Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Movie Review: Ant-Man

So let's get the obvious out of the way...I hate ants! And I hate wasps even more! Aggghhhh!!!!!

Ahem, now that's out of the way, let's talk about the movie. The Ant-Man comics were based around a character named Hank Pym who creates a serum to either make himself either small or large as he wished and fights crime with super-heroine and later wife Janet Van Dyne. And, it was a really smart move to not center the movie around either of them. Comics were usually not too kind to Hank Pym, who used to verbally and physically abuse his wife and at times acted like a giant a-hole. Instead it focuses on a man named Scott Lang, a thief who is trying to get out of that business and live an honest life instead. And (spoiler warning) but Hank Pym is in this movie played by Michael Douglas, who acts as a mentor to Scott and wants him to help him stop a catastrophe by stealing something.

I'll be nice to the movie and start with the good parts about it-if you want a fun, popcorn flick action film, this one will certainly fit the bill. It has a great combination of action, humor, and some pretty solid acting from both the lead actors. Scott Lang works as Ant-Man because he is a likable, funny character trying to do the right thing, which would have likely been impossible with Hank's character. Scott also has a few Mexican sidekicks who help him along the way, and props to them, they are genuinely funny and likable characters who do not fit common stereotypes. Which is always appreciated.

Having said that, however, there are two problems with the film. It took me a while to figure out what the first problem was, but here it is: the pacing. There are way too many moments that feel way too rushed, and it sacrifices character development along the way. A good example is the relationship between the leads. Hank basically breaks Scott out of jail, and promises him a second chance if Scott will help him. He then says he has been watching Scott for a long time after an impressive heist he did. But then it is also pointed out in the film that Scott is pretty much expendable and Hank secretly didn't want his daughter (Hope) to do it, even though she has more access and is more capable at the time. So is Scott relevant or not?? As a result Hank and Scott do not fit the protegee/mentor role if Scott is just hanging around to be convenient. And, as the movie goes along, it's not really clear how Hank intends to help Scott with his 'second chance'. In fact I'm not even sure if he's paying him by the end. The relationship between Scott and Hope is just...there. I honestly didn't realize that Hope was being played by Evangeline Lilly, and it's always noteworthy when a well-known television actress can masquerade that. Besides that, though....the relationship between Hope and Scott is pretty strong in the first half but is completely rushed in the second. And it's painfully obvious early on what will happen to Hope's character eventually.

But by far, the worst feature of the film by far was the villain. Ugh....completely forgettable in both acting and what his actual plans (which honestly I forget half the time). At one point the movie wants viewers to realize that 'he's evil' by killing an innocent goat at one point. He also doesn't have any connection to Scott and it required an actual slideshow to verify the villain even knew who he was. It is especially bad when you consider that the Marvel Movies have turned out a good amount of villains for the most part. Ultron was flawed but he had way more character in his mechanical finger than this guy.

Final grade: 3.5 out of 5. If you view this as a fun superhero 'heist' film and not a grander Marvel Movie, it is way easier to view.

Good try movie, but you'll never convince me that ants are cute. 

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