“Oh hey look, it’s another Marvel movie. We must be about two months out from the last one. Oh, we are.
I actually had some pretty high hopes for this one. A lot of the MCU (Marvel Comics Universe, which you prolly knew) movies have gotten a bit stale and formulaic. But then last summer, when we were starting to fade into superhero fatigue, Guardians of the Galaxy came out and shook things up a bit. I was getting some of the same vibes from Ant Man in that he’s a more obscure hero with a non often seen ability, and he’s got some attitude to back it up. I knew if nothing else, this would at least feel different, if only for Paul Rudd’s sense of humor.
And it did feel different, in a positive way, proving that there are still interesting tales to astonish left to tell in the MCU. Okay, sure, it did succumb a little bit to the Macguffin plot structure that all these films feed off of, but everything surrounding that felt fresh. I’m sort of over origin stories in general (especially after, on the DC side, spending 10 years in Smallville learning Clark’s backstory only to have a movie reestablishing it yet again). So then how do you introduce a character that only the most hardcoe of fanboys knows? You make it the origin story of the successor to the throne, or ant hill.
Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym is the original Ant Man, who created the suit and the technology. (Sidebar: One thing I love about this branch of Marvel is how many of our supes are science nerds) He’s passing all that on to Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang. So we learn about the abilities and such along with our newbie Ant Man, but we can fastfoward all the research and development. Douglas complained on a talk show last week that he’d have all these long expositional monologues that Rudd would follow up with a quip, stealing all the thunder. Yeah that’s pretty much what happened, and it worked very well.
Okay so let’s talk about that cast, yeah? First off, I love Paul Rudd, ever since Clueless. He comes off as the nicest guy in the world (on screen and in person) but he’s also got this biting sense of humor. He’s one of those actors who you know exactly what to expect from them, but instead of a boring predictability it’s a comforting one because you know you’re going to love what you get. Did that sentence make any sense? Anyways, moving on to Michael Douglas. One thing I do love about the point we are at in this super saturation is that we’re getting a lot of A list interest. Specifically these older veteran phenomenal actors who want to join the MCU for their kids. We saw it last year with Robert Redford in Winter Soldier, and these guys are not the only examples. I absolutely think that Ant Man benefited greatly from having an actor of Douglas’ caliber. And being familiar with more of his heavy and dramatic work, it was nice to see him let loose a bit.
And it wasn’t just our main guys who were awesome. I’m becoming a bigger and bigger fan of Corey Stoll every time I see him. I personally think he was the best part of House of Cards (at least his character was most interesting) which is a big part of why I never got around to watching past the first season. Maybe he doesn’t shine as much here up against Rudd and Douglas, but he still brings some street cred to the role. Although I think my favorite cast member was Michael PeÃ±a. If you’re not sure who he is, pretty much any big movie you’ve seen, if there was a smooth talking Hispanic guy that you thought you might recognize, that was probably him. (I highly recommend checking him out in End of Watch if you wanna see him in a more substantial and serious role). Anyways, here he stole pretty much every scene he was in, mostly because he had more charm than smarts, which came off very endearing. One last mention to round out the cast, points for Bobby Cannavale. It’s been awesome how much he’s been unexpectedly popping up in movies lately.
Another strength that Ant Man had was the ability to play with sizes, creating some really great looking effects and some really hysterical sight gags. That too is something else that helps this stand out a bit from the rest of the MCU.
I had other notes written down for talking points, things about all the father/daughter relationships in the film and how there was a father/daughter duo sitting next to me, and things about the whole Edgar Wright drama, and some others that I typed out on a file and then forgot to save. But I think I’ve said enough. We’ve already gone longer than most of my posts go, so let’s just leave it at that. Oh PSA: there is a mid credit and an end credit scene, both of which set up some future stuff, so be sure to stick around if you’re curious to find out what direction the MCU is heading in next.
Ant Man – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/”