Saturday, July 18, 2015

5 x 5 Movie Review: Ant-Man

1. So, I gotta say: I thought this was going to be the one where Marvel tripped, but it's not. My movie-going buddy said he liked it better than the latest Avengers movie, and truth to tell, I probably did too, and I didn't expect to like it very much at all. I liked that it was a smaller movie (no pun intended) in the sense that the scope of the conflict was much more contained and focused. It's not a great film, but Rudd is engaging and funny, the effects are fun, and like all Marvel movies it gets the job done.

2. One strong criticism: the mentor/protege - Ant-Man/Yellowjacket dynamic was a little too similar to the protege/mentor - Iron Man/Iron Monger relationship from the first Iron Man movie. Has Marvel made so many movies we're recycling plots already?

3. The shared-universe integration of these movies is really picking up steam. The common knowledge of the Avengers as a force in the world, the "guest appearance" by Falcon, the flashbacks to the early days of SHIELD - all this stuff reinforces the sense of connection. I appreciate that as part of this shared universe, the intelligence community has always been shown as a mixed blessing. From its beginnings as the Strategic Science Reserve, SHIELD is shown to be as much a danger as it is a force for good. This approach has added a layer of complexity to a lot of formulaic stories.

4. Science: the movie hand-waves in much the same way as the comics did why an atomic physicist would also be an expert in telepathic communication with insects. Fake science: I do quibble with Ant-Man being able to shrink to atomic levels; that shtick was always The Atom's territory.

5. As much as I liked Rudd's Scott Lang Ant-Man, I would really liked to have seen the Hank Pym/Janet Van Dyne Ant-Man/Wasp team in action. Marvel could have made it a period piece set in the early sixties and had Wasp is a different outfit (civilian or heroic) in every scene : Mad Men meets superheroes.

Bonus: Go read Will Shetterly's takes on the movie: the spoiler-free one and the spoilery one.

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