Honey, I Shrunk the Paul Rudds
When Ant-Man was first announced 10 years ago, a lot of people were both excited and skeptical at the possible success of the Marvel Movie. Excited because it gave us hope with the hiring of Edgar Wright (responsible for such cult comedies as “Shaun of the Dead” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”), but skeptical because Ant-Man is a character with a very silly premise, the ability to shrink down, and talk, to ants. Obviously this clashed with the superhero formula of realism and grit in 2006, all before Marvel risked it all with making superhero movies fun again, starting with Iron-Man in 2008.
Wright dropped out just before shooting started, which caused fans to begin worrying about the project. Let’s face it, the character is relatively unknown, and if anyone could make such a weird and silly character relevant, he would be the….Wright man for the job. Sorry, that pun was just too good to pass up. Thankfully, aside from the hiccup, Marvel continued on with the project. The end result is a delightful film, and probably one of the funniest Marvel Movies yet.
The film stars Paul Rudd as the lead Scott Lang / Ant-Man, a small-time thief who becomes a big-time hero…in a small way. From the start of the film, his introduction both makes sense, and sets up the funny throughout. Michael Douglas is perfect in the role of Hank Pym, the creator of the Ant-Man suit and shrinking tech that Lang inevitably steals and later owns. Evangeline Lilly as badass Hope Van Dyne, and Pym’s daughter, just like the rest of the cast, get their fair share of laughs. Among the supporting cast, Michael Peña is the standout and steals every scene. Corey Stoll plays Darren Cross, the main antagonist in the film, who was a former partner of Hank Pym’s and seeks to use the shrinking technology for the wrong reasons.
It’s obvious that Marvel and Wright didn’t end on the worst of terms (Though the jury is still out on that), as the movie’s visuals show influences of the original director. The new director, Payton Reed (director of “Bring it on” and “The Break-Up”) does a tremendous job in putting the movie together as a whole, paying homage to Wrights signature visual tricks like whip-pans, comic montages, and comedic visuals.
The special effects were huge but subtle, which is good. There is such a thing as going overboard with CG effects (Hello George Lucas), but Ant-man handles them really well. The opening scene where we see a younger Hank Pym played by none other than a younger Michael Douglas had my mind blown. The same effect used to make Chris Evans in Captain America a scrawny little runt was used to digitally de-age Michael Douglas to look exactly like his younger self in the movie “Wall Street.” You have to see it to believe it. Of course the shrinking and other “more important to the plot” special effects were great, but something about the de-aging really stood out for me. Maybe it’s because we’ve seen this effect applied to a few other films (and failed), and none has ever come close to succeeding as this film did.
The story is simple, and very self-contained. There are definite cameos from other Marvel Properties, as is expected with every one of these films, but it’s not as in your face or forced. There is no mention of any sort of Infinity Stone in this movie, and aside from a very funny and awesome Cameo in the middle of the film that ties it to Avengers: Age of Ultron, this is very much just an Ant-Man film. OF COURSE, this is not counting the post and pre credit scenes that shows up at the end of the movie, but even then, the first one is more in line with the events of the film, and the second obviously sets up the next. It’s funny and ironic that, much like Ant-Man himself, the film’s story is small in that oh so good way of it not being bogged down with too many complicated things. Now don’t get me wrong, the stakes are high here, but they’re not as big as they are in most contemporary comic book based films where the entire universe is in peril.
In short, the film is a fun-filled, heist comedy set in the Marvel Universe. It’s a welcome addition to the current Marvel movie slate, and the thought of the character joining the rest of the heroes in future films puts a smile to my face. Just like in the recent Marvel films, after the credits have rolled, they assure each and every member of the audience a promise of what’s to come. I’m not talking about the post credit scenes that end each movie, more-so the single sentence when all is said and done — ”Ant-Man will return” — and that’s freakin’ alright with me.
Marvel's Ant-Man (2015 film)
Forced out of his own company by former protégé Darren Cross, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) recruits the talents of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a master thief just released from prison. Lang becomes Ant-Man, trained by Pym and armed with a suit that allows him to shrink in size, possess superhuman strength and control an army of ants. The miniature hero must use his new skills to prevent Cross, also known as Yellowjacket, from perfecting the same technology and using it as a weapon for evil.
Director: Peyton Reed
Screenplay: Paul Rudd, Edgar Wright, Adam McKay, Joe Cornish
Producers: Kevin Feige, Nira Park
Running time: 1h 57m
Initial release: June 29, 2015 (Hollywood)
Great, fun story.
Amazing cast, Michael Peña being a standout.
Stellar Visual Effects.
Not enough for Hope to do aside from being angry.