Monday, July 20, 2015

Ant-Man (2015)

You know guys, I've been thinking that writing intro paragraphs to my reviews is actually pretty redundant. Not always, but for most reviews, there seems to be little point. So under exceptions where it might be necessary to have an introduction to a review, I'm going to just start with the plot paragraph. With that said, let's take a look at the beginning of phase 3 with Ant-Man.

Plot: The story is about this petty criminal named Scott Lang who just got out of jail and is trying to find a way provide for his daughter. Eventually however, things go sour when he tries to make money honestly, so he does a heist with his old gang only to find out that the vault he's breaking doesn't have money but instead an odd looking suit and helmet. He takes it anyway, but soon discovers that it has the technology for him to shrink in size and have super strength. Eventually, he meets the owner of the suit, Dr. Hank Pym, who recruits him to use the suit to become the Ant-Man in attempt to stop Pym's former assistant from his evil plan.

Now to start of honestly, I more or less expected the worst to happen with this movie. Not in the sense that it was going to be Batman and Robin bad, but I still felt that with this movie we'd get our first bad movie and therefore flop among the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and so we pat Disney and Marvel in the back for giving a heck of a run. After all, this is a movie where the superhero is called Ant-Man. So I would think it would be needless to say how people would be unsure about it. Don't get me wrong, Marvel has proved time and time again how they can practically make a good movie out of anything. After all, one of our most beloved Marvel movies is one where a racoon and a tree are our heroes now. But I decided to be nervous all the same. So how did the first phase 3 movie, Ant-man turn out? ...It's actually pretty good. It's no Guardians of the Galaxy or The Winter Soldier, but it's still shows that they can make a good movie out of anything. It delivered in being what any Marvel movie is expected to be: a film with likable characters, a decent if not great story, enjoyable action and of coarse, well delivered comedy. Now what is probably the most likable thing about this movie even before it came out is the premise. This is a movie where, unlike the other films, the main character is not the original superhero. He's actually someone who is taking the place of the person who originally was that hero. Which is not only good because it's doing something different, but there are some comic book nerds who prefer Scott Lang to be the Ant-Man rather than Hank Pym. I say this because while Hank Pym may be one of the earlier heroes who was one of the first Avengers, he was also kind of a jack-hole. He was too devoted on science to focus on anything else, he would beat his wife, Janet, and heck, he's the one who originally created Ultron. In fact, I like that Michael Douglas portrayed him more of a mentor who did care more about people and the greater good over science in this movie, because Hank Pym is a bit of a scumbag in the comics. Which is where he have the more preferable Ant-Man that's the main focus in the movie, Scott Lang. And for what Paul Rudd had to offer with this role, he was enjoyable. He is no Chris Pratt or Robert Downey Jr. or anything, but he still did a good job of giving us protagonist that you really want to root for. I also liked his daughter, Cassie. She just has that right kind of odd yet innocent personality as a kid character. The only character that feel flat was Corey Stoll as Darren Cross / Yellowjacket. While not quite as super one dimensional as someone like Malekith in Thor: The Dark World, his character was pretty cliched from his personality to his evil plan. He was kind of Obadiah Stane from the first Iron Man movie except much more energetic. Most of what makes him interesting at all is when hebecomes Yellowjacket and fights Ant-Man with his cool suit and everything. Speaking of which, the action was fun. Most of it is in the third act, but it's still enjoyable. In fact, the comedy during the climax really helps it. We have our nice jokes here before that, but when we get to the end, they take advantage of the kind of jokes they can come up with in a fight between two people that can shrink like Ant-Man and Yellowjacket. Now the big elephant in the room about this movie is how there's a dispute between Marvel and Edgar Wright. As I understand how the story goes, Marvel wanted to modify Wright's  script to add things that connect the movie with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, whereas Wright wanted the script to be as it was. Eventually, it ended with Wright leaving the project. Now considering how big this whole thing was, some people - myself partly included, were uneasy as to how the movie was going to turn out structurally with these Marvel connections added. For all we knew, Marvel got so cocky that they added too much for the film as a whole to work. But thankfully, the stuff they put in fit very well. Yes, there were one or two things that were forced, but even then, one of those moments lead to probably one of the most memorable parts of the film. Though not enough to steal the spotlight. After all the focus is on Ant-Man, not The Avengers.

And that's my review for Ant-Man. It may not be the strongest of the Marvel films and the villain is not that special when he's not fighting Ant-Man. But otherwise it's another entertaining Marvel film that's fun, funny, and all around succeeds in getting us interested in new characters among the cinematic universe.

Rating: 75%

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