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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Movie Review - Ant-Man

Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, approves of this review.


Introduction

Honestly, out of all of the introductions to reviews that I've written and have yet to write, I never thought that I would do one on Paul Rudd. Not that I'm knocking the guy or anything. I just haven't seen him taking the lead on too many things in the mainstream lately. There was Anchorman 2 but, that was more of a Will Ferrell flick. Similar to Iron Man's Robert Downey Jr., Rudd seemed to be on a downward slide in his career with his age and independent film roles (Our Idiot Brother). It's been a long time since he was schmoozing with Alicia Silverstone in the classic, Clueless. It's even been awhile since he was in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Role Models and, I Love You, Man; All fun films that I enjoy from time to time. Based off of his characters and appearance, Paul Rudd hits me like the cool, laid back, dude from next door, that you'd like to drink a brew with on the front porch. With Ant-Man, I'm glad that he now has a role that will keep him in the public's eye for years to come. Now, where's that Clueless sequel?!

Ant-Man

Step aside Garrett Morris (Saturday Night Live), there's a new guy in the Ant-Man costume, er.... suit (Morris played him in an SNL skit and has a cameo in the movie as a cab driver). My first fear about Ant-Man, was that it was going to be a mediocre sham after the debacle with original director Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) leaving the production after over a decade of commitment to the project (and writing five scripts) because of creative differences. My second fear, was that the studio's bringing of Adam McKay on board to punch up the humor of the story, would make the film as tired and desperate as many of his Will Ferrell collaborations have become (The Other Guys, Anchorman 2, Get Hard). I'm happy to say, that this film looks similar to what Edgar Wright had planned so long ago and, that the humor isn't overplayed to capture the audience's attention. Wright's original idea for Ant-Man was to look and play out like a heist film and, that's exactly how this movie looks and feels. Like last year's Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man is a nice change of pace from the other Marvel Studio's movies but, in a different way. Even though it's set on Earth, this film is a self contained story with a couple of connections to the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). It only feels a little like a Marvel film because of it. Personally, I like that. That's how The Wolverine (2013) was as well, and both films are better for their differences to the norm. For lack of a better word, this film is 'smaller' than the others. My only real problem with Ant-Man's story, is that it sometimes resembles the first Iron Man film. Iron Man is an awesome movie but, there's got to be more ideas than just doing that again. Also, some of the slow scenes have a weak emotional punch and can be borderline boring. The musical score is playful and adds to the heist like essence. The visual effects are fun to watch, especially during the miniature scenes. Kind of like a kick ass version of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

The humor of Ant-Man is fun as well. Nothing seems too fantastical with the jokes and remarks throughout the film. It's honestly funny. Rudd is like an amusing opposite of Downey Jr., quiet but humorous. It will be interesting to see him interact with other superheroes in future films. Michael Douglas (The American President) as 'the old mentor', is funny and gives the film a little bit of pep. Evangeline Lilly (Lost) as Douglas' daughter and trainer to Rudd, seems mostly held back by her character's history with her father. She doesn't get to freely explore her role as well as I would have liked. Michael Pena (Crash) as Rudd's buddy and the film's comic relief, is playfully hilarious in a limited amount of scenes. He reminds me of a hyper puppy that's down to go on an adventure with you at a moment's notice. I wish there was more of him in the film. My somewhat disappointment with one of the characters, comes from Corey Stoll's (The Strain) Yellow Jacket villain. He plays a charismatic bad guy yet, we only get to see him for a few moments at a time and usually he's in spite mode ("Why did you turn me away?", "I'm a better scientist than you!", Your Dad's an asshole, let's kill him!", "This stress is making me go bald!", "It's Obi-Wan. He's holding me back!"). Side characters and MCU cameos also up the fun of Ant-Man.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of Ant-Man

The Good- Flashback intro, They're called 'Falcons' for a reason, Ping ponging at a barbeque, The Cure in a briefcase and, A bedroom battle scene that puts Toy Story to shame.
The Bad- Not enough time to venture out into much of the miniature world other than for the task at hand. Please, no more of the "I kept a secret that tore apart our family for many years because I was trying to protect you", schtick. What a time and character waster. Antony, no!!!!
The Ugly- Forgive my possible ignorance on the subject but, regardless if one's atoms are closer together or not, wouldn't you still have the same atomic weight regardless of size? Shouldn't Rudd still weigh over a hundred and fifty pounds as a little Ant-Man? Shouldn't that human essence loogie in the bathroom scene have been a bitch to wipe up? Shouldn't the enlarged Thomas train be as light as styrofoam? I need answers!

Final Thoughts on Ant-Man

It's weird to say it but, maybe we have been bombarded with too many superheroes lately. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. I can forgive Ant-Man though because of its differences to the other MCU movies (except Iron Man). What the hell am I saying?! Give me more! See in theaters for a fun time and as always, stay through all of the end credits for a teaser to a future Marvel project. Hey, I just realized; Why weren't there any 'shrinkage' jokes in the film? That would've been hilarious. You're slipping big time, Mr. McKay. I'm a little late for that remark.
Rating- 7.5 out of 10
Running Time- 117 Minutes
Science Fiction/Comic Book/Comedy/Action

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