The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Ant-Man (3-D) | Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Anthony Mackie, Michael Peña, T.I. | Review

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3sm The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is MEDIOCRE Judy Thorburn

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3lg The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is MEDIOCRE

 

Ant-Man

Movie audiences have experienced stories where people are shrunk to itty bitty size. The Incredible Shrinking Man, Fantastic Voyage, Honey I Shrunk the Kids are but a few films that come to mind. Now you can add to the list, Ant-Man (who first appeared as a comic book hero in 1962) as the latest superhero to join Marvel Studios' The Avengers blockbuster franchise series.

The likable actor Paul Rudd, best known for comedies such as Anchorman and This Is 40, may seem miscast and out of his league to play a superhero, but after working out and getting his body in shape, he comes to the plate, ready and able to take on the title role, which allows him to display his typical low key charm and keen sense of humor.

Rudd stars as Scott Lang, a master thief (he prefers cat burglar) newly released from San Quentin prison who just wants to go straight and get a decent job so he can pay child support and reconnect with his young daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson) who lives with Scott's ex-wife, Maggie (Judy Greer, like in Jurassic World, is wasted) and her cop fiance, Paxton (Bobby Canavale).

But, after his best friend and former prison mate, the goofy, but lovable, motor mouth Luis (a hilarious, scene stealing Michael Pena, who proves he has amazing range going from drama to comedy with ease) convinces him to participate in a heist inside a mansion, Scott finds himself at the beck and call of Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), a brilliant scientist who had set the bait in order to enlist Scott's help in saving the world from a dangerous threat.

Decades earlier, Dr. Pym had invented a secret formula and special Ant-Man suit that enables the wearer to shrink in size, but increase in strength, thereby creating a soldier the size of an insect that would be the ultimate weapon and a danger to world security.

The villain comes in the form of Darren Cross, aka Yellow Jacket (Corey Stoll), Pym's former protege who got Pym kicked out of his own corporation and wants to use the technology for his own nefarious intents and purposes.

With Pym promising to help him redeem himself and see his daughter, Scott agrees to don the Ant-Man suit and take on the mission to stop Cross, but not before training in martial arts with Pym's smart and savvy daughter Hope (Evangaline Lily), who is working for Cross, but secretly in cahoots with her father, with whom she has some issues.

Assisting Scott in the micro world during his mission to break into Cross' lab are an army of carpenter ants, fire ants, and bullet ants, each equipped with their own set of special skills.  The way it works is that Scott is able to command them though the use of electromagnetic waves that control their nerve centers.  Oookaaay! Whatever.

Taking over the director's chair after Edgar Wright ( “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz”) left the project over “creative differences”, Peyton Reed (The Breakup) does a competent job, nothing more.
That's too bad, because Reed doesn't add anything particularly new or refreshing to the story that features several overused, familiar elements including a villain with a plan that threatens the world, father daughter issues, a search for redemption, and so on.  Hoping for some spectacular CGI effects, instead I was underwhelmed by visuals that looks too cartoonish to be believable.

That isn't to say Ant-Man isn't entertaining.  There are several, clever references to other characters in the Marvel universe, Ant Man's fun encounter/battle with the Falcon (Anthony Mackie), and the final showdown, aka fight to the finish, between Ant-Man and the nefarious Yellow Jacket, as they battle it out on Thomas the Tank Engine in Scott's daughter's bedroom.

No doubt Ant-Man will be a hit with Marvel fans. However, as the 12th entry into the Marvel cinematic universe, this superhero action adventure didn't quite meet my expectations.  It truly bugs me to say that.

*Stay after the closing credits to see two teasers.  One lays the foundation for a sequel featuring The Wasp.

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