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Ant-Man - Film Review

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Published July 14th 2015
Ant man just upped the ante
Ant-Man is Marvel's new superhero movie of a pocket sized super hero with a suit that has a shrinking capability. Ant-Man equipped with his army of ants is not the most obvious kind of super-hero but has the ability to go unnoticed from the human eye and dodge every bullet. Scott Lang (played by Paul Rudd) who is the character wearing the Ant-Man suit is an engineer and a thief who thinks on his toes and has a great ability to break into safes. Unlike the usual superhero who is out to save the world, Scott requires some coaxing from Dr Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), the creator of the Ant-Man suit to pull off a heist and save the world. At one point he unequivocally suggests to Dr.Pym 'Why don't you call the Avengers instead?'

Marvel's Ant-Man
Ant-Man poster

Note: Spoilers ahead

If you aren't a Marvel fan and haven't really kept track of their super heroes, you may not know that Ant-Man made his debut in Marvel Comics in 1962. Hank Pym, the scientist who first donned the Ant-Man suit uses a serum to shrink himself, later calls it the Pym particle. He also devises a way to interact with the ants telepathically and get them to execute tasks, like adding a cube of sugar to a cup of tea precisely (clearly ants swarming around sugar is a familiar sight). He invents a gadget that can shrink and enlarge other objects by altering the distance between the atoms.

This movie however is about Scott Lang, the second person to wear the Ant-Man suit, specifically selected by Hank Pym for a heist. I must admit the screenplay carefully explains the background without leaving much to the viewer's imagination. Why Hank is saving the suit from his protégé Darren (Corey Stoll), the strained relationship between Hank and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly), the story about Hope's mother's disappearance, the 4 different types of ants and their capabilities, almost everything there is to know about the plot. While in most cinema experiences that might be a good thing, it somewhat felt like someone was going to great lengths to dot every i and cross every t in the first hour of the movie. Effort appreciated, however I'd question if that was required.

At the outset, the story is quite straightforward. A scientist and inventor with enemies from the past, a protégé who to beat his mentor and is on the brink of creating shrinking technology to sell as weapons to the powerful however wrong hands, the emotional bond between fathers and daughters and a powerful shrinking suit. There is probably only one way to put these bits together in a movie.No surprises there.

The highlight of the movie is the comic timing of Rudd and Michael Peña, who plays his friend Luis. Comedy oozes out of Rudd's straight face in even the most serious moments. He's a born natural. The ants deserve a nomination for the best supporting role award, literally. Their support to Ant-Man during the heist is pretty much half the reason why he could pull it off without hiccups.

While I don't generally rate my movie reviews, I think with Ant-Man I will begin to.
My score : 6.9/10

Although it is a little shy of 7, a large portion of the score is for keeping it silly and simple and not trying to create a larger than life expectation for the first Ant-Man movie. It's clear that the powers of shrinking are a valuable asset and is very unique to the rest of the superhero's. I think it was a good first movie dedicated to the character. There is no doubt that there are snippets of unfinished business to the story and a path leading to the Avengers somewhere in the future.

Marvel Cinematic Universe's twelfth instalment hits the Australian screens on 17th July 2015. The movie runs for 117 minutes and is classified PG.
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