The Ant-trasting Ant-Man
*** YES, I KNOW THAT’S A SH!T PUN AND THERE ARE SPOILERS…PROBABLY. ***
First things first, despite the title of the this piece, I actually really liked Ant-Man – which is saying a lot as I have a really serious bug issue. Probably not surprisingly, I don’t have an overabundance of Ant-Man knowledge, so I didn’t really know what to expect going in – but that lack was in no way a deterrent. The movie handles the backstory and plot in true Marvel need to know fashion; you know what’s up without being bogged down, and that leaves you with plenty of time to appreciate the sarcastically hilarious dialogue and unique visuals.
The most surprisingly enjoyable thing about this movie for me though was actually Paul Rudd. I’ll be honest and admit that though I really appreciated him in I Love You, Man I was not at all sure he could pull off a headliner superhero. But man, was I surprised. Just like Peter Quill was kind of made for Chris Pratt, I feel like Scott Lang was maybe tailor made for Paul Rudd. He’s every bit the lovable underdog and makes the good guy crook a believable and relate-able; The cat burglar you could take home to mom, if you will. Yellowjacket, played by Corey Stoll, however I felt was a little lackluster for a villain. I can’t quite put my finger on why exactly I wasn’t thrilled to pieces with him, but there just seem to be a lack of dimension in his character and he was crazy just for the sake of being crazy. Plus he looked exactly like Lex Luther if Lex Luther was a gym rat with pronounced emotional problems, which was somewhat distracting for me.
The supporting cast was pretty stellar though, so that made up for a lot of my misgivings with Yellowjacket. Team good guys, which consisted of Michael Douglas (Grumpy Original), Evangeline Lilly (ass-kicking instructor), Micheal Pena, David Dastmalchian, and I.T. (who make up the comedic technical support crew), and really well casted in my opinion, and though some of these were obviously only added for comedic effect, that effect is really appreciated in the second half of the movie.
As for the visuals – which I referred to as unusual, if you remember – were quite something. I can’t say that any other super hero movie has attempted to do what they managed to pull off – which is maybe the best argument for an Ant-Man movie? Anyhow, they somehow managed to blend serious action with simplistic silliness in a perfectly entertaining combo, which I really enjoy very, very much.
Final thoughts? I’d have to say not surprisingly, Marvel is probably the only studio that could have pulled off this title to begin with, but they did so much better than anticipated. I feel like any other studio would have taken a much campier route, which with a plot as absurd as this to begin with would have come out looking like someone’s extremely dorky third cousin who gets avoided at family reunions rather than the good natured, fun guy afternoon outing that it is.