Ant Man Review

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     Marvel really is a powerhouse in film. Never did I think in the days of Batman, Superman, and Steel, that we would have a film about fucking Ant Man. Yeah, I read the comics and know that he was a founding member of the Avengers, but his own movie? I try to be a realist as much as I can be, and I never thought that this character would get his own movie. But here it is, and the results are what you would expect from a Marvel movie.
     Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) has been in a self imposed exile for many years. He has developed the Pym Particles that can shrink a person to the size of an ant and can keep their full sized strength. Shield wants to turn it into a weapon, because of course they do, and has kept it hidden. But when Pym’s old protegee Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) manages to get close to replicating the particles, Pym enlists ex con Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to use his old suit and steal back the sample.
     The one thing I’m liking about Marvel movies lately is that they’re dabbling in different genres besides action. Guardians of the Galaxy is a space opera, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a conspiracy thriller, and Ant Man is a heist film. It’s still has the heroics, but there’s a distinct flavor to it that keeps it from being old hat. And truth be told, I’m a sucker for a good heist film, especially one with a good amount of humor.
     The humor succeeds primarily because of the fun chemistry of the cast, in particular Michael Peña as Scott Lang’s former cell buddy. Paul Rudd just has this natural charm to him that makes the sheer lunacy of the plot come off as believable. They have the motivation of him wanting to do right by his daughter (which is a Marvel cliché) but it’s these small moments that Rudd excels at. Michael Douglas kills it as Pym. The more I thought about it, both Rudd and Douglas hold the entire movie together. Douglas plays the role as seriously and respectfully as the movie allows, while Rudd defuses any heavy handed moments with humor. That is a tricky thing to pull off, but they managed to find the right balance.
     There are some flaws to the whole thing, and sadly it comes in Evangeline Lilly’s role as Hope, Pym’s daughter. She does fine in part, it’s just a little one note and underwritten. She does have a great scene with Scott concerning legacy, but she’s always with mad or sad. Here’s hoping she gets to do more in follow up films. Corey Stoll is one of my favorite actors working right now, but here he’s just a waste. How did anyone like this guy? Marvel has always been good at writing compelling, sympathetic villains. The second I saw Cross I thought, “Yep, here’s the villain”. They can, and should do better. Since the antagonist is so underwhelming, the climax of the film, while fun and silly, comes off as meh. There isn’t a resonance to that fight at all. But what really pissed me the fuck off is when an Avenger suddenly shows up for a fight. I get it, this is a shared universe, but it came off as so out of place for the movie as a whole, that I was right to suspect it was added as a precursor to Captain America: Civil War.
     This is by far not the best Marvel movie (it’s a hell of a lot better than Thor: The Dark World), there is a lot of fun, silly elements to keep you entertained. Sometimes we can lose sight that these types of movies are meant to be fun, escapist fare. I don’t mind if the movie is just fluff if I had a good time, Ant Man though does manage to sneak in the theme of legacy, and how our children view us. Sometimes a marshmallow can have some substance.

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