Sunday, July 19, 2015

Ant-Man The Movie - A Spoiler-Free Review

Visually, Ant-Man is an amazing film. There are a number of stunning shots taken from the perspective of an ant-size man throughout the feature that are unlike anything ever before seen on the big screen. It's clear the filmmakers poured over the artwork of Jack Kirby, drawing inspiration - if not replicating specific scenes - from the original Ant Man stories in Tales To Astonish.

At the same time, the story is as trite as the visuals are uncommon, following all of the usual cliches. The villain is a lunatic with no motivation beyond being crazy and greedy. There's a grizzled mentor who sees the would-be hero as his last hope to make good on his own mistakes. And there's a dismissive, hyper-competent love-interest who whips our protagonist into shape, despite being far better suited to be the hero herself.

That being said, two things manage to save the movie despite the formulaic story and a few minor plot-holes. The first of these is an amazing ensemble cast, who make the material work in spite of itself. The other is the moments where the movie breaks the standard Hero's Journey rules to create something uniquely fun. Like the movie being just as much a heist picture as it is a superhero movie.

It's also worth noting that this movie may be the smartest film Marvel Studios has ever made and not just because of all the information about various species of ants and how they might be useful in a fight! This movie takes the trouble to explain why Dr. Hank Pym doesn't just call The Avengers or SHIELD for help regarding the main conflict. And just why Dr Pym chose to give his Ant-Man suit to ex-con Scott Lang in the first place.

Speaking of explanations, I will say that for those fans annoyed at The Wasp not being included in this film... well, trust me, you'll want to see this movie.  And everyone should be sure to stick around for the credits. All the credits. There's two hidden scenes this time and the final one is a preview of what's to come in the next Marvel movie.

Bottom Line: Ant-Man is a fun movie and a worthy addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's not without its little flaws but it's a good movie if one looks at the big picture.

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