Sunday, July 19, 2015

Movie Review: "Ant-Man"

It almost seems like people are just waiting for Marvel Studios to stumble at this point.  Well, those people will have to wait even longer cause Marvel has done it yet again with Ant-Man.  Ant-Man is perhaps Marvel's most unique movie to date featuring a superhero who can become the size of an insect at will and use his special helmet to control ants with his thoughts, not to mention the fact that our hero, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), is an ex-con trying to go on the straight and narrow.

We first meet Scott as he is being released from prison for basically playing Robin Hood with a major corporation.  Now vowing to go straight so that he can reconnect with his daughter, Cassie, Scott finds it harder than he initially thought to get a job thanks to his past, ultimately resorting to thievery yet again.  Scott and his hilarious pals (led by a scene stealing Michael Pena) break into Dr. Hank Pym's house and crack open his safe to find what appears to be a weird motorcycle suit.  Later, when Scott puts the suit on and shrinks, he realizes that this is no ordinary suit and that the man they stole from, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), is no ordinary man.  One thing leads to another and Hank recruits Scott to help him and his daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly), save the world by stealing a dangerous piece of technology that Hank's former protege, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), has developed, and thus, Ant-Man is born.

I really don't think there has ever been another superhero movie where the hero started out as someone who would ordinarily be the bad guy and by the end has become the ultimate good guy.  That must have been a tough feat to pull off for the writers and director Peyton Reed, and yet they did it, they made Scott Lang such a likable guy that you are rooting for him the entire time (of course it doesn't hurt that the crimes he committed were ones of an altruistic/Robin Hood nature).  However, the real x-factor in regards to Scott Lang is Paul Rudd.  Rudd infuses his natural everyman vibe with his charm and goofiness, making Lang a character we care for in regards to achieving his goal of overcoming his past to be closer to his daughter.  In a nutshell, that idea of either overcoming or succumbing to your past is the thematic spine of the whole movie.

Scott wants to actually earn the look in his daughter's eyes by being a better man than he was in the past, while Hank Pym is trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter and come to terms with what happened with his wife's death, and Hope and Darren are both trying to wrestle with their complicated feelings toward Hank's treatment of them growing up.  Ultimately, with Scott, Hank, and Hope, being the good guys, and Darren being the bad guy, you know who overcomes their past and who doesn't, but the fact that a superhero movie features such ideas as redemption and atonement as well as the dangers of hate, is a great added bonus.  When it's all said and done though, the main reason I absolutely love Ant-Man is because it's just so much fun.

This movie is chock full of jokes and even in the dramatic moments there is humor to keep things from ever getting too stuffy.  Few movies nowadays are brave enough to just be silly and have a good time, and that's what Ant-Man does.  You can tell the filmmakers know that this whole concept is absurd and they don't care.  The characters take their situations seriously and believe in what they're doing, but they also make jokes at almost every turn because that's just who these characters are and that is, in my opinion, the mark of every Marvel Studios movie thus far and why I like what they're doing more than DC.  So if you just wanna have fun at the movies, go see Ant-Man, cause I can guarantee you wont regret it.

P.S., the musical score by Christophe Beck is sick!!!

I give Ant-Man a 9 out of 10!

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