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Movie Breakdown: Ant-Man (Noah)

July 16, 2015

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The Impression:

As big as Marvel films are getting, and let’s be honest they’re like ‘roided up Hulk snorting PCP riding an elephant, they’ve also hit a sort of formulaic lull. Ant-Man, formerly Edgar Wright’s, now Peyton Reed’s, may just be the mold-breaker we’re all looking for. Or it could be another Thor.

The Reality:

Turns out Marvel has created an empire, outside of a few outliers, of, well, pretty good flicks. Ant-Man, all things considered, is a solid little film – great lead, a few solid action beats, and a dip into weirdness that almost makes it a better movie than it is. Hell, this could be the description of just about every Marvel film up to this point. This particular little oddity (I mean oddity because it doesn’t have enormous men punching each other, rather slightly smaller men punching each other) stars Paul Rudd as ex-con Scott Lang, who’s pulled into a strange world of a shrinking super-hero when he steals a suit from, ah fuck it, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). Seems there’s a world to be saved, and ex-con Scott Lang is just about the only one who can do it. Rudd is, as Rudd is, charming. He doesn’t stretch much outside of his Paul Rudd antics – look charming Paul Rudd is riding an ant! – but still, he’s a leading man built for Marvel – charming, but harmless. The film, as all Marvel films do, suffers from a weak bad guy, Marvel B-lister Yellow Jacket (Corey Stoll), who’s trying to do something with something to make something happen. All I know is that Michael Douglas kept telling me it was going to end the world, so, I believe. There’s great set pieces using the humor and weirdness of two small men fighting, but even when Corey Stoll is getting ran over by a miniature train (spoiler alert), it all feels pretty inconsequential. The film as a whole feels flat, subdued even, as if whatever madness Edgar Wright was cooking got vacuum-sucked out and left on the side of the ride, and this, a perfectly enjoyable, perfectly serviceable film was left in its stead.

The Lesson:

This film has two post-credit bumpers (don’t leave your seats!) and both of them annoyed me more than anything. I won’t say what they are, but at least one of them should have been incorporated into the main plot of the story. Which is frustrating. Marvel is banking on the comic book nerd/television watching set to be pulled right into another film based on the secret revealed in the final post-credit scene, and it feels, sometimes, like these aren’t movies, just long introductions to the next cliff-hanger.

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Movie Breakdown: Ant-Man

July 15, 2015

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The Impression:

Marvel goes … small … in the wake of the enormous Age of Ultron.  Paul Rudd stars.  The film looks kind of goofy.

The Reality:

Ant-Man is an overall entertaining film, but it’s also an odd one.  It fits into the universe that Marvel has created, but its various references to it (especially the scene at Avengers HQ with Falcon) come off as really forced.  It’s funny, but for every joke that hits, there’s one that falls so flat you’ll glance at the person next to you to see if maybe you just didn’t get it.  Paul Rudd, Michael Pena and Michael Douglas turn in quality work, but Evangeline Lilly comes off as bored and Corey Stoll may have just googled “how villains act” and based his character off of the results. In other words, half of Ant-Man works and half of it just feels flat and/or off.  This, I’m assuming, is simply just the byproduct of director/writer Edgar Wright’s early exit from the film due to creative differences with Marvel.  He quit, then the movie got tossed around to too many people, and the end result is a wonky film that’s pretty fun but also shrug-worthy and instantly forgettable.  Success?

Matinee this one, friends.

PS – Big ups to director Peyton Reed for making the best of an awkward situation. Without him I think the film would have been an all-out mess.

The Lesson:

You’re slipping, Marvel.

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