Last year people called Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy a gamble. Then again, Iron Man was also given the same label…and then it proceeded to launch a new studio into the stratosphere that is now powering an unstoppable Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). These films prove that solid storytelling and fresh filmmaking will always win at the end of the day. Before the release of Ant-Man, whispers in the geek communities once again were heard of the inevitable demise of the Kevin Feige experiment. Does Scott Lange have what it takes to follow in the footsteps of his popular predecessors? Or is this film an ant that has a quarrel with a boot…and gets ignored entirely? Read on.
The strength of Ant-Man relies on Marvel Studios’ ability to make great casting choices. Paul Rudd in the lead role is consistent with the recruitment of Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Pratt into their roles in the MCU. Rudd’s persona and portrayal of Scott Lang is very different comedically and avoids us having to relive the same humor we’ve already experienced. Lost alumni Evangeline Lilly and big screen legend, Michael Douglas, provide solid supporting performances to complement Rudd. Their father-daughter dynamic is surprisingly full of emotion where the two actors can straddle the comedic and serious tones of the film very effectively. The additional casting of the talented Michael Peña is the X-factor. His portrayal of Luis is one of the film’s best surprises. Future films will have to feature Ant-Man’s cholo sidekick moving forward as a new fan favorite has emerged. Throw in pop culture icon Tip “T.I.” Harris, the familiar face of David Dastmalchian, Emmy award-winning Bobby Cannavale, and seasoned veteran Judy Greer and this cast is comparable to any other MCU film in collective talent.
In terms of presentation and action sequences, Ant-Man raises the bar on special effects. The visuals of being a shrunken down super hero are as irresistible as seeing them in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids…except on a whole new level of fidelity. Everything is carefully planned and executed to near perfection. There’s a bit of a retro theme similar to Pixar’s The Incredibles since the film does cover events in the late 1980’s. You get that old school Saturday morning cartoon feel mixed in with an A-Team vibe of a heist film. Yes, there’s a van.
Former Buffy the Vampire Slayer music man Christophe Beck also does a fantastic job of bringing the audio world of Ant-Man to life with solid orchestral scores. In terms of writing, the only blemish on the Ant-Man production was that Edgar Wright departed from the project. Thankfully, much of what he wrote along with Joe Cornish remained in tact with Adam McKay and Paul Rudd finishing up the scribe work. It should be noted that Peyton Reed stepped in and beautifully finished the work set up by Edgar Wright. Ant-Man seamlessly integrates storylines from the overall shared universe. It even gives us a glimpse at what in-fighting is capable if the Avengers should ever disagree with one another going forward.
When the credits rolled at the end of this film, there was clapping, “high five-ing” and smiling because of how much fun this new gem from Marvel Studios was to experience. A new franchise in the MCU is born and has the ability to hold its own against Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, and Donald Blake. Ant-Man is proof that Kevin Feige and company aren’t just releasing new solo projects for the hell of it. Like last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy, the MCU once again puts that Steve Jobs philosophy on display – “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
In closing, the DC Comics Universe (DCCU) just released two trailers for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad during all of the Comic-Con madness. There was a legion of fanboys on the DCCU side beating their chests and already proclaiming victory. Ant-Man should be another reminder that the DCCU better bring their “A+” game…because the Pym Particle-powered hero just earned it.
Final Verdict: A+
Source: Image taken from Marvel’s Website
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