FILM REVIEW – ANT MAN (2015)

Having never read the Ant Man comics, I’ll be reviewing this movie for its quality rather than tearing it apart for continuity and ability to follow the story line, which, I understand, it doesn’t. Since none of the comic book movies have, and have all been changing the characters and the story lines, I’m sure this will come as a surprise to no one.

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We start out in 1989. Dr. Hank Pym (played by a very awesome Michael Douglas) telling Stark, Carter, and Donovan that he’s found their lab where they had been trying to recreate his Pym particle and that he’s resigning. He reiterates that the particle is dangerous and they shouldn’t be looking to exploit his work. The particle takes its toll on the mind of the suit wearer which is why Pym is no longer the Ant Man.

Fast forward twenty years, and Pym discovers that his protégé, Darren Cross (played by a capable Corey Stoll) has come close to recreating his work and has taken over his company with the help of Pym’s own daughter, Hope van Dyne (played by Evangeline Lilly).

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This character doesn’t feature much in the comics, only showing up in about 16 times, but here, she is an important part of the story line. Even though she has helped Cross take over her father’s company, she doesn’t want him to discover and use the Pym particle. Hence, she tells her father that Cross is close. He’s gotten the particle to work on inorganic matter, namely, the Yellow Jacket suit.

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Enter Scott Lang, an ex-con who has just been released from prison (played by Paul Rudd). He’s picked up by his former cell mate, Luis (played by the amusing Michael Pena). Luis wants to have Lang help him on a job, but Lang wants no part of that. Not wanting to go back to prison, he gets a job at Baskin-Robins, but is fired when they find out he lied on his application about having been in prison. Scott is still determined to stay on the straight and narrow, but a confrontation with his ex-wife and her cop fiancé over visitation rights with his daughter have him agreeing to do a job with Luis. After a rather amusing story on pertinent information on the job, Lang goes to work. With the help of Luis, Kurt, a Russian computers expert, and Dave, the get-a-way driver, they break into Pym’s house. There’s a couple of complications with some vault doors, but Lang’s degree in electrical engineering and knowledge of specialty key locks and old vault doors made the job a breeze. Too bad for him, all that’s in the vault is what he thinks is an old motorcycle suit. Of course he takes it, how else are we to have a new Ant Man if he leaves it behind?

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Later, when he’s alone in the apartment he shares with Luis, Kurt, and Dave, he tries the suit on, sees the big red buttons and does what all little kids do, pushes them. Like anyone not used to shrinking to the size of an ant, he freaks out. After a bit of a terrifying adventure in the suit, and a strange conversation with Dr. Pym, who had been watching him the whole time, Lang returns the suit only to get arrested leaving the house.

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Pym still needs him, so obviously, he’s got to get him out. I’m not going to say how, I’ve revealed too much about the first twenty or so minutes of the movie already. Needless to say, the training begins. Not only does he have to learn how to use the suit, but he also has to learn how to command the ants that Pym has raised as his own personal army, as well as help Pym and his daughter find a way to heal old wounds that are keeping them apart. The funny and feel good part of the movie.

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I wasn’t too thrilled with Paul Rudd playing the part of the Ant Man, though, he is a capable actor, he’s a straight man and his interaction with his comedic actor, Pena, was limited. He did do a decent job, though. Evangeline Lilly does an excellent job as Hope, the cold and distant daughter to Douglas’ emotionally closed off Dr. Pym. Douglas really nails the role of Hank Pym, a former Avenger whose mind has been irreparably been altered by the Pym Particle and the loss of his wife, Janet, the Wasp. Corey Stoll did an excellent job plying Darren Cross/Yellow Jacket, a man whose being changed by the Pym particle, though, he’s unaware of it. The fight scenes are pretty epic, the graphics are remarkable and actually hard to spot as being CGI, which I have never seen in a movie.

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Of course, there’s a little something after the first set of credits, but (like pretty much all Marvel movies) you need to wait until all of the credits are done to see another little something. Not saying what or who, though. You’ll have to see it for yourself.

THE BOTTOM LINE:
Overall, Ant Man is a pretty good movie. Seeing it in the theater would be worth the money at least once. Unlike the new Avengers movie and Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s not worth seeing more than once in the theater. — 7.5/10

-H. Collins
Staff Writer: Nerd Nation Magazine

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