Friday, July 17, 2015
Starring: Paul Rudd (This Is 40) and Michael Douglas (Traffic)
Director: Peyton Reed (Yes Man)
U.S. Release: July 17th, 2015 (Rated PG-13)
Runtime: 117 minutes
Evident by their massively interconnected stories that will come to an epic union in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, Marvel has been an extremely calculated and well-oiled machine. Therefore, upon hearing the news of an Ant-Man release starring comedy icon, Paul Rudd, and directed by Yes Man and The Break-Up filmmaker, Peyton Reed, these head-scratching choices felt very unorthodox for such a meticulous studio. And although Marvel placed all of their power and resources behind a team of stars unfamiliar with the superhero norm, Ant-Man still unfolds as another solid spectacle in a long line of interweaving tales.
After pulling what many would describe as an "ethical heist" that landed him in jail, burglar extraordinaire, Scott Lang (Rudd), is released from prison and dead-set on making things right with his young daughter. But after an honest lifestyle shows very little remorse for an ex-convict, Scott considers a return to his old ways. However, when the groundbreaking scientist, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), learns that his old protege has discovered the secrets to his most powerful invention, one that could be absolutely catastrophic if placed in the wrong hands, he enlists the help of Lang to break into a heavily guarded facility and steal back his secret.
Marvel's Ant-Man, the latest in a lengthy string of newly introduced superheros with a long-standing history in the comic book realm, is a worthwhile endeavor for fans of this widely developed universe. While the film is a far cry from the most unforgettable superhero flicks to ever captivate audiences, it does a stellar job of sticking to Marvel's indistinguishable formula of constant jokes and heavy action. Sporting a sleek and toned physique for the role, Paul Rudd handles each of the fast-paced sequences just as well as his more natural comedic moments. Ant-Man is such an interesting character who possesses unique abilities that make for a cleverly filmed movie. Constant changes in physical size from small to large give the director a lot of freedom to use his imagination and he doesn't disappoint. Furthermore, it would be a huge disservice to address all of the fine attributes to the film and ignore one of Ant-Man's true highlights, the hysterical co-starring work from Michael Pena. As one of Scott Lang's partners in crime, Pena provides such an elevated level of humor that he almost steals the show himself.
Despite a funny script loaded with timely laughs and a fresh sense of creativity, Ant-Man can't avoid a few unfortunate issues. With a tiring mid-section that results from a major shift to a more dramatic tone, one that proves wildly ineffectively, the film leaves you begging to reach the finish line. In addition, Ant-Man suffers from another common blemish evident in many recent Marvel productions. These films devote so much of their attention to bridging characters together that they often avoid building a strong villainous foe. I don't know about you, but when I'm going into a superhero flick, I want a nemesis for the ages. It's something Christopher Nolan mastered so well in his Dark Knight trilogy, but a non-existent theme in many of Marvel's latest works.
Ant-Man is nowhere near a must-see summer blockbuster, but it's another above average addition to Marvel's quickly-expanding universe. Any doubts surrounding Paul Rudd in the leading role should be squashed like a bug. He and his many co-stars keep the film light and entertaining all at the same time. If you're someone committed to Marvel's illustrious future plans, then don't worry because Ant-Man is another inclusion that warrants a watch.
Stars: 2 and a half stars out of 4