Friday, July 31, 2015

Movie Review: Antman is a mega fun

I watched Ant-Man on the day it came out, but it is only now that I have time to review it. This is a heist movie taking place after Avengers: Age of Ultron concerning the Pym Particle technology for shrinking things. I will examine Plot, Character, and Polish and then assign a grade.


First of all, I want to dispel any misconception that this movie is a re-tread of Ironman. While it looks similar due to both the hero and his evil counterpart wearing powered armor and the conflict is over the armor's proper use there are numerous differences. The most important of which is that this movie is a heist movie. It revolves around a plan to steal the prototype Yellow Jacket armor from Daren Cross and delete all the data on it so another cannot be built. The second is that Daren Cross is a legitimate creator of the Yellow Jacket; Hank Pym refused to tell him the formula or even confirm that it was a real thing and not just a hoax, so he reinvented it. The roles of Iron Man and Iron Monger are then, in part, the opposite in this film. A third point is the difference in cast but that will be in the CHARACTERS section.

I like the plot because I think it is has a sound foundation and built up. The Evil Plan is established, Scott is recruited, trained to stop it, the plan develops and then the heist is carried out.
Personal conflicts and arcs are wrapped around this basic structure to flesh it out and give it meat. It can be both silly ("Baskin Robins Always Finds Out")  and profound (The speech about second chances).

The ending is satisfying. It closes the conflict of this movie while pointing to new adventures for Ant-Man in future MCU projects. 


Scott Lang is about as far away from Tony Stark as one can get. He's much closer to Average Joe than the "genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist" in both his everyday demeanor and the world that he inhabits, which includes roommates and annoying retail jobs. The only reason he's included in Hank Pym's plan, is because he is both trustworthy and expendable. In fact, I'd say he has more in common with Steve Rogers.

This is what made him so engaging and interesting as a character. Scott Lang is truly a hero for the little guy. He's not a famous war hero, a (demi) god, enormous green rage monster, a super spy, etc. He's just a guy in a suit and he didn't even make the suit.  What he is underneath the suit is just as heroic as anyone else in the MCU.  Enough comparisons with other heroes; Scott stands on his own without them.
He is quite the devoted father. It's clear that his daughter Cassie means the world to him. All of their scenes are adorable. He has a streak of self-depreciating humor that is shown most prominently during his scene with Falcon. For a third point, he's a modern day Robin Hood.

Hank Pym is a grouchy old man but it's easy to see the rusted heroism inside of him. He plays a Big Good role in this film directing and training Scott. His dynamic with his two apprentices has Star Wars overtones (the bad original one and the good new one), which is cool.

Luis, Kurt, and Dave, A.K.A. "The Three Woombats", are great for comedy, but they are also more than just funny guys. They're skilled at what they do and, aside from their (off-screen) petty crimes, heroic in and of themselves.

Darren Cross makes for a great mix of hamminess and villainy while also distinct from other MCU villains. He has this Well Done Son Guy complex with Hank, but at the same time, it's more of a Surpassed The Teacher sort of thing. His offhand comment about "morning meditations" also sticks out.

Hope Van Dyke is an interesting character because, as she points out, she is far better suited to be The Hero of this story than Scott. She works at the place, she knows the technology, she has Cross's trust, and she knows "how to punch".  This leads to a More Hero Than Thou with her father for the first half of the film. Scott takes the role not because he's better qualified, as would be the case in another film, but because he is expendable.
She's not a love interest. The make out with Scott at the end occurs off screen and so quickly that it's more a joke than honest romance or ship tease. Her reconciliation with her father is by far the more important relationship in terms of emotional content (just like how Scott's relationship with his own daughter is more important to him).  However, if there's an Ant-Man II, I imagine that this will change because there's a Generational Xerox thing going on with Ant-Man and Wasp.


As has become standard with Marvel Studios, this movie looks fantastic. It has smooth pacing, it has great special effects, and hilarious jokes.

Trickster Eric Novels gives Ant-Man an A+

The next movie review is X-men Apocalypse

Brian Wilkerson is a freelance book reviewer, writing advice blogger and independent novelist. He studied at the University of Minnesota and came away with bachelor degrees in English Literature and History (Classical Mediterranean Period concentration).

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