Monday, July 20, 2015

Ant-Man: Big Fun in a Tiny Package

Ant-Man Movie

Nobody was more skeptical about the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe than me. Way back when Iron Man first hit and everyone loved how fun it was and it had that post credit scene, I was the cranky bastard saying "Meh." And it's not like I'm all in or anything, but the big surprise for me in all of this is that Marvel has managed to keep the individual films relatively self contained. It's not really one long narrative that you must watch all of in order to understand, even though that is totally happening also. So the further we've gotten into this, the whole bigger picture is more of a back drop. And, right now Ant-Man is the best example of how that works. It's a fun a movie that happens to take place in this universe using some concepts established in previous films, but you don't need any of that to get this movie.

I could go into a whole geek exploration about the Easter eggs in this movie. Well, I couldn't, but someone who really knows Ant-Man could (and they have). There are a few I caught and most I didn't. They're there (their?) and that's fine, because they don't detract. We still get charmed by Paul Rudd's Scott Lang. We still believe Michael Douglas's Hank Pym is weary and burdened with guilt and that he had many adventures. We still thrill at the action - both life size and sometimes comically miniature. And that comedy is what really sets this apart from not just the other Marvel films, but from other superhero films in general. This is quite possibly the most fun superhero movie I can remember seeing. Even more so than Guardians of the Galaxy, but that's really a Sci Fi movie anyway. But here, the balance is just right. It gets completely silly at times, but somehow it's in a good way because it just makes the whole thing that much more relatable.

Thomas The Tank
I've had this nightmare.
Here we have a guy that's a true underdog, chosen to save the world while he tries to redeem himself for his daughter. This is not an asshole billionaire in an iron suit who, let's face it, comes across as a douchebag most of the time, making everyone else look stupid. This is not a white bread heart of gold scrawny kid who gets thrust into being a hero because he's determined to be one and ends up setting an ideal that is impossible for anyone to achieve. This is a flawed human being, who's been on the wrong side of the law, doesn't know what he's doing and is funny in a self deprecating way. He's smart, but he's no genius. He just wants to be able to spend time with his daughter and be respected by his ex and her fiance. In short, this is a guy I can really root for in a way I can't for Tony Stark or even Steve Rogers. 

scott, hank and hope
Oceans 3
And the ride we take with him, although it could be argued is just basic formula, is one I'd gladly take again. Or some other version of it with more characters like this in this universe. If this Marvel thing is going to continue, this variety of tone they've been unafraid of needs to continue and expand. They are clearly not afraid of going gritty, as the Daredevil series demonstrates. They have what is basically a 70's style political spy thriller on their resume with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The Avengers films are giant blockbuster action extravaganzas. And, as I mentioned before, they have a straight up Sci Fi space opera. Ant-Man fits into this as a sort of light heist comedy that feels like the perfect refreshment in a world where the other studio is about to give us what looks like Batman and Superman frowning at each other for 3 hours while every other superhero in that universe stands in the background, grinding their teeth and posing. 

So, yeah, I really liked this movie a lot. It's hard to say which is my favorite Marvel movie so far, because at the end of the day, no matter how good they are, I am still a little worn out with the whole superhero thing. But if you asked me right now, just a few hours after having seen it, I might say it's Ant-Man. It just feels different enough from the rest of it to stand out. In a good way. 

No comments:

Post a Comment