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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

At The Fleapit: Ant-Man (2015)


Probably the main takeaway from Ant-Man is that Marvel Studios is continuing its experiments with non-standard superhero stories (as it begun in Guardians Of The Galaxy).

Much like Guardians, Ant-Man comes close to being a straight-up comedy, blended with a heist movie, even though it falls into the trap of going old school with a villain that is a dark reflection of the hero (as in Iron Man, Man Of Steel and countless other superhero films over the years).

Unlike recent superhero flicks, Ant-Man isn't an epic, but rather a very personal story of a man looking for a second chance.

Paul Rudd is wonderfully haggard and charismatic as the down-on-his luck ex-con (and corporate Robin Hood) Scott Lang, trying to do right by his estranged daughter who is living with his ex and her new partner, Paxton (Boardwalk Empire's Bobby Cannavale), who also happens to be a cop.

Scott is tricked by retired businessman Dr Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) - inventor of the 'Pym Particle' (which enables superhuman shrinking) - into stealing Pym's "Ant-Man" suit, as a test of his nefarious abilities.

Pym wants to use Scott to infiltrate his old company, which is now run by his old - and increasingly unbalanced - protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) to steal the Yellowjack suit that Cross has developed using Pym's ideas.

However, Pym's daughter, Hope (Lost's Evangeline Lilly) would rather she was leading the operation, having gained Cross's trust.

When it becomes obvious the heist is going to require more bodies, Scott calls in his old 'crew' - Luis (Michael Peña), Kurt (David Dastmalchian) and Dave (T.I.), who are there primarily for comic relief.

There are some pacing issues, but generally Ant-Man barrels along at a fair lick.

The special effects - particularly the many times Scott is miniaturised and/or interacting with various ants, which he has 'mind control' over - are phenomenal and probably award-worthy. The transition between his various states is so smooth you don't even catch yourself thinking that it's a neat special effect, you just go with it.

Plot-wise, the film also opens up a whole new spectrum of power levels in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as showing us superheroes operating in the time between the disappearance of Captain America and the appearance of Iron Man (and, yes, we do get a cameo by an elderly Peggy Carter and Howard Stark).

The Cinematic Universe mythology is broadened by the introduction of a "sub-atomic" plane of existence - where a certain, former character may be lost - and we also get to see how Pym's technology can make objects grow massively, opening the door to future appearances by Giant-Man.

A solid, and highly entertaining, addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe stable, Ant-Man brings some interesting ideas to the table as well as some great sight gags and witty one-liners.

4 comments:

  1. I thought the decision to not start with Hank Pym was born interesting and probably for the best since Pym drifts away from the heroic ideal quite a bit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like that they're introducing the idea of legacy heroes here.

      Delete
    2. DC has always done legacies better than Marvel but I think that is going to need to change. They're already setting it up in the comics with the new Thor and Captain America as well as the animated Avengers series where Spider-man has moved in as second tier Avenger. I think they are preparing for the "Phase One" actors to start inevitably moving on and they're preparing to keep the MCU going.

      Delete
    3. You're right, comic-wise, DC always had the generation-factor working in their favour for legacies, which is why the recent attempts by Marvel to replace established characters have felt more forced (and gimmicky) as only Cap really has the chronology.

      But I think it might work out better for them in the movies.

      Delete

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