Two nights ago, my daughter and I got to go to a showing of Ant-Man, that was pre-released for for viewing through the promotion of a local radio station. So off we went to embrace another Marvel spectacle [tongue in cheek]. I have to say, that for me personally this movie was an outstanding bit of entertainment and it really surprised me at how well the Marvel production team did to pull this off. I have been very disappointed with Marvel and its list of films from the last half decade (don’t get me going about the Avengers movies or Iron Man, because you don’t want to know what I think).
Ant-Man is a 2015 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics characters of the same name: Scott Lang and Hank Pym. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the twelfth installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was directed by Peyton Reed, with a screenplay written by Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish and Adam McKay & Paul Rudd, and stars Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Wood Harris, Judy Greer, David Dastmalchian, and Michael Douglas.
I want to address several things in this review.
The casting was exceptional. It takes a great cast of actors to pull off telling a story that is total fantasy and fiction, and pull it off as if it is real and present in our day. The script, and the acting pulled the audience into the story line. Sure we knew it wasn’t real, but it was like the movies in the old days. It was an old fashioned escape from reality, and for me that was literally so, I left my office at 6:45 and to to the movie theater by 6:53. I literally left the real world of claims, and got to the movies in time to enter my escape into a more real that real escape that felt more real that real. This was right from the start.
As usual the Marvel fare of bright red and cartoons at the beginning set the stage from the movie. The music was upbeat and up tempo and felt different than other Marvel productions. The cast of characters were believable, and notably we knew who the bad guys were and who the good guys were. There were moments of humor that adults would understand and enjoy, and I am sure was over the head of most of the youngsters who just laughed along with the adults they were with. There were great moments of character development throughout the film that pertained to the story line, and setting up subsequent sequels to this movie. The chemistry of the main cast was obvious from the get go.
In Ant-Man, Lang must help defend Dr. Pym’s Ant-Man technology and plot a heist with worldwide ramifications. The story begins with Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) the first Ant-Man who discovered the shrinking technology and the conflict he has with his former protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), who is trying to perfect the technology for his own purpose of having used for military use and personal wealth. Cross has named his technology Yellowjacket. This sets of a race to see if Hank Pym can stop Darren Cross, but Pym is too old and needs help.
The main protagonist is the ex-con, master thief Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) who joins Pym and Pym’s daughter Hope Van Dyne (Canadian actress Evangeline Lilly, of Lost and The Hobbit, parts 2 and 3). I like the relationships in this film and how they develop.
There are antagonists and protagonists have their share of family and friends issues throughout the film. It makes it more real and relevant at a deeper level. The audience can readily identify with the characters which is important. There are conflicts between parents and their children, between friends, and between cops and former convicts, and between former business associates. There is plenty of relational conflict to go around, but there is also plenty of humor to go around as the characters deal with the issues they face in their lives.
Lang gets set up by Pym to find out just how good he is as a thief, and that leads to their relationship being established. Lang adapts to the training and to the suit, and from there the story goes, just to see who will do what, in order to be successful. Will one be able to stop the other? You will have to watch the film to find out. It is released today, 17 July 2015.
This I do know. I hated the last half dozen Marvel character movies. I got tired of Ironman after the first movie. I didn’t even like Thor. The first Captain America was OK. The Avengers movies were a total bore for me, overboard with action and special effects and very little of a story to hold it together and even worse, very little character development.
Ant-Man seems and feels totally different, from the soundtrack, the screenplay, the actors that were cast for their roles. All of it is very well put together, and it jives and makes sense and it is believable. The dialog is good and authentic sounding. The moments of comic relief do not feel staged or pretentious. The entanglements in relationships feel real. The acting is well done. The sound track is unbelievable.
It is a doable story. The character development and the plot and story line is more than enough for a prequel or a sequel or both. I can easily see a prequel that would reveal some of the details that Pym speaks about in this story. It would make a terrific movie all on its own. I could also see a sequel as this movie closes you are left to wonder, and that is a good thing to do, to tease the audience and milk the interest of the viewing public.
All in all, Ant-Man is a classic good guy and bad guy movie, with the good guy trying to redeem himself for the sake of his daughter. Redemption is a theme in this film and it is a motivator for a lot of the story.
It is more than a kids movie. I this movie will entertain at all levels and all ages. The kids may not get all the humor, but they will love the non stop action and the vast array of insects in the story. Teens and young adults who love the Marvel franchise should likewise love the eye candy of the movie and appreciate the script and story. Adults should equally be entertained and find it an enjoyable escape for a few hours. I know it is a good movie and that’s because I am still talking about it, and I willing to pay my money and go and see it again.
I watched the 3-D version of the film. I am NOT a fan of 3-D, but the post-production of this film was so good that I actually loved the 3-D effects. I could not believe how good it was. My daughter who watched it with me also commented on the 3-D and how much she enjoyed it. So if you don’t like 3-D, try this one in 3-D. I highly recommend it.
My new superhero is Ant Man.
*** NOTE: The trailer does NOT do this movie justice ***
Ant-Man is playing in theaters this weekend. It opens 17 July 2015.