ANT-MAN Review

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Da'Mon Guy checks out the smallest Marvel blockbuster...


Over the last 15 years films based on comic books have come to the forefront of movie making. In less than half of that time span, Marvel comics/Marvel Studios has become the dominant force in this rapidly emerging genre. Dating back to 2008 with the release of Iron Man, Marvel has become the innovators in translating the characters from the pages of their books into life-like personas. The success has been such that Marvel Studios has nearly no rival in the movie industry when it comes to converting the comics characters to the big screen, and has churned out a number of hits that have helped to redefine the public’s perception about comic book movies.

Marvel Comics has been finding success after success with establishing its cinematic universe. With the surprising success of the last year’s Guardian of the Galaxy, the blockbuster company can seem to do no wrong. This year they attempt to continue their onslaught on film making with their second film of the year, Ant-Man. It's another new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and is one of the companies lesser known characters.

Ant-Man is one of the more unusual stories to come from the studio. Unlike many of the films that have popularized the genre, Ant-Man takes bold step in the opposite direction. It’s more comedic based and embraces its nonsensical aspects as opposed to many of the other films that have sought to downplay this aspect for a more realistic approach. In fact Ant-Man is probably the closest thing to a comedy for a superhero film of this magnitude, and the first attempt at it from Marvel.

Ant-Man has good pacing and isn’t huge on action, instead it relies more on situational comedy and cast chemistry to engross the audience. Because of the nature of this story and this character, this approach really works well. While most casual fans may not know about Ant-Man, he is actually one of the longer tenured characters in Marvel comics dating back to the 1960s with his debut in Tales to Astonish #27. The character has gone through a number of changes over the years, with the version for the film based on the latest incarnation.

The best aspect of Marvel studios is that they have incredible casting, and this film is no different. Paul Rudd handles the title character well and his talent for subtle comedy really comes to the forefront in this film. Just like the other Marvel characters pre-Avengers film, he takes full advantage of the role and gives us a flawed character who is both relatable and someone to cheer for by credits end.

From Rudd down to his trio of “sidekicks” the film really clicks and makes for good humor throughout. Michael Douglass and Evangeline Lily both have solid performances in the supporting roles, and Michael Pena has a scene stealing performances in the classic comic relief role that really drives the comedy of the film as well as increasing the level of enjoyment of it.

The main flaw in Ant-Man is the same as most of Marvel’s films in that the primary antagonist is not on the level of the hero. Much like the Iron Man and Thor films, Corey Stoll does not measure up to Rudd’s performance and is vastly overshadowed by the hero in the film. While Stoll displays the malevolence needed, he clearly doesn’t grab hold of the role in his first outing. Almost similar to Tom Hiddleston who had a number for shortcomings in his initial outing as Loki.

Once again it seems that Marvel can do no wrong as they continue to churn out hits. For what has become commonplace in the summer movie season, it finds another unlikely success in Ant-Man. However, this film has a far younger target audience than any of the preceding superhero movies, and for a summer superhero movie it leaves you a bit unsatisfied. It’s clearly better than some of the other superhero films from Marvel but not on the level of their blockbusters. The comedy is a good touch and really helps with the enjoyment of it. Don't enter the film expecting a blockbuster like Winter Soldier, rather expect a good middle of the pack Marvel film. In my opinion, I think they are forcing too many characters into solo films and I honestly don’t believe that every superhero needs a standalone film. All in all, Ant-Man is a good fun film that you can sit back and enjoy.

Da’Mon Guy is a writer and artist, a graduate of Coppin State University and an avid, life-long lover of film. Da'Mon has been actively writing movie reviews since 2011. Check out more of his work at Examiner.com, where he has published over 400 reviews. Visit his Blog and follow him on Twitter.  

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