Ant-Man (released 2015)

The beginning was very promising. I like the character of Scott Lang, but he lacks personality enough to be a convincing antihero. This is mainly because he’s being smothered by the particularly heavy-handed good vs. evil theme the movie is pushing on us. Darren may as well be wearing a BIG BADDIE sticker on his forehead. From the moment he liquidizes that lamb and is established as “pure evil”, we hate him immediately and unconditionally for the entire movie. I like my villains served with a bit more nuance, please and thank you.

Scott seems to be a kind of Deadpool or Star Lord type; I would have liked to see him played by Chris Pratt, to be completely honest, or at least someone who can pull off a proper comedic antihero. Maybe it’s that I don’t know Paul Rudd or Ant-Man himself (never read the comics) well enough to make an informed opinion, but to me, most of the characters in this movie seemed at least a touch overacted.

And speaking of overacted, let’s talk about Hope. Hope is a very awkwardly designed character; neither her name nor her haircut seems to really suit her; a stupid thing for me to gripe about, maybe, but it’s late and sometimes it’s the tiny details that rub me the wrong way. Not to ignore the bigger problems though; Hope annoyed me. I love confident, assertive female characters with all of my heart, but Hope was played in a particularly irritating, over-the-top way, and what’s more, she seemed to be able to turn off her bold personality like a light switch. It was hard to accept that, in her more sensitive and revealing moments, she was even the same person. She would have been fifty times more tolerable if they hadn’t kept altering her personality to make her fit as Scott’s love interest. It’s pretty much a round peg in a square hole here. (On an unrelated note, Hope’s mother seemed awesome and I wish we’d gotten to see more of her.)

Another problem was that a lot of the comedic lines were either awkwardly written or unconvincingly delivered. That being said, there were also some really funny parts. My favorite scene came when the group of thieves casually discussed the Titanic movie during a break-in. I giggled. The three of them, however problematic, were my favorite characters.

Scott’s daughter Cassie was altogether unconvincing. I’m not even blaming the adorable child actor for it this time; I’m blaming the screenwriters. Her dialogue seemed to be written for a much older kid. Which wouldn’t have made much sense even then, because if Cassie were older, she would have understood why her dad was running from the police, and there’s no way of knowing if she still would have defended him then. Another thing, if I was seven years old and a big scary wasp man broke into my bedroom at night and said “I WANT YOUR DADDY” I would have been absolutely LOSING IT. This child is weirdly cool under pressure.

All of this being said, the concept of the movie is great; Loved how they played off of the “superhuman” strength of ants and gave Scott the ability to lift things much larger than himself in his new, tiny form. The movie didn’t have that “Honey I Shrunk The Kids” vibe I expected; it’s an entirely new deal for a superhero movie, and played out like this, it’s all fabulously entertaining and original. I was unsure about the actual ants at first, but the role they played in the plot was both vastly important and interesting to watch. I didn’t even mind the puns (Anthony is a good ant name!) And I loved the training sequence. While Scott didn’t stand out to me as a compelling personality, it was a lot of fun watching him trying to figure out the suit.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love Falcon and his character design. Also his fight with Scott was altogether SWEET and shot from the coolest angles. Another great battle scene took place in Cassie’s bedroom toward the end; unsurprisingly, this movie has a really unique way of using its surroundings to augment its action sequences. Kudos to the director/choreographer/whoever we have to thank for this coolness.

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Overall, the plot wasn’t exactly gripping, but it had a neat concept and some winning fight scenes that made it ultimately worthwhile. It’s not the best movie Marvel’s ever made, but it was fun to watch for two hours instead of studying for my APUSH exam, and I’m excited to see Paul Rudd reprise his role in Captain America: Civil War.

GRADE: B

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