Review: ‘Ant-Man,’ With Paul Rudd, Adds to a Superhero Infestation

16 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Ant-Man’: Big punches, big laughs.

So the prospect that Ant-Man, the minuscule Mighty Mouse of Marvel’s stable of powerhouse superheroes, might join the brawny big-screen ranks of the Hulk, Thor and the rest has long held some pleasing irony. Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — When Marvel churns out a movie for their cinematic universe, it doesn’t matter how unknown the title is, people will have big expectations for it.

That’s why lots of curiosity ensued when, just weeks before shooting on “Ant-Man” was to commence, Edgar Wright, the British blender of genre and comedy who had worked on the project for eight years, departed over “creative differences.” It was a sacrifice, seemingly, to the Marvel colossus. Ant-Man, isn’t the biggest name on the Marvel roster, but ever since turning a relatively unknown team in the Guardians of the Galaxy into a pop culture phenomenon, the miniature hero has big shoes to fill. This new, extremely lightweight but still fun Marvel movie adventure lacks the apocalyptic, bombastic, overfantastic quality that so many superhero movies have.

The precise source of the dispute is unknown, but it’s clear enough from the final product, pushed forward with the quick insertion of director Peyton Reed (“Bring It On,” “The Break-Up”) and a rewrite by Adam McKay and others, that “Ant-Man” was bedeviled on one hand by staying true to its more modest size and idiosyncratic nature and on the other by meeting the larger, blander demands of being a Marvel movie complete with superhero cameos and sequel potential. While Rudd, Douglas, and Lilly drove majority of the film with their chemistry and heroics, it was Peña who stood out with his role as the comic relief. He has an ethnically diverse group of petty criminal friends: Tip (T.I.) Harris, David Dastmalchian and Michael Pena, the only actor in the movie who’s rightly convinced he’s in a comedy. Peña’s performance was augmented by writer Edgar Wright’s treatment of certain scenes, utilizing the quick wit and slick editing present in his previous works such as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Lang is trying to right himself for the sake of his young daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Forston) and for the purpose of paying child support to his ex-wife (Judy Greer, an actress too good to be twice relegated to the domestic sidelines in this summer’s blockbusters).

The result is a movie that would stick with you due to its playful humor, slick writing, and a memorable protagonist who you would look forward to seeing more of in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Through some strained plot mechanics, Lang is recruited by the original Ant-Man, the scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), to succeed him in the suit. It “reduces the distance between atoms,” if you must know, and needs to be out of the hands of his evil former underling, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll). Along with his daughter (a bob-sporting Evangeline Lilly), he’s conspiring to prevent a former apprentice (Corey Stoll) from unlocking the atomic secrets that led to Ant-Man’s secret power: the ability to shrink down to bug size yet maintain strength. But that’s part of the point. (Lang even suggests they call that Marvel supergroup, which will soon include Ant-Man.) Where most heroic adventures have a stereotypical “first use of new powers” montage, the version here of that staple shows Lang stumbling around a bathtub and getting sucked up into a vacuum cleaner.

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