Plot: What’s it about?
When getting around to Ant-Man, one might assume that they’re really scrapping the bottom of the barrel. I’m sure he has his fans, but we’re not talking about Spider-Man or Superman here. This is clearly a second-rate hero. Still, Marvel Studios figured there was potential money to be made, and here we are. Much was made when the original Director Edgar Wright (a huge fan of the pint sized hero) dropped out due to creative differences. Peyton Reed then took over. We may never know what film might’ve been, but the final product isn’t half bad as long as one goes in with the right mindset.
Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang. He’s a thief who’s just been released from prison. He moves in with his old cellmate, Luiz (Michael Pena). Scott is having issues holding a job when it’s discovered that he’s an Ex-Con. He reluctantly agrees to assist Luiz and his crew on a heist. This portion of the film takes up a good chunk. Scott realizes that he has stolen a suit that shrinks him down to the size of an ant. He then decides to return the suit, only to be arrested. It’s here that he meets Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). Pym wants Scott to wear the suit (essentially become the Ant-Man) and steal the yellow jacket suit from Darren Cross (Corey Stoll). Pym and Cross have a history together, and it’s eventually explained to us why the two had a falling out and decided to part ways. We then get a long stretch with Pym and his daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly) giving Scott the basics of how the suit works. We get a good bit of exposition before the film brings on the action in its last half.
Ultimately, the film has a mix of pros and cons. Fortunately, it’s JUST good enough to warrant a viewing, but is still heavily flawed. I like that Marvel is at least trying new things. The film is very much a heist film that features a hero. I liked the character of Darren Cross, but he isn’t given a whole lot to do, at least not until he becomes the yellowjacket. Paul Rudd is almost always likeable, but the character here is kind of a jerk. He cracks a few jokes here and there at inappropriate times. It’s almost as if the film is afraid to let its guard down, and maybe will lose its audience. As I mentioned earlier as well, Ant-Man simply isn’t the most interesting hero out there. Outside of the suit, he has no powers. I feel that a sequel might improve on this film since we’ve gotten the origin story out of the way. Also, this might be a case similar to the character of Thor where he works better as part of a team. Rudd is already set to return in next summer’s Captain America: Civil War. I think he’ll fit in better there. The film certainly throws enough nods to the other avengers as well. So, with a likeable actor like Rudd at the center, the film gets a mild recommendation. It’s flawed, but has enough humor and action to please fans of the genre. I like that it doesn’t take itself overly seriously, either. How could it when the hero is a man who shrinks down to the size of an ant?
Footnote: Be sure to stick around all the way through the end credits for a couple of surprises.
Video: How’s it look?
It would be a shame and a bona fide letdown if Ant-Man looked anything less than perfect. Let’s face it – it’s a Marvel movie and that really carries a lot of weight these days. And, admittedly, Ant-Man does have a very unique look and feel to it due to, well, I don’t really think I need to explain it. Suffice it to say that the 1.85:1 AVC HD image is nothing short of spectacular. The colors pop, detail is amazing (Paul Rudd sports a wicked 5’clock shadow throughout) and even Michael Douglas’ younger self looks believable. The “tiny” scenes look very surreal, but as someone who has dealt with macrophotography in the past, I can assure you that it’s a very realistic look. I can go on and on, but know that this is yet another shining example of how good a movie can look on Blu-ray.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Ant-Man has a very unique soundtrack to accompany the pristine picture. The included DTS HD Master Audio mix delivers on all accounts. The front stage never stops churning out the decibels while the LFE and surrounds combine to form a very circular atmosphere. The “small” part of the movie has a very overwhelming sense to it that gives the viewer a very unique atmosphere. Vocals, of course, are lacking any distortion and are crystal clear. This is right up there with the best of them and I can say that in no way, shape or form was I the least bit disappointed. Well done!
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Director Peyton Reed and Actor Paul Rudd combine to deliver a very fun, exuberant and fact-filled track. Naturally Reed has done many commentaries in the past and has the “experience” over Rudd, but it’s a pretty good pace that the two set and makes for a very interesting listen.
- Making of an Ant-Sized Heist: A How-To Guide – A little more than your typical EPK, this is actually a pretty fact-filled featurette with interviews with the cast and crew, the connection to the overall expanding Marvel universe and the like. It is a bit formulaic, but how unique can a “Making of Featurette” actually be?
Let’s Go to the Macroverse – A look at the film’s more “unique” perspectives and how these were accomplished.
WHIH NewsFront – Essentially a montage of news clips from around the world.
The Bottom Line
A flawed film to be sure, but Ant-Man has enough entertainment value to warrant a rental. It’s far from my favorite Marvel Studios film, but it has the curtesy to not take itself too seriously. I think a sequel can improve since the origin story is now out of the way.