ways due to a tip his three friends, and former criminals, come across regarding a mysterious safe in an old man’s residence. Lang finds out that the safe and its contents, a suit that allows the person wearing it to shrink to the size of an ant, belong to Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and the robbery is nothing more than a test to see if Lang has what it takes to pull off the biggest heist of his life.

Pym, a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, recruits Lang to steal the Yellowjacket suit from Pym’s former mentor, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), as Cross is ready to sell his shrinking suit to the highest bidder, no matter what affiliation that bidder belongs to. Joining Lang and Pym in their journey is Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), the estranged daughter of Pym, and the person in charge of training Lang for the heist. Not only does Lang learn how to fight from Van Dyne, he also learns how to control ants to help him out of any difficult situation that arises for him.

Despite the presence of a man controlling ants, the film is more grounded in reality than any other film Marvel has put out recently and possibly ever. Compared to other Marvel films, action is very little and the film plays like a good, old-fashioned heist film, just like the original screenwriter, Edgar Wright, wanted it to feel like. Due to less action it allows the story to grow more organically and allow the main heroes to be more developed and a deeper film than recent projects, yes, I’m looking at you Iron Man 3.

The Good:

-Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas are cast perfectly for their roles and after seeing Douglas as Pym, no one else could have come close to pulling it off like him. Douglas is to Pym what Robert Downey Jr. is to Tony Stark. Rudd brings his typical sarcastic self to the role of Lang and allows the film not to take itself too seriously, which is a good thing for a film about superhero that talks to ants. Lilly captures the essence of Hope Van Dyne and if Wasp makes an appearance in a future film, Lilly is the right actress for the role.

-The film is different from the typical superhero film and that may disappoint a few moviegoers, but in the long run it allows for a much deeper viewing experience. Ant-Man is the Ocean’s 11 for the superhero genre. Anytime a typical genre film is not a typical genre film that is a big positive.

The Bad:

-Darren Cross is a very paint-by-numbers villain and unfortunately Marvel can’t figure out how to make villains not named Loki into anything more than a comic book “bad guy”. Stoll “hams it up” a little too much for the film and in the end feels a little like a vaudeville villain twirling his mustache.

The Middling:

-As much as a heist film with superheroes is an original idea and as well as Ant-Man pulls it off, I feel the film is not “grand” enough compared to other Marvel films. The film is more intimate than prior Marvel films, which is a good thing, but after leaving the theater, there were no “wow” moments that the audience comes to expect from Marvel. This doesn’t mean the film is bad by any means but it also didn’t leave me as “amazed” compared to prior Marvel films.

Final Grade: B-

Ant-Man is a fun film and may actually be more family friendly than other Marvel movies but in the end, there is no “wow” factor that leaves the audience wanting more. As a comic book fan, I appreciate Marvel taking chances on “lesser-known” characters and I’m happy that Ant-Man was made but compared to other Marvel superheroes, it may be the character I’m least interested in seeing in a sequel. Regarding Ant-Man the character, he may not need a stand-alone sequel but I’m excited to see the future interaction Rudd will have with the other A-listers in future ensemble Marvel films.

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