Up next is our take on Marvel’s next feature film, Ant-Man. Directed by Peyton Reed, and starring Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, and Evangeline Lily, this film is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence.

The next installment in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man, introduces us to Scott Lang (Rudd), an ex-con trying to care for his daughter. Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas), creator of a super suit called the Ant-Man suit, asks Lang to be his successor as the hero known as Ant-Man. Lang, at first reluctant, takes over the responsibilities, his first task fitting his niche: robbery.

7 out of 10

In recent years, American moviegoers have had urgent hunger pangs for comic book movies, and Marvel Studios is more than happy to serve move after action stuffed movie. Their recent release, Ant­Man, highlights the lesser known hero from his reintroduction into the world as an ex­-convict and eventually follows his journey to save the world. Scott Lang is the unassuming hero who teams up with scientist Henry Pym and uses Pym’s shrinking technology to become the Ant­-Man and avert imminent global destruction at the hands of insect sized weaponry.

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As all superhero movies carry out, the protagonist must become accustomed to his/her newly acquired powers and then fight overwhelming odds to save the world and their loved ones whom the villain has placed in mortal peril. From Spiderman to Iron Man, and finally to this latest installment, the same pathway of events dictates Marvel’s feature films and you would think we are all sick of the repetition. But the box office says otherwise­ and for that matter so do I. The painfully predictable screenplay is no new curveball, but how can any audience member be too critical of the entertaining action adventure flick? It has fist fights, high speed chases, guns, rockets, and explosions that blow up both the enemies and your mind. Only the most crotchety, grumpy, pouty old man would refuse to enjoy a fun movie like this one.

Marvel did a good job creating the miniature world of Ant­-Man; the enormous bathtub that Scott first finds himself was a fun perspective. Special effects and CGI animations certainly lent a hand towards the world of the insect sized hero as he runs through ant tunnels, ventilation shafts, and even keyholes. However some stunts in this movie were leaning towards being too ridiculous to appreciate, including the large, winged ant that became Scott’s trusty flying steed, and the clever but silly means of their breaking and entering that included titanic references and floating rafts built from ants. But when all said and done, Ant-­Man certainly boasted fun and exciting scenes; however, the humorous personality that Marvel wrote in was perhaps my favorite aspect of the movie.

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Similar to what I enjoyed in Guardians of the Galaxy, there was a slight carefree and self-teasing tone that Ant-­Man showcased; proof that director Peyton Reed was still willing to poke fun at the absurdity of a tiny hero. The A-list actors all brought along their own sense of light and dark humour, with Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, Michael Douglas as the infamous and somewhat mysterious Henry Pym, and Corey Stoll playing Darren Cross, a brilliant but power obsessed scientist the main ANTagonist… (Heh). The whole cast partakes in the funny, sarcastic tone of the movie that brings a necessary and humorous air to the film. Douglas’s witty chides and ironic jokes towards the under qualified and overwhelmed Paul Rudd reminded the viewer of the silliness when the plot line began to intensify.

Ant­-Man is not my favorite superhero movie and it seems somewhat unjust to call it in itself a “great” movie, but the new take on a Marvel film does not go unappreciated. Good acting and funny interludes appropriately accented the insect hero movie, and although the plot could get tedious given the theme of ants, the action remained fun and engaging, while the slightly self-deprecating tone enables this feature to soar into the box offices and even into my happy  memories as a fun night out with friends.

6 out of 10

Since the exhaustion of all superheroes is sadly (or not, depending on how you see it) within realm of possibility these days, Marvel is now tasked with taking some of the comics’ spacier ideas and crunching them down to realistic, bite-size editions for audiences.

A thunder god? No problem. A frozen Captain America from the 40’s? Sure thing. That weird team of space outcasts with the tree and the talking raccoon? Surprisingly, that one turned out fine.

Marvel's Ant-Man..Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)..Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal..? Marvel 2014

But they’ve hit a bit of a snag with “the guy who can shrink and talk to ants” it seems. It’s a tough sell. Marvel used to escape with less stupid than cool (The latter usually negates the former) but now Ant Man has presented a noticeable uptick in goofiness. By the time I walked out of this, I was shaking my head and confirmed the stupidity of it all with my friends,
in fact.

I was still laughing though and that counts for something. While there was a lot (and I mean a lot) of suspension of disbelief required, I can’t help but feel the movie’s aware of a lot of its ridiculousness and it toys with it from scene to scene. This is Marvel after all and it’s junk food. As long as you know you’re paying for junk food by now, you should be fine.

The sheer wackiness of Scott Lang (played by an A-game Paul Rudd) and his funsized misadventures is also galvanized by the Marvel Universe stuff that plays out in the background of the film. We’ve established Disney and the Marvel Cinematic Universe are great at table setting and, voila, its larger story has become a safety net for any of the film at hand’s shortcomings (I can always leave one Marvel film excited for the next regardless of what the center stage character delivers). This is the beginning of the third wave (or “phase”) of the Marvel Universe and it’s the first to kick off without a major hero lead; for the most part, it does a solid enough job.

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There are also just some pretty cool, creative scenes where Rudd’s character learns the ropes of (nearly) being an Avenger. They definitely have fun with the shrinking and growing powers of his suit and, for what it’s worth, they do actually make some of the more outlandish powers easy to swallow and interesting.

The villain is pretty forgettable but over the top, goofy and fun enough (Same for the sideline characters). Villains do tend to be the soft spot for the dear MCU and Ant Man sadly isn’t an exception. It looks like Loki is gonna keep his throne as the best Marvel antagonist on the block for a while longer.

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Was this movie more evidence that Marvel is phoning in a formula of cheeky jokes and references to smooth over stupidity? Maybe but I’ve been anxious about that as a fan for a while now. I’m still not quite tired of it yet and neither is the viewing public it seems. People are starting to notice it though and that could maybe spell a bit of trouble for our superhero framers and their investors in a good few years.

(I still never tire of some good SHIELD drama though).


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