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Review: Ant-Man

Paul Rudd stars in Marvel's "Ant-Man"

For those of you keeping track, Ant-Man represents the end of the second phase of recent films from Marvel’s cinematic universe. In my eyes, the mere presence of his character also represents a number of questions about Marvel’s direction and whether or not he even fits along side the other Avengers that he’ll now be teaming up with. After watching the film, I can say that some of those questions were answered while others found a way to creep into my mind.

After being recently released from prison, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) finds himself looking for ways to make his life better. At first, he simply wants to avoid going back to his life as a thief, but he discovers a more dramatic lifestyle once he meets Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and is given a chance to don a suit that will turn him into a superhero with the uncanny ability to shrink in size while managing to actually increase his physical strength. It’s a weapon that anyone with the right (or wrong) motives would want their hands on. That’s why its secrets are being hunted down by some ruthless adversaries.

To put it bluntly, Ant-Man is a restrained superhero movie that has a second rate feel to it all. While it contains a story that tells you these events are important, Marvel itself doesn’t give off that impression. While simply looking at what’s being put on display for audiences, it comes off as being less expensive than other Marvel films, but the price tag isn’t quite as low as you may think. It apparently cost about the same as some of the other movies that preceded it, but it somehow looks and feels a lot cheaper.

Another thing that makes it appear that the backers of these films aren’t as invested in this one is the fact that they use a second rate Avenger during the second act of the film to help connect this film to their existing world of superheroes. I’ve got nothing against the guy, but they couldn’t have brought in a bigger name? Was Ant-Man not big enough for the other Avengers to want to be a part of? Maybe they were too expensive to include? Either way, it makes it seem like Marvel doesn’t care as much. Just about all of the other movies have had more significant characters making appearances, but why not this one?

Before I move on, I will point out that they do include a more established face in the after credit scene, but even that feels like more of an afterthought than something that moves this whole thing forward. It’s kind of tossed in there at the end and isn’t really even a necessary addition. I guess if you look at it like that, it fits in with the rest of the movie.

This may be the first film in Marvel’s run of recent movies that you can honestly skip over even though the character will be a part of the universe. I say that because there’s no real connection to anything when talking about the timeline or the intertwining story that connects all of this stuff together.

When thinking about it, this shallow feeling that Ant-Man has could also come down to the fact that Edgar Wright was supposed to be the one directing this movie. When you look at that and you understand that Ant-Man is one of the founding members of The Avengers in the comics, it may be safe to say that maybe this was supposed to be released earlier than it was. If that’s the case, than it would be somewhat understandable when you look at how stripped down everything feels.

None of this is to say that Ant-Man is a bad movie. It’s just that it could have been made to feel as if it was done on a grander scale. I understand if the grip on their wallet was a little tighter than their recent releases, but I believe Marvel could have done more with what they had at their disposal. Because of the approach they chose to take, Ant-Man is ultimately underwhelming even if it’s not necessarily exactly unpleasant.

Looking back on things that I liked about Ant-Man, I’d have to say that the characters and the action are kind of interesting. Led by Paul Rudd, just about all of the meaningful characters are interesting in their own right. The action is able to assist in giving some fans some kind of satisfaction. While it’s not amazing, it is able to entertain on multiple occasions.

The good news is that it becomes easier to see exactly how Ant-Man can fit in with the other superheroes whenever the Avengers assemble and find themselves getting involved in fisticuffs throughout the future films that Marvel will be pushing out. Due to his size when he gains his powers, I had my doubts that it would work on film, but I’m actually certain that it can and will be pulled off correctly.

Rating: PG-13

Director: Peyton Reed

Cast:
Paul Rudd
Michael Douglas
Evangeline Lilly
Corey Stoll
Bobby Cannavale
Michael Pena
Tip “TI’ Harris
Wood Harris
Judy Greer
David Dastmalchian

Film Length: 117 minutes

Release Date: July 17, 2015

Distributor: Walt Disney Studios

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