‘Cos I’m the Ant-Man

What first stroked me about ‘Ant-Man’ was Michael Douglas involvement. I thought his participation was reduced to a couple of important minutes where he explained what the ‘Pym Particle’ was and collect his paycheck with a big fat smile. Huge was my surprise when I realized that Douglas is as much a lead character as Paul Rudd’s ‘Scott Lang’.

All my initial doubts about making an ‘Ant-Man’ movie without the true ‘Ant-Man’ where wiped at the ending credits. While it doesn’t stand as a great production of film industry, you will be willing to say that, inside Marvel Universe, is one of their most rounded up movies.

 

YEAR: 2015

PRODUCER: Marvel Studios

 

Don’t ask me what I want it for

Director Peyton Reed didn’t have a lustrous resume when he get Ant-Man from way more lauded Edgar Wright (‘Shaun of the Dead’, ‘Hot Fuzz’, ‘World’s End’, and ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’). A couple of shows, that Jim Carrey disaster called ‘Yes Man’, and ‘Bring it on’, that cheerleaders flick that was the kick start of a bunch of other cheerleaders flicks that could kill your neurons at a heartbeat. So when Wright jumped the wagon –at least as a director, he remained with a screenplay credit- and Reed got the wheel, a few of us got a little disturbed.

Ant-Man, while not at the same level of Captain America, Iron Man, Spidey or others, is a rather well-known and valued character of Marvel Comics. Pym, created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Larry Lieber, is a genius at the level of Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) and Tony Stark. In the original comics, he is the creator of Ultron and the developer of Zone 42, a jail for superheroes we will probably see in ‘Captain America: Civil War’.

But he is most remembered for his anger issues.

Henry ‘Hank’ Pym is an insecure man. And his insecurities made him violent. And he unleashed his fury against his wife Jane (The Wasp).

This whole background for the character was completely revolutionary. We were in front of a superhero we didn’t actually like the way he was.

Ok, superheroes fight each other, and Wonder Woman, She Hulk, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Supergirl and every other female character you can think of gets beaten up almost every issue. These events have no ripple effects whatsoever. It’s part of what they are. Heroes and villains fighting violently against each other. We don’t argue over gender violence because it’s plain corresponded violence. It’s not ok. But in their world, it’s accepted.

So what was the difference between that violence and the one that Hank practiced against Jane Van Dyne?

They weren’t dressed as heroes. He beat her in their house on the edge of his insecurities and flaws. He was a bastard. He was exercising gender violence. He was wrong.

And that was what Marvel decided to leave out.

 

Let me tell you how it will be

And went for the not so popular Scott Lang, the cat burglar. The story on the comics doesn’t vary that much on the one we got on the big screen.

Scott Lang got out of jail after a couple of years inside and he is struggling to keep a job, and that destroys his chances of being a father for his daughter Cassie. His ex-wife (Judy Greer) and her new husband, policeman Paxton (Bobby Cannavale) are pretty clear with him. If he can’t pay allowance, he won’t be seeing Cassie anytime soon. His buddies, thieves also, tell him about a job. He pulls it through.

He gets the mantle of Ant-Man.

We find out that the whole robbery is a plot designed by Pym to check out Lang’s abilities. And he is impressed. Pym’s Daughter, Hope (gorgeous Evangeline Lilly), not so much. But she will train him nevertheless. They need him to stop Darren Cross, once Pym’s protégé from selling the ‘Pym Particle’ to HYDRA.

The movie starts with a short scene back in 1989 where Pym has an argument with Howard Stark, Mitchell Carson and Peggy Carter (John Slattery, Martin Donovan and Hayley Atwell) about the Pym Particle. The trio, working for SHIELD, needs the results of the investigation and Hank, knowing what will happen if evil people lay hands over it, tells them to fuck off. The Pym Particle can alter the atoms closeness making things smaller. That whole discovery can end (and start) wars in nanoseconds.

Cross discovers the Pym Particle and he is delivering an army of Yellow Jackets (also, one of Pym’s alter egos), soldiers with the capacity of reducing their size.

Lang’s skills as a thief, combined with the Ant-Man suit are the best option they have.

 

And you are working for no one but me

The movie is simple enough. I enjoyed that particularly. The villain is introduced in the first five minutes and Ant-Man already exists at the beginning of the movie, because the true Ant-Man is Hank Pym. Scott Lang is merely borrowing the suit. We aren’t tired with ‘coming of age’ scenes or comic takes of ‘Good lord this powers!

The whole movie is a comedy from minute one and that’s where Paul Rudd nails it. He is comic vibe is awesome and a lot of Wright is on the deliverance of the jokes. I can feel that Simon Pegg was a contender for the role Rudd got and excelled. There are at least two gags that yell Wright all over the place. The friends of Lang, Luis, Kurt and Dave (played wonderfully by Michael Peña, David Dastmalchian and T.I) work great as a comic relief of a movie that is a huge comic relief for the whole Marvel Universe.

CGI wasn’t spared and all the Ant-Man as an ant scenes are beautiful. I specially loved the first one, when Scott is in the bathtub and the water rises to tsunami levels. The ants that Lang and the Pyms control with a gadget are very nicely animated and all the scenes involving them are pretty well.

Michael Douglas, a great actor, does not surprise striking a role that could have been demanding. He fills the screen from the initial credits, and his counterpoints with Rudd are the best in the movie.

If you are a Marvel fan this movie is a complete MUST, but even if you don’t give two craps for comic books or superheroes you will have a wonderful time inside the theater.

SHARE
Previous articleReview: Homesick
Next articleMortal Kombat X: Tremor Bundle
Hernán started his journey in the gaming world in the year 1991 with his Family Game (the FAMICOM made in China). Later on, he made the pass to Sega Genesis that would be combined with a PC 486 won over a contest. In the year 2000 he got around a more powerful computer (64 mb Nvidia Board!) which led him to madness with games as first “Hitman”, Max Payne, Metal Gear Solid and Need for Speed Porsche Unleashed. Today, he is the proud owner of a more powerful PC (no that much power though), an XBox 360, a Wii, a PSOne, a Sega Genesis, a PSP, and a Nintendo DS. While gaming, he developed a passion for writing that led him through a couple of webs (NintendoLatino.com) and a couple of magazines. He is also a writer in an online cinema magazine called “Revista 24 Cuadros”.

Share your thoughts!