Movie Review: ‘Ant-Man’


Director: Peyton Reed

Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll

Plot: Scientist and former hero Hank Pym has spent decades hiding his ‘Ant-Man’ technology from the world. When his protégé begins gaining access to the tech, Pym teams up with reformed burglar Scott Lang and his estranged daughter Hope to prevent it.

Review: First things first, many seem to have a strange trepidation with regards to this movie. Granted Ant-Man isn’t the best known member of The Avengers, but the studio has a good track record these past couple of years. They’ve got the formula down so well that a movie about space pirates who look like trees and raccoons can be a blockbuster. Some have voiced the argument that a super hero based around ant powers sounds like a stupid superhero. I mean, after ‘Ant-Man’, what will they try next? Some kind of ‘Spider’ Man?

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Absurd, who’d watch that?

By now word of mouth is getting around and people are getting on board with this rather oddball caper. We recently wrote about the stagnation of superhero movies, and the need for them to mix up the tone in 2016 to maintain the success of the genre. Ant-Man actually goes in a good direction in this regard. The tone and style is in line with the Kevin Feige grand orchestra, but Ant-Man is very much a blue-collar superhero. He immediately feels different to the Gods, billionaires, geniuses and idols that make up the established Avengers team. Lang represents the same thing they did with Hawkeye in Age of Ultron, but does it better.

Scott Lang isn’t fulfilling a grand prophecy or facing a powerful destiny. He’s a career criminal who finds himself falling back on bad habits through a desire to keep a relationship with his daughter. He falls in with Hank Pym, who used to be Ant-Man, he is also struggling to keep his family together. It’s a ridiculously common trope in cinema, but they sell it well. The dynamic between Rudd, Douglas and Lilly is one of the best parts of the movie, as they keep the keep the characters grounded and relatable even in these incredible and insane circumstances.

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Whilst Corey Stoll is a good pick for the villain Yellow Jacket, he doesn’t get a lot of time to flesh out the character or provide him with any real motivation. It essentially boils down to him being evil and crazy, and getting crazier.

During the 1950s there was a trend towards sci-fi and horror movies about people or creatures shrinking or growing, like The Incredible Shrinking Man and Them! They captured the imagine with creative situations and cunning effects. With modern CGI anything is possible on our screens. Fortunately creativity hasn’t been left in the past and the film is packed with imaginative sequences involving the shrinking technology and the mind controlled ants. There’s one particular fight scene halfway through the movie that is especially fun to watch, being the first time we see how Ant-Man’s unique abilities can be used in combat.

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With the current attitude concerning the lack of female superheroes in cinema it’s a shame that Ant-Man wasn’t accompanied by The Wasp on his first adventure. There’s references to her, but once again this is a man’s world. Lilly as hope is a great role, and he relationship with the characters gives a good dimension to the character, but many will be leaving the cinema hoping that she gets to take up the mantle in Captain America: Civil War or (shock) her own film. At least they didn’t mix in any silly ‘I can’t hit you!’ moments during the fight training between Lilly and Rudd.

This is a very welcome addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Exciting, imaginative and funny, with a great cast of characters. Well worth checking out.

Rating: NINE out of TEN

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