Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

Ant-Man – 2015


★★★ ½

Release: 2015

Directed By: Peyton Reed

Produced By: Kevin Feige

Written By: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish

Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Michael Douglas

Running Time: 117 Minutes

In a cinematic universe renowned for its ever-growing grandeur, mass and spectacle, the decision from Marvel Studios to go smaller proves that size doesn’t always matter. A product once envisioned and so nearly brought to life by the quirky Edgar Wright, Ant-Man created confusion, tension and ultimate separation between creative forces.
Taken over by ‘Yes Man’s’ Peyton Reed and eventually brought to the big screen, the MCU’s smallest story may very well be up their with the best, particularly due to the studio’s decision to give credit where credit is due; the ability to both Reed and Wright goes a long way…

In light of the immense success of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, 2015’s Ant-Man has arrived to provide some light-hearted, sweet and humorous antics amid the cavalcade of floating cities, glowing MacGuffins and the ominously seated Thanos. A surprisingly crucial element within the bigger superhero universe, Ant-Man, embodied by Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) exhibits a refreshing dose of self-awareness, sarcasm and change; adding another layer to an otherwise one-dimensional, by-the-numbers character.

ant-man_trailer_screengrab_2_h_2015A thief with a particular set of skills, Lang has found himself on the wrong side of the law throughout his life, however unbeknown to him, somebody has been watching him for a very long time.

Hank Pym (Michael Douglas); the creator of the original Ant-Man suit and Pym Technologies has gained inside knowledge of his individual research breakthrough being replicated by one of his own associates. Darren Cross (Corey Stoll; who incidentally looks far more fitting to play Lex Luthor) plans to capture and harness the power of the minuscule technology and militarise it in extremely cliché fashion.
Having no choice but to find a replacement to infiltrate Cross’ plans from within, Pam employs Lang to become the next Ant-Man and save the world before it is too late.
What is different and refreshing about Ant-Man’s “foreboding sense of global destruction” is that the global destruction in question only ever amounts to affecting a small community of people, a block of houses at most.

Whether it be fighting from within the confines of briefcase, a model train set or even a full-scale helicopter, the concept of size is played upon exceptionally well. Not only is the sense of grand scale achieved from the minute aspects of the action sequences, the films plot is cleverly constructed to give the larger-than-life atmosphere to the very small.

the-first-ant-man-trailer-is-hereAnt-Man is the funniest film to emerge from the MCU since Guardians of the Galaxy, however that was always to be expected. Marvel have reached the point where anything and everything they touch turns to Box Office gold, but it’s brilliant to see them continuing to treat audiences to intelligent, thought-out storylines with numerous redeemable qualities amid the slew of otherwise cliché, predictable plot lines.

Rudd impresses as the small-time hero. Self-aware, snarky, sarcastic and emotional when required, he fits the mould very well, however his comedic timing seemed a little off at various points throughout the film. This isn’t indicative of his comedic chops, but simply the sporadic scene or two that appears to have been awkwardly written, resulting in a miniature misfire.

As for Darren Cross, although he is as stereotypical as a greedy, focused Marvel villain can be, he was arguably the best one to emerge since Loki back in 2011 and the onward appearances since. Believable, deep and human, Cross possessed qualities that many other Marvel villains lacked completely and it was very pleasing to see.

maxresdefaultWhere the characters lack significantly is in the supporting roles, particularly Lang’s three friends. Played by Michael Peña, T.I and David Dastmalchian, three of the laziest cultural stereotypes are brought to life for yet another painful time.
The need to include an African American, an Hispanic and a Russian as the three goofy sidekicks to the American Caucasian seems very unnecessary and idiotic, especially in this day and age.  

Where Ant-Man shines is within its use of macro photography. Achieving the aforementioned sense of scale from the viewpoint of an insect, the macro photography is utilised expertly to emphasise scale in a smart, but highly humorous fashion.
Not only do certain objects shrink, the film is able to play around with the other side of the coin, a quality that pays off time after time.

With multiple tie-ins to the MCU at large, Ant-Man is one of the best pictures to come along in a while. Low key, modest, self-aware but surprisingly pivotal in relation to the bigger picture, Peyton Reed’s latest outing is one that is worth your while.

Lastly, be sure to stick around for double serving in the form of a mid AND post-credits sting.


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