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    Ant-Man (2015): Movie Review

    “A buoyant and sweet superhero film." 

    As the saying goes, “big things come in small packages.” In Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man, we will meet the world’s tiniest superhero who is up to stop a global threat. Unlike other superhero films in the Marvel Comics Universe, Ant-Man is less grandiose but more fun and hearty. 

    The film begins in 1989. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) holds a technology that can make the space between atoms smaller, allowing any object to shrink in size. With his “Pym particle,” he created the Ant-Man suit, an all-powerful warfare jacket. After learning that S.H.I.E.L.D. is planning to replicate his shrinking technology, Pym immediately resigns from the agency despite facing frenemies like Tony Stark’s father Howard, middle-age Peggy Carter and contemptuous newbie Mitchell Carson (Martin Donovan). 

    Presently, Hank’s technology remains a secret. However, his old protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) manages to copy the technology and weaponized it into “Yellowjacket” suit. Hank and his perspicacious daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly), who is currently under Cross’ employment, rush in to stop the growing threat. Hank sees no other man to do the job than Scott Lang (Paul Rudd).

    After being imprisoned for hacking the account of a Wall Street shark and redistributing his wealth, Lang finally sees the light beyond the prison cell. He has a daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson) and a wife (Judy Greer) who are now living with a local cop (Bobby Cannavale). In order to restore his relationship with his daughter, Lang seeks ways to redeem himself. And when he attempts a burglary at Pym’s house, a dubious opportunity presents itself.

    Despite Hope’s initial disagreement, Lang trains to master the Ant-Man technology. Enlisting the help of his unruly buddies (Michael Peῆa, T.I. and David Dastmalchian), Lang hustles to stop Cross from making a multi-billion deal with his “Yellowjacket” suit buyer HYDRA, represented by the ruthless Mitchell Carson.

    Like any origin superhero films, Ant-Man follows the same standards – someone with personal issues, he stumbling into something that will give him superpowers, some training montage and then the ultimate fight against evil where our hero emerges victorious. Not only did such conventions work but Ant-Man also offered something new on the table with its crazy plot dynamics. Who would have thought an ant could be an inspiration for a superhero? And yet, the film proves this formula could be formidable. By interacting with various kinds of ants, our miniature superhero saves the world from a possible devastation.

    The film has plenty of intense and crazy visual effects and actions. Lang’s first Ant-Man attempt involving a ruckus in the bathtub, dance floor and thick carpet, as well as his training gallery (martial art session with Hope, leaping through a keyhole, and instructing ants to put sugar on the coffee) are some of these vivid moments. There are also several character references in the film, particularly those pertaining to the Avengers. In fact, the ant has a thrilling mano-a-mano sequence with the falcon.

    What also distinguishes Ant-Man from other Marvel films is its easy, light, and delightful atmosphere. It is certainly one of the most engaging and fun movies in the shared universe. It has contagious humor and jokes, mainly the Avengers joke, the movie Titanic joke and even the middle-of-the-fight iPhone joke, are truly spot-on.

    A minor flaw of the film could be its shallow characterization of both Lang and Cross. Lang is too single-layered. Not much is known about him except his goofiness and love for his daughter. Worse for Cross as their no clear back story for him. Yet, such failing is too minute and almost unnoticeable. 

    Ant-Man provides a refreshing break from the recently overkill Avengers: Age of Ultron. It is pure, it is sweet, it is buoyant, it is child-friendly. It is not as flamboyant and loud as the other Marvel superhero films. The stakes remain high but the conflicts are more personal and localized. However, with its lightness and non-indulgence, the film feels like a filler movie, especially with its Captain America: Civil War post-credit bonus.


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