This movie is old news to much of the moviegoing public, but I just saw it on a whim Sunday night. I have resisted going because the experience has been so poor the past few times that I went to the show that I am pretty much done with it. I had some MyCokeRewards points burning a hole in my pocket so I cashed them in for a movie pass, so I saw this for free. I figured that a 9:25 PM Sunday showing would be devoid of idiots, but I figured wrong. I sat in the third row in order to avoid potential backlit screen aggravation since people are addicted to their phones and can't bear to pay attention to a movie for two hours. Of course a family comes in complete with toddlers and a newborn, because what better place is there to take your young family at that time of night but a movie? The Mom of course decided that the best place to bring the baby when it was crying WAS AT THE END OF MY ROW, away from the other people in the theater. Then she pulled out her phone to amuse her noisy baby. Fuck that shit, I got up and moved to the second row. She got the hint and left the auditorium with the infant. Probably complained about the rude guy who wouldn't tolerate her crying baby to her idiot Facebook friends. My god this century sucks. Now on with the show...
Ant-Man (Marvel Studios, 2015)
I was dissatisfied with Guardians Of The Galaxy, which I considered a misfire for the Marvel movie Universe and feared that this would also be a fumble. I am pleased to say that this was not a fumble at all but a home run. Sorry if I got the analogy wrong but I don't know much about basketball or other sports.
I have long since given up hope that these films would be literal translations of their four color counterparts and am happy if they can just capture the spirit of the comics, which this movie does. The continuity changes are too numerous to list, so I will just go with what this movie gets right as a movie. Ant-Man II (Scott Lang) is the star of this movie, with the original Ant-Man (Hank Pym) played by Michael Douglas, who is likable as always. (Falling Down and The Game remain among the best movies of the '90s, by the way.) Scott Lang is recently released from prison and can't get a job. Even product placement Baskin Robbins fires him.
He is living in a dump with his ex-cellmate and his two friends who keep trying to lure him back into a life of crime. Desperate to make money so that he can see his daughter again he agrees to break into a house with a safe...only it is the house owned by Hank Pym and the only thing in this double safe is a suit and canisters of fluid. He takes the suit and ends up trying it on and ends up shrinking himself down to ant size. Pym was aware of this all along. Indeed, he engineered the entire thing to lure Lang to do his dirty work and take out his former protege, Darren Cross, who has been trying to replicate the Pym Particle which Pym has denied the existence of for decades. Cross has achieved success (of sorts) and is going ahead with his Yellowjacket program. In the comics, Yellowjacket was actually Hank Pym's third incarnation, a mentally unhinged alter ego that eventually brought about his breakdown. This is far too much story for a two hour film to go into, so for the sake of expediency it is easier to pit him against Pym and Lang as an adversary and be done with it. Plus no one wants to see wifebeater Hank Pym on the silver screen, do they?
The best parts of this movie are of course the adventures at ant size, especially where he is learning to use his powers. The battle with The Falcon was cool and helps tie this film in with the main Marvel movie Universe. There are plenty of Easter eggs peppered throughout the film. I won't bother listing them because pretty much everyone else has seen this movie and there are numerous sites which have covered them. I have avoided all reviews and spoilers, which is easy for me to do since my embargo against comic media sites continues. I also enjoyed the Thomas The Tank Engine battle scene. It wasn't so long ago that my son was into Thomas, and I have fond memories of him and that train table clogging up my living room and hearing him play with them.
So despite the fact that a few things come off as unbelievable (i.e. the stepfather of Lang's daughter), this is by and large a highly enjoyable superhero flick. If not for the swearing this would have appropriate for all ages and could have been a fantastic gateway for young kids to get into superhero films. Marvel Studios seems to believe that superheroes swearing makes them cool, which is the reason why I no longer buy modern Marvel Comics. My son is 8 and begs me to see these films, but I refuse to allow it since they insist on using profanity*. That aside, this was a fine film and both post-credit scenes make me look forward to future Marvel films.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.5 out of 5.
*I used to follow the comic sites and post on them. I complained about the profanity in these films and one of the basement dwelling fanboys (term used in the original pejorative) insisted that I need to just let my kids experience profanity since it is part of the real world. I asked him if I should allow my children to experience pornography or drugs, since those are also a part of “the real world”. Idiot.