Saturday, July 18, 2015

Ant-Man: Movie Review

   When Marvel Studios announced it was doing an Ant-Man movie, I thought they were crazy.

   (To be fair, I had the same reaction when I heard about the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.)

   In both instances, I was wrong (much as I hate to admit it).

   Where Marvel succeeds with movies about (let's face it) second-class heroes is because they focus on their strengths - interesting stories, great characters, lots of action, humor and heart.

   The story centers around Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), an ex-con who's trying to turn his life around, to be a good father to his young daughter - but he can't seem to get a break.

   At least not until he meets Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), a scientist who mastered the size-changing Pym Particle - and has spent decades trying to keep it out of the wrong hands.

   To safeguard his invention, he needs to steal it from a corporation before it can fall into the wrong hands - and to manage that, Pym needs a thief.

   There's a mystery and a tragedy hanging over Pym - why did he give up his career as Ant-Man, and what happened to his wife, Janet Pym? And how does his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) figure into the intrigue?

   The visuals in the film are stunning, and the size-changing is realized brilliantly. The logic behind Ant-Man's powers and his offensive abilities, as well as his use of swarms of ants are all managed cleverly.

   The actors are perfectly cast (something else Marvel has excelled at) - Rudd is terrific, funny and personable in the title role, and Douglas brings the proper gravitas to a classic character.

   As a long-time fan, I was hoping this story would be about Hank Pym - the "real" Ant-Man, in my book - but I have to admit the story works well with Pym being a hero from an earlier generation.

   The movie's only stumbles are easily forgiven, but as an origin story, we occasionally get slowed down in explaining how things work - and some might find Lang's three "street level" friends a little over the top, but I thought they were very funny, especially Michael Pena as Luis. I also love the music featured in the film.

   There are lots of nice touches throughout the film - bits of business for long-time fans, like a cameo by the first guy to play Ant-Man onscreen (in Saturday Night Live), and a few references to certain other Marvel heroes.

   I can't say it's the best of the Marvel movies (that's a tall mountain to climb), but it's very, very good - like Guardians, it aims more for laughs than angst, and it's all the better for it. (And the best recommendation of all - my lovely wife, who's not a fan of superhero movies, loved it!)

   It's loaded with energy and laughs, and easily sets up a series of adventures - so don't be surprised when Ant-Man II rolls around in a few years!

Grade: A



Anonymous said...

I actually didn't read your review, yet. Briefly scanned it to ascertain that Chuck gives it a thumbs UP! The wife and I are going to see the movie in a few hours and I didn't want to read anything about it.
A lot of my online friends have sounded enthusiastic thus far and I'm looking forward to seeing it today!

Sam Kujava

Chuck said...

Sam, I don't blame you - even "spoiler-free: reviews (our specialty here) can give away too much of the storyline. For movies like this one, "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and the new "Star Wars" movie, I try to avoid all articles and social media comments - I like to be surprised!

Mr. Brooks said...

I saw it with my two sons and we all loved it. I would love to see Dr. Pym's involvement with S.H.I.E.L.D. be followed up on that show.

But for me the best part was seeing Dr. Hank Pym get some well deserved (and long overdue) respect. Casting Michael Douglas definitely accomplished that.

Take notes Warner Bros. Now that ANT-MAN is a success you have NO EXCUSE for AQUAMAN! Get it right.

Chuck said...

Absolutely agree about Pym getting long overdue respect. I wish I had more confidence in Warner's movies - maybe they should farm their films out to Marvel Studios? Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I saw it Sunday morning and we both loved ANTMAN! I plan on seeing it again to take in all the wonder and fun of a great summer Marvel movie!

Sam Kujava

Chuck said...

Sam, Yeah, I definitely want to see it again on the big screen (and my wife loved it, too)!