Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Movie Review: Ant-Man

Starring| Paul Rudd (Scott Lang), Michael Douglas (Dr. Hank Pym), Evangeline Lilly (Hope van Dyne), Corey Stoll (Darren Cross), Bobby Cannavale (Paxton), Michael Pena (Luis)
Rating| B

The newest hero in Marvel's line-up isn't the greatest Avenger, but the movie was a bunch of fun to watch.
Thank goodness this is Marvel's final origin story.  Don't get me wrong, I generally like them, but I see why, in phase three, they'll be moving away from them.  After a while it becomes hard to make them unique and interesting.  When I was telling my family (none of them have seen the movie yet) about it, my brother asked me why Ant-Man was a superhero.  What was his motive?  And, I hesitated.  "I don't know.  He, uh, dislikes violence?, I guess."  Yeah, really unsatisfactory reason to become a hero, and that's what an origin story is supposed to show you, right?

Outside of this, the biggest issue was the villain.  A villain defines a hero; I think everyone will agree with that statement.  Just look at Joker/Batman, Lex Luthor/Superman, etc.  And a good, well-developed, interesting villain, for me, makes a movie.  Darren Cross, the film's villain, fell way flat.  The only reason he was bad was because... he was insane?  Maybe that's the reason, which, while they repeatedly said he was unstable, never really came across as straight up insane.  Rather, I felt like he was bad just because he could be bad.  And just because they needed an easy villain.  Also, sneaking Hydra in there at the very end (not a spoiler, I swear, they're literally just mentioned and have nothing to do with the plot) was another cheap shot to make him more of a villain.

It was a good movie in many ways.  It was a bunch of fun, particularly Luis and the rest of the gang, and is a good family movie.  It's the story of a man who spent time in prison, apologized to his family, became a hero, and started making himself a better person.  It sends a great message out there, and leaves you with a smile.  It's not super heavy, and you don't have to be a fan of the other movies to enjoy this one (though I'm sure you won't go see this if you haven't seen Avengers, at least).  There is very little tie in to the rest of the MCU, plot-wise.  I think they just through in a couple cameo's for those people who obsess (like me) and didn't plan on this one being affected by Age of Ultron at all- because it wasn't.

My favorite part of the movie was Hope van Dyne.  Why?  Because she represented the whole community of people who want to see a female super hero movie.  She's rightfully upset that she can't don the Ant-Man suit and deal with the problem and proves time and time again that she's much better at it then Scott.  Rather than becoming frustrating, I found it to be a commentary on the state of Marvel movies.  We don't get one headlined by a women until Captain Marvel takes center stage... in a few years!  If you wait to until the first after-the-credits scene, I think many fans will be happy with Hope's final words in the film; I certainly was!  It felt like the fan-base was being nodded at and told it will happen!

Speaking of the after-the-credits scenes- stick around for them both.  They're important.  The second one, more so, and it will serve as a bridge between this movie and Captain America very well.  In fact, I would have gone to the movie just to catch that scene.  Well worth it.

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