Movie Review: Ant-Man (2015)

NA Release: 17 July 2015 Japan Release: 18 September 2015
NA Release: 17 July 2015
Japan Release: 18 September 2015

I didn’t really know what to expect going into Ant-Man. The trailers seemed fun and interesting; enough to convince me to go see it opening weekend in Japan. I had never read the comic and, apart from knowing he changes size, I didn’t know a thing about the comic. The trailers seemed to present the story as a silly action film that was extremely self-aware and unafraid to poke fun of itself. Watching the trailer, I was worried that it might be too light hearted and too self deprecating, but reviews from America came out long before the Japanese release and they all sounded positive. This weekend, after months of waiting for the Japanese release of the film, I saw Ant-Man.

First things to note, was an initial worry of Paul Rudd as an action star. The trailer portrayed a lot of humor, and casting a comedic actor seemed somewhat understandable, but I worried about his ability to be serious enough or believable enough for the action scenes. I shouldn’t have worried at all. Never once did I scoff at Paul Rudd as the Ant-Man, there was enough silliness with a tiny super hero beating up bad guys that Paul Rudd didn’t bother me at all. He can be quite charming and makes the character far more likable, overall I think he seemed perfect for the role. Someone who has read the comics might disagree, but for this script and story he seemed great. Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michael Peña, and Corey Stoll all seemed to fit their characters well. I have no complaints for the casting department.

The plot was quite simple, but setting it up like a heist was a good way to differentiate it from other superhero origin films. In a market that seems so saturated with decent and usually interweaving superhero films, it is important to establish the film as a stand-alone entity. There were several Avengers references, but the obscurity of character and uniqueness of styling helped to keep this film grounded as its own film and not just a prologue to the next Avengers film. Films like Thor, or Iron Man, or Captain America, while good, often feel like they are merely set up tools for the greater Marvel Universe and I’m beginning to tire of this ploy. Ant-Man was breath of fresh air, and it has made me excited for the future of Marvel films again. Don’t get me wrong, all the Marvel Films I have watched have been great fun, but their shared nature I find a bit tedious. I can never just watch one Marvel film, they are in reality sequels to each other that require one another for complete understanding (probably a good marketing idea by Disney/Marvel). Apart from one scene in Ant-Man there was very little previous Marvel watching required. My only real gripe with film was a romance plot that was tacked on like this last point. The romantic story line was pretty much nonexistent until it randomly appeared and disappeared at one point. It didn’t seem to have any relevance to the story and really could have been saved until Ant-Man 2.

Overall I find that I really enjoyed Ant-Man. It is a great flick that brilliantly combines action and humor. I might argue that it is the best of the Marvel films except for maybe Guardians of the Galaxy. If you haven’t seen it, I think you should. Time will tell how it holds up in my opinion, but I suspect that it is one superhero film that I will happily watch again and again. I give it a strong 4 out of 5 Stars.

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