Saturday, July 25, 2015

View Log: Ant-Man

Iron Man was not popular in 2007. Iron Man changed that.

The Guardians of the Galaxy were not popular in 2013. Guardians of the Galaxy changed that.

Ant-Man was not popular in 2014. And I think that’s about to change.

Spoiler-Free Version
This movie is a lot of things. It’s funny. It’s an action romp. It’s a heist movie. It’s a character study. It’s a stepping stone. There’s not only a lot to like about this movie, but there’s a lot to genuinely love about it.

Paul Rudd is a charismatic leading man, Michael Douglas is a fantastic mentor figure, Evangeline Lilly is a decent leading lady, the villain is suitably threatening, and the ensemble cast is comedy gold.

Thumbs up all around.
As for specifics….

Yeah, spoiler alert for all that follows.

Now, I won’t be going as in-depth as I will be when I end up recapping and reviewing this. This is just going to be going over my thoughts on the movie since I saw it.

First of all, the villain is almost brilliant. Almost.

In the comics, Hank Pym went a bit nuts and started calling himself “Yellowjacket.” Darren Cross was an unrelated nemesis of the second Ant-Man, Scott Lang.

In the film, Darren Cross is Hank Pym’s protégé who goes nuts from exposure to Pym particles (the super-science that makes shrinking work) and builds the Yellowjacket suit. It’s a nifty way to utilize one of Scott Lang’s enemies while giving Hank Pym’s comic book mental illness a physical embodiment.

Except it’s not really... explained. The film only makes vague mentions of the particles messing with brain chemistry, which the non-Ant-Man fans I went with were a bit confused by. And I’ll admit that I didn’t even initially realize the parallels until the car ride home.

The whole "Pym particles mess your brain up" subplot didn't actually go anywhere and was just confusing to those who didn't get the nod to Hank Pym's manic-depression.

Darren Cross is menacing, smart, and a legitimate threat to the heroes and the world. But that little degree of brilliance to the character that sets him apart from, Obadiah Stane in Iron Man is going to be completely lost on people who aren’t familiar with Hank Pym’s mental issues from the comics.

And, yes. There’s a bad guy who wants to take advantage of technology only the heroes can create to sell weapons to the highest bidder. Just like Iron Man. But there’s a lot that separates this movie from Iron Man, whether it be the larger cast of characters, or the very feel of it.

Iron Man was as realistic as possible. Ant-Man knows that there’s no possible way to get the audience to take shrinking 100% seriously and runs with it.

But shrinking is an inherently horrifying thing if you think about it, which the film shows us during Scott’s first miniaturization. Then once we see that he’s super-tough at his tiny size, we stop feeling scared for his safety (save for the idea that he can shrink down too far and be unable to return) and the film starts to hit a balance.

An inch-high superhero punching out people with super strength is as awesome as it is hilarious. And so is this movie.

The cast is uniformly great, with Michael Peña as Luis being one of the funniest things in the MCU.

I’d definitely say this movie was worth a look if you haven’t seen it. I mean, even if it weren’t for the fact that Marvel is pretty much forcing you to go see all their movies to understand the ongoing plot, this would be an enjoyable stand-alone movie. Which makes sense, considering it had begun as a stand-alone movie divorced from the MCU. In fact, I’d say it was the best MCU movie of the summer, if not actually the best movie in Phase 2.

I guess all that's left for me to see this year is Fant-four-stic.

...God help us.


  1. I pretty much have the same feelings about the movie. I kinda wonder if Cross' mental problems were from an earlier draft of the film that got cut once the director switch happened.

    1. Yeah, I'd be very interested in seeing a draft of the script from when Edgar Wright was still attached.