Wednesday 29 July 2015

Film Review: Ant-Man

Ant-Man is the latest in the long line of blockbuster movies from Marvel Studios. Following hot on the heels of Avengers: Age of Ultron, people seemed to be in two minds over Ant-Man before the film's release.

The movie follows the story of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a thief just released from prison. Upon his release, Scott is recruited by the mysterious Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), who wants to use Scott's talents to stop his former protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll). Armed with a suit that gives him superhero powers and trained by Hank and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly), Scott becomes Ant-Man. He must put his new skills to the test to prevent Cross from using the same technology for evil.

Compared to the usual action-packed blockbuster movies we've come to expect from Marvel, Ant-Man is more like a heist film. Scott, as the main character, isn't our typical Marvel hero either. Without the suit, he's just a plain old criminal with a fierce love for his daughter. With the suit, he becomes the superhero. Yes, I know that sounds a lot like Iron Man, but the characters of Scott and Tony Stark are completely different. Stark is (in his own words) a genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist, and Scott is, well, just Scott.

The Ant-Man suit is pretty cool in its own right, but compared to Cap's shield or 'Hulk Smash' or Mjolnir, it's a lot more subtle. After all, when it comes down to it, the ability to shrink isn't exactly the most exciting superpower a hero could have. That's why the action takes a backseat and allows the characters to take the lead. Don't get me wrong, the action scenes are impressive, and funny too at times. But the characters (except Cross, who is surely one of Marvel's finest cardboard cut-out villains) are what really make the movie.

Strangely, the fact that Scott has an army of ants as allies is actually kind of sweet and heart-warming. If nothing else, Ant-Man does a brilliant job of showing people with myrmecophobia that ants aren't all that bad after all. The CGI is clever and fun, with the differences in size and perspective allowing the world to shift and adapt around the characters, making for some interesting plays on scenes from different character's points of view.

At just under two hours, this is a fairly short and sweet movie that definitely doesn't outstay its welcome. It has a good pace building right to the end, and a continued focus on the characters and their development throughout. One thing I would say is that it is a bit science-heavy at certain points and a lot of the technical terms went right over my head, but that didn't detract from the movie as a whole.

All in all, Ant-Man feels like a slightly different movie compared to the rest of the MCU films. It isn't their best, but it's still fun, enjoyable, and worth watching.

Have you seen Ant-Man? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

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