While other heroes might be larger than life, this one’s going small.
Bookshelf Q. Battler here with a review of Marvel’s latest summer smash hit, Ant-Man.
Be forewarned – the SPOILERS ahead aren’t tiny.
Ant-Man – Marvel – Movieclips Trailers
Try this one on for size (pun intended.)
In a comic book world where one superhero is big, bolder and badder than the next, this guy’s power comes from becoming super miniscule. Not only that, but he controls a legion of ants who become his buddies.
Sounds epically stupid, right?
And yet, somehow Marvel pulls it off with great gusto in one of its best offerings this year.
Michael Douglas plays Dr. Hank Pym, whose Pym particle allows miniaturization. The wearer of a suit infused with Pym’s creation allows the wearer:
- To become tiny
- And therefore able to infiltrate places held by the enemy undetected
- To still pack a human sized punch despite being small
- To become big and small at will, thus further ability to fake out the enemy
- To control a legion of ant lackeys willing to do your bidding
Years ago, Pym put the kibosh on his creation, refusing to share it with the government out of fear it could fall into the wrong hands and be used for nefarious purposes.
Flash forward to today, where Pym’s protege, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll of House of Cards fame) has managed to recreate Pym’s research to create “Yellowjacket,” a suit that allows the wearer to become small, fly around and shoot lasers.
Cross has evil plans for his creation and that’s where ex-con Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) comes in.
Pym’s too old to don the suit himself, refuses to put his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) at risk by allowing her to wear it, and thus Scott is recruited to become…dun dun dun…ANT-MAN!
This is a heist movie, more or less Marvel’s version of Ocean’s 11, as Scott must infiltrate Cross’ security and make off with the Yellowjacket tech before Cross’ evil plans are unleashed on the world.
I love Avengers, but here’s the thing. Iron Man has super intellect. The Hulk has super strength. Thor has muscles out the wazoo. Capt. America is the world’s ultimate soldier.
Try as much as you like, but you’ll never get to be like one of these guys.
That’s why Ant-Man is such a relatable character. When Scott dons the Ant-Man suit, he doesn’t react with great poise and precision. He gets slapped all over creation, avoiding people trying to step on him and a hungry rat who thinks he looks delicious.
He needs Pym to train him and he needs a lot of work as he makes a lot of mistakes along the way (as most average people would when gaining a special ability for the first time).
There’s cross-over into the Avengers world, though I won’t spoil it with details. Fans won’t be disappointed.
Paul Rudd, known for his comedic roles, was the perfect choice for the part. Meanwhile, it was great to see Michael Douglass, whose suffered health problems in recent years, back on the big screen in a major role. Thanks to some fancy effects, there is a flashback part where he’s youth-i-fied to the point where he looks like he could fight Glenn Close for boiling his bunny (aw come on, you’ve had plenty of time to watch Fatal Attraction.)
It’s been awhile since Hollywood’s attempted a good big person becomes small movie. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, is the last one I can remember.
The key to this movie is it takes itself seriously when necessary, but there’s also balance where the goofy premise is poked fun at. Epic fight scenes are shown on a small scale, where Ant-Man squares off against Yellowjacket in a daring, death defying struggle, but then panned out on a regular human sized scale their fight on a child’s train set looks like a few toys being tossed about.
Scott’s ex-con buddies who back him up also provide much comic relief.
Hollywood’s been at this one for awhile. Ant-Man was in play for at least a decade before reaching the big screen. The public had to develop a thirst for super heroes and a great team had to be put together, one that was self-aware that the concept is goofy and could portray that one the screen while also providing the high stakes, do or die situations that comic book fans love.