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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Movie Review: Ant-Man

Does size really matter? In July 2015, we saw that even the smallest person can pull off big feats.

Directing this 117 minute action/sci-fi is Peyton Reed.

Some of the cast is: Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym, Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne, Judy Greer as Maggie Lang, Bobby Cannavale as Paxton, Abby Ryder Fortson as Cassie Lang, Michael Pena as Luis, T.I. as Dave, David Dastmalchian as Kurt and Corey Stoll as Darren Cross/Yellowjacket.

Hank Pym created shrinking technology, but realized how dangerous this knowledge could be in the wrong hands. After realizing S.H.I.E.L.D. was trying to replicate his work, Hank resigned from
S.H.I.E.L.D. and took everything with him to protect the technology. Years later, after being forced out of his own company, Hank finds out that his protege Darren Cross is close to perfecting the shrinking technology and making a suit of his own. Now, Hank must try to stop Darren. Unfortunately, to pull this off, Hank's going to need... a little help.

I've been a fan of Ant-Man for a long time and was super stoked to see him finally get a chance to shine on his own. Come to find out, Stan Lee first started pushing for an Ant-Man movie back in the 80's, right around the time Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989) was in development. Lee's idea was put into development, but for whatever reason nothing more ever came of it. However, with all the advancements we've seen in special effects over time, I'm glad it was made now instead of back then.
                                                               

Now, I was a little worried when I (a comic book fan) saw some of the things they were changing (characters, back story etc.) for the film. Mind you, it's nothing that would bother anyone that hasn't read the comics, nor do any of the changes hurt the film. In fact, the writers, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish, who did the work on the story, did an amazing job on explaining the changes that a comic fan may have been questioning. Something I didn't know, Wright and Cornish had a little help when it came time to write up the screenplay. Adam McKay and Paul Rudd also helped out.  The story they put together is based off of the character Ant-Man (first appearance 1962), which was created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby. I thought the story was really cool and had a good mix of action and comedy. I can't say enough how much I liked the storyline they came up with. It has a lot of elements that a comic fan will enjoy and it also introduces another cool superhero to a non-comic audience.

The playthrough was very entertaining and had my attention with no problem. The movie has that same good feel that Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) had in it. It's fun, got some laughs and killer action scenes. After reading the comics over the years and seeing the world Lee and others created, it was cool getting to see so much of that same Ant-Man world brought to life.

Since the first big bang (Iron Man 2008) that launched the creation of Marvel's MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), they've set a pretty high bar when it comes to the look of their film effects and this one hopped over that bar with ease. Industrial Light & Magic helped create some great visuals. Lola VFX even popped in to shed off some years so a few characters could do some flashbacks. Then throw in the costume design work by Sammy Sheldon and you've got a hero-riffic looking film. Another thing that helped make this look so great was the camera work. Thanks to Double Negative, techniques like Macro Photography and stop motion capture were used to make Ant-Man's look when he shrunk down and also for making Yellowjacket's suit  look so badass.
                                                   

The cast did a great job. I have to admit, I was worried when I heard Rudd was joining the superhero world as a main character. It's not that I don't like him or his work, it's just looking at his past films I didn't know if he would be a good fit for the part. Gladly, I was wrong, Rudd turned out to be a good addition to the cast line-up. Now, don't expect to see anything new from Rudd as far as the character goes, it's the same funny sarcastic wit that you see from most of his roles. Douglas brought a more serious attitude to his character, which I was hoping for with the Pym role. The more I see Corey Stoll's work, the more I'm starting to like him. Stoll gave us a character that you can't help but want to punch and are pretty happy when it finally happens. 

Quick (awesome) side note, Marvel plans on throwing together a 13 disc box set titled Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase Two Collection. The box set will include all of the Phase Two Marvel films and it looks like it's going to be released late 2015.

Overall, this is one of those movies that's worth catching at the theater. There's a lot going on that's going to look pretty sweet on the big screen.

It's rated PG-13 for violence and language.

4 stars


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