Vic's Flick Picks
(3 popcorn boxes)
As Marvel comics go, Ant-Man is not one of the many that you think would make a splash on the big screen. However, the producers had the good sense to cast Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man and that has made all the difference. They chose wisely.
The film starts with a scene at S.H.I.E.L.D. in 1989. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) has stormed the conference room to announce he is resigning and no one will ever get his Pym Particle, which can shrink the space between atoms and make things smaller. I admit, that seems to have questionable applications, but there it is.
In the present, Scott is being released from prison after serving time for hacking a crooked CEO’s bank account and spreading the wealth back to those it was stolen from…what a good guy. Unfortunately, ex-cons have a hard time finding a job and he needs a job to be able to see his daughter. That old chestnut.
So, eventually we come to Hank offering Scott the chance to be a hero by wearing the Ant-Man suit in order to foil the evil Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) – a rather Lex Luthor-type nemesis. Oh, and Hank’s daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lily) is not happy because she wanted to wear the suit.
The film revolves around Scott learning to be the Ant-Man, and his training with Pym is hilarious. Douglas and Rudd are outstanding and have great chemistry. The humorous atmosphere that runs through the entire film is what makes Ant-Man successful. Without the perfect comedic timing of Rudd and Douglas we just have ridiculous scenes of ants. Even the writers understood the silliness of tiny armies of tiny ants as you will note in one of the climactic fight scenes. Lang and Cross are battling viciously by throwing trains and giant blocks at each other. Only to pan back to regular human size and we see a totally innocuous Thomas the Train falling off the tracks. Not so scary, but super funny.
Douglas was in top form. His comical side doesn’t show often – but this reminded me of his amazing performance in the classic Romancing the Stone. Rudd was also superb, dropping droll one-liners with such perfection I was sure Joss Whedon must have written them (he didn’t).
The special effects were okay, not amazing. It was really hard to be amazed by legions of ants, but the opening scene with a young Michael Douglas was impressive, how did they do that?
Three boxes out of five for Ant-Man. I laughed often and was very happy to see they included not only S.H.I.E.L.D., but also the Avengers in the world of Ant-Man. The film is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, and I think young teenagers would enjoy the show. It is not even close to the level of The Avengers, but it is at least as good as Thor: Dark World. Naturally, the ending sets us up for future installments𠉫ut if they know what’s good for them they will hold onto Paul Rudd with two hands – he is what makes Ant-Man watchable.
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Paul Rudd’s comedy resume is impressive…I’m fond of this little 2011 gem in which he appeared as an idealist who always seems to make questionable life choices.
LAST WEEK’S MOVIE TRIVIA
Jai Courtney has been popping up in quite a few movies lately. I think this marks his first “lead” instead of the evil henchman. He did, however, portray the son of an iconic action hero in this 2013 film. A Good Day to Die Hard.