Mini-Review Monday: Ant-Man

Ant-ManRelease: July 17, 2015

Story: Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), one of the best thieves out there, is recruited by former superhero Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to break into Pym’s company (which Hank no longer owns) to steel a suit that allows the wearer to shrink and gain super strength. This suit was devised and created by our villain and former Pym protegee Darren Cross (played by Corey Stoll). Cross is a mad man who has terrible purposes for the future and mass production of his new suit (called Yellow Jacket). Pym, knowing this would happen if his shrinking technology got into the wrong hands, wants to steel the suit from Cross and destroy all the data relating to it. Hence the need for a new Ant-Man. Hank and Scott will have help from Hank’s daughter, Hope (played by Evangeline Lilly), who is undercover as Cross assistant; some of Scott’s eccentric and bumbling friends and fellow thieves; and many, many, many ants. With a heated relationship between Hank and Hope (who haven’t been on good terms since her mother’s mysterious death), Scott’s reluctance to go back to a life of crime when he only wants to go legitimate and be a part of the life of his young daughter (who is living with Scott’s ex-wife and her new cop husband), and what appears to be an impossible heist with terrible world changing consequences should they fail, can this rag-tag team of small heroes rise to the challenge and do big things?

Thoughts: Ant-Man is a ridiculous idea to begin with but I love image of a insect size Scott Lang running alongside countless ants. Its a comic book image that reminds me of the sheer fun comics can be. The humor falls flat more than I would wish and the first half of the movie could use more action (not necessarily fight scenes but more than just dialogue and comedy). When the movie isn’t working in jokes (good or otherwise), heist movie scenes, and superhero action, it’s giving us drama, which is good. A silly premise still needs to have stakes or else it turns into a parody. What doesn’t work is the acting. Lilly and Douglas are great actors but their dramatic scenes feel artificial and have a slight tinge of amateurish acting. Rudd does very well with the father/daughter storyline, but it all just feels like tired melodrama and cliches.

All that being said, it’s still a good time with impressive action (which I hope they toy with and have more fun with in further adventures) and a fair amount of funny gags. Is it doing what Guardians of the Galaxy did (taking relatively unknown characters and producing a masterfully constructed comedy, action, science fiction movie that makes people fall in love with these so-called B-List characters)? No. I’m disappointed by that. I was and still am more interested in the Ant-Mans and Doctor Stranges than I am the Captain Americas (not that I’m not looking forward to those movies, as well). So, while recommendable and filled with some of the glorious aspects and visuals that I think only comic books can originate (the running with the ants again), the movie falls short of its ultimate potential.

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