Ants! Wasps! Tiny tomfoolery!
BQB here with a review of Marvel’s latest joint.
The good news is that this flick is a special effects extravaganza, a veritable CGI fest for the senses.
The bad news is that only works if you like that sort of thing. Otherwise, it’s a giant, expensive, computer-generated cartoon with people spliced into it. Roger Rabbit on acid, if you prefer.
The plot? The titular Ant-Man aka Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is finally in a good place in life. His ex-con days are behind him. He’s gotten over trauma incurred from past adventures. He’s living his best life with his family, including daughter Cassie (now a teenager) (Kathryn Newton), girlfriend Hope aka the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), and in-laws Hank (Michael Douglas) and Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer).
Alas, things go awry when budding young scientist Cassie accidentally opens a door to the uber mysterious and creepy Quantum Realm, a world so tiny that it exists right under our proverbial noses but it is so inexplicably tiny that we can’t see it. Can you imagine that? Sub-atomic beings living in a society so small that it is invisible to the naked eye. And yes, opening doors to alternate realms is something that teenage scientists can totally do in the Marvel-verse, so shut up.
Ah, but the Lang/Pym/VanDyne family have mastered the art of shrinking and enlarging themselves, thus simply by shrinking they are able to navigate this treacherous world.
It’s all a matter of perspective. :::pa rum pum pum:::
Upon arrival to the Quantum Realm, the LPVs (boy what a modern blended family with so many different surnames), are tasked with the missions of finding each other, finding a way out and most importantly, defeating Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), a villain who has, as his name suggests, conquered the Quantum Realm, ruling over its inhabitants with an iron fist and bending their will to his dictatorial reign. Oppressed inhabitants are a hodgepodge of humans and wacky creatures. If Kang escapes, he will wreak havoc across the multiverse.
Some random thoughts:
#1 – We first saw Kang the Conqueror in Disney’s Loki and TBH, I felt that series was so confusing that its good parts were lost on me. Here, things start to make sense. Majors nails the role and is shaping up to be the most formidable villain since Thanos.
#2 – The MODOK (Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing) character is stupid and an example of something that might work in a comic book but just looks very dumb on the big screen. To the film’s credit, the characters opine on how dumb it is early and often. I wonder if it wouldn’t have been better to have just left it out, though that might have enraged true comic book nerds.
#3 – Fun as the CGI adventure is, one of the coolest parts of the Ant-Man series is Ant-Man and company using their shrinking/growing tech to make random objects big or small. In past films, they have carried around a shrunken building on wheels with a suit-case like handle, kept a tank on a keychain just in case they need to make it big and use it against baddies and who could forget the scene where a Hello Kitty Pez dispenser is lobbed at villains during a car chase and grown to a crushing size?
To be fair, there is a lot of growing and shrinking and you need to take a minute to wrap your head around it. The fam were human sized in human world. They shrunk to visit tiny world. In tiny world, everything and everyone is tiny such that everything (because of perspective) seems normal sized. Ergo Ant-Man can shrink or grow and it still looks like he is getting smaller or enormous (even though enormous Ant Man in tiny world would be tiny subatomic not even as big as bacteria to us.)
#4 – It was nice to see everyone come together as a family in this film. We have seen the various characters work together but they really are a fun, fighting family unit in this film.
#5 – I might be the millionth person to offer an opinion on this but I’m not a fan of Evangeline Lilly’s haircut. Actually, I take that back. In one of the Ant-Man promos she was rocking a weird, short yet curly, almost hobbit-like do that should have gotten her hairdresser fired for malpractice, even if Lilly asked for it. There are just some cuts that should be straight up verboten. Here in the movie the short look is fine and I get it. She’s a scientist and a superhero and doesn’t have time to style and blow-dry a long do.
#6 – Has Michelle Pfeiffer made a deal with the devil to look more or less like she looked when she was early 90s Catwoman? Some aging actresses try to fight Father Time with plastic surgery but I don’t see any traces of that here. I don’t know if it’s good genes, a healthy lifestyle or what have you but dayum girl.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. It’s funny how sometimes the most unlikely and humorous characters can carry a series during its downtimes. With Marvel, we come for Captain America and Iron Man and the main Avengers but sometimes the lesser knowns like Ant-Man can be developed into a franchise of their own. I mean, Ant-Man did come up with the solution to save the day in the last Avengers film, after all. Similarly, many of the DC films have been crap, yet Shazam! always seems to leave audiences happy.