Monday, July 20, 2015

Ant-Man review

Well here I am looking at Ant-Man. Through the comic book years I was never a fan of Hank Pym. I always thought: Ant-Man, Giant Man and Yellow Jacket were lame. Now I know he was a founding Avenger and there are fan boys out there that feel he should have been in the movies sooner. This guy did not. I was perfectly fine leaving him, his science and propensity for slapping his woman around, out of the Marvel movies. Well that was not the case and now there is an Ant-Man movie.

If I dislike the character then why see it?

Well first it isn’t Hank Pym it is Scott Lang in the suit.
Second, it is a Marvel movie, they haven’t let me down yet.

Ant-Man opens with a bit of past Marvel universe world building. Hank Pym is not willing to turn over his special “Pym Particles” (they make shrinking and growing happen)  to S.H.I E.L.D. We then jump ahead to the present and meet Scott Lang a “good” criminal. He has ex-wife/new husband problems, wants to see his daughter and can’t get a job. This of course leads him to do one more job breaking into a house to crack a safe. This lead s him to nab the Ant-Man suit.

There is a bit of a jump over to Pym Tech, Hank’s company where he has a dude, Darren Cross, trying to recreate his “Pym Particles.” You know it is the typical quasi-evil scientist looking for the secret for glory of verbal or monetary reward. Low and behold Hank’s daughter, Hope, is also working for Darren Cross, but is she really? Yeah there is this whole father/daughter issue running through the movie that is eventually explained. If you can’t see the how and why of it before then, well shame on you.

Jump back to Scott Lang eventually joining up with Hank Pym to become Ant-man. Why? Well Darren Cross has plans to make mini bug men soldiers who get to wear a sweet yellow bug like mech suits….called…Yellow Jackets. We then get the obligatory montage, discoveries, ant wrangling and rounding out the Ant-Man origin story. The training is not for some final battle, but for a heist. Ant-Man and his insect brethren are set to break into Pym Tech and steal/destroy what Darren Cross created. Which of course leads to a final show down between Ant-man and Yellow Jacket.

Just a quick run through of Ant-Man. As always, there is a lot more going on here than what I covered.

"What no Sex Panther?"
Going into this movie I had no idea how they were going to work this. The mixing of comic book and heist movie was actually descent. I love me a good heist movie, and having it revolve around a super hero origin worked.

The big action bits (fight vs. Falcon, briefcase fight and final showdown) weren’t face melting awesome, but they were really entertaining. They were a descent mix of action and the absurd.

Absurd is good here folks. Why? Well the very notion of Ant-Man is absurd. Seriously and guy who shrinks and commands ants is bonkers. The lighter approach to this character works. If they tried to make this serious I think it would have been abysmal. Ant-Man is never going to be dark and serious and thankfully it wasn’t.

Paul Rudd is Paul Rudd. If you like the movie Role Models, then his Scott Lang is a more family friendly and super hero-ish version of Danny from that movie. He easily fell into the wise acre thief with a conscience looking for a bit of redemption easily. I look forward to how they play him off the other Avengers as once again we have an “every man” thrown into a crazy super hero universe.

I didn’t pay much attention beforehand. I was unaware that Michael Douglas was playing an aged Hank Pym. I didn’t hate that bit. I did wonder who he was working for when you discover the whole Ant-Man past. Was he part of the government? Was he on the pre S.H.I.E.L.D. team? Did I just miss that bit? We still got to see Hank Pym and those pesky particles of his.

Now there is a bit of a downside to Ant-Man and that is the buddies/crew that works with Scott.  The three man crew of Latino guy, black dude and not Russian Russian fella are annoying at best. I know every heist film needs a crew, but their ineptness is irritating. I get why they exist in the film, but they still kind of suck.

I was surprised by Ant-Man. I had low expectations and came out actually enjoying a lot of this movie. Is it perfect? Nope. Are there problems? Some. Is it a needed bridge to the next batch of Marvel movies? Yes. Is Scott Lang better than Hank Pym? Probably. Is it a must see? Not in the theaters, but it see it when you can. Will it do enough to warrant a second film? Probably not. IS it good to have Scott Lang in the Marvel movie universe. Yes! Will it be better than the upcoming Fantastic Four (and yes I know Fan Four is not a “Marvel movie” but it is a Marvel comic movie)? By the looks of it GODS YES!

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