20 Jul 2015

Ant-Man: Film Review - Movies

Dear Marvel: Bravo

I just saw Ant-Man the last movie of your Phase Two project.

by Marvel
I know Phase One was trying to bring heroes and their unique challenges to life. Iron Man and Iron 2 is how technology can change the world while simultaneously changing individuals. The Incredible Hulk tells us that the within every human being is a monster while within every monster is a human being and that struggle is heroic. Thor is a tale of wonder and redemption while discovering what is really important. Captain America: First Avenger is about staying true to yourself when the world and circumstances conspire to change you.

It ended with Avengers. When the many are greater than the individuals and everyone has a place.

Phase Two is littered with themes what a hero is how they grow and deal with their lives. Iron Man 3 is about a man who knows everything and is confident in himself only to fear the world that he's now aware of and the cost of that fear. Thor: The Dark World is a return to what's important at the cost of tradition and change. Captain America: Winter Soldier is about the hero learning how dark the world can get and how hard it is to keep our own light alive to make sure you never lose your way. Guardians of the Galaxy speaks of evolution as a right of passage that makes a person a greater person. Avengers 2: Age of Ultron teaches consequences of successes and of failures.

Ant-Man has themes about old heroes teaching new heroes, between children and parents, and the cost of those relationships when change happens.

Ant-Man was fun it was a great movie...

Scott Lang is man with a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering, who through his own conscience and desire to make things right becomes a non violent thief, a burglar to right said wrongs. It costs him his family, his marriage, his livelihood.

Understanding this is key but it's not fully explored in the film. They don't dwell on how Scott Lang got into jail, instead they make mention of this as they let him out of jail. I feel that focusing on this loss would have changed the tone of the film but also made it more clear why is the way he is.

Hank Pym is a man who was the world's greatest secret hero in the final and most dangerous years of the cold war. His technology is his weapon and his creative use of his technology is how he met each challenge. You hear about Janet his wife - aka the Wasp, but you find out what happened to her at the end of the second act. If you are a fan of classic Captain America comics you'll get the Bucky reference right away. He leaves the newly minted SHIELD, led by Carter (from Agent Carter), and Anthony Stark (senior - Tony's dad) and gives up being the hero he once was.

When Hank's protege, Cross find out about his secret technology that allowed him to be the Ant-Man, Cross hoping to earn the respect of Hank while finally being the success he's desired. A motivation that along with Scott's as mention above is not explored beyond the surface. Once more it would have changed the overall tone of the movie which I think was more important in keeping than a pair of characters motivations.

So Scott Lang is chosen by Hank Pym to stop Cross while his daughter Hope is kept on the sidelines from the only motivation that was explored, a sense of guilt. One child is shaped to fight the other child while the real child is left to watch when she is the most capable of the children - this could have been too serious in tone and changed the idea of the movie very quickly.

Instead we have a great series of comedic events, wrapped around a high tech movies with CG trying to keep the structure of a heist film. Scott Lang is brilliant, witty, funny, and done is such a way you're routing for the thief with a heart of gold. You slowly understand, maybe not agree with, Hank Pym's fears and reasons. You empathise with Hope an orphan in many ways - similar story to Bruce Wayne but who's haunted by an absent father and pushed by unresolved anger.

We have the bumbling but capable crew of rogues to help Scott, lovable ants, bad guys being bad guys, neat uses of the shrinking powers, and some nice mentions to the rest of the world. This movie is creative with the technology in ways that everyone else as eschewed in previous films. The fight sequences were well done and used the Ant-Man powers very well. Wait until you see the big Avengers shout out midway through the film - Awesome.

This film is a SILVER film but it feels like a GOLD film. Ant-Man feels like Iron Man but done differently. I praise the choice to keep the softer tone over a possible darker set of events like Captain America: Winter Solider or Avengers: Age of Ultron, at the cost of character development.

Lets just say I look forward to the next showing of Ant-Man and Wasp. I would have said spoiler alert but if you didn't see that coming you're a fucking fool.

Bravo Mr. Rudd and Ms Lilly, thank you Mr. Douglas... you're film is worth my money and it keeps me hopeful for Marvel movies. It proves that each film is unique and strives to be more than a extension to a experiment of cinematic branding.

Marvel is doing well because they make movies like this.

- Cheers