Most Anticipated 2015: Ant-Man

14. Ant-Man (PG-13) - Runtime: 117 minutes
Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll
Director: Peyton Reed
Writers: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd
There's been so much bad press surrounding the making of the movie and even leading up to the movie, that it seems like critics had written off Ant-Man before it even the editing room. But surprise! Marvel's righted the ship so it seems and has critics singing the film's praises. I myself gave into the critical machine, but Ant-Man is a really fun heist movie that just happens to star a Marvel superhero. It's got wit, fun action sequences and Paul Rudd, who works his usual charm on the audience.

First and foremost, this is a pretty straight-up heist movie. From the set up of getting an ex-con to do the job "one last time" to the montage of training for the heist to that actual planning as well. It's all there, but refreshingly seen through the lens of the Marvel Universe, a powerful and somewhat overbearing shadow hanging out in the background of the movie (well, at least for the most part). The best thing about Ant-Man is its unique perspective on filming action scenes where the camera shrinks down with Ant-Man himself and finds a lot of great visuals to make the fighting unique (that suitcase fight!) or just plain funny (Ant-Man getting stuck in the ground).

And Paul Rudd does this with ease, playing the heist master Scott Lang who inherits the Ant-Man suit from the original, Hank Pym. Pym is played by Michael Douglas and he does a great job at portraying a man on his last ropes trying to keep his secrets close to his chest. The rest of the cast is phenomenal as well despite there being some terrible two-dimensional characters (Scott's ex-wife's husband is a kind-of bad guy that has nothing but contempt for Scott and he's a jerk for no real reason). And bonus! Michael Peña steals every scene he's in for the comedic relief that isn't annoying.

There a couple stumbling blocks the movie has and that has to do with the women (or should I say woman) in the movie. Pym's daughter, Hope, gets the shaft when it comes to saving the day. She's basically treated as second fiddle throughout and there's nothing for her to do except worry about things. That said, she gets a consolation prize during the end credits when Pym gives her her own Ant-Man suit. Still, it's not enough to save her character's poorly written role. And the aforementioned two-dimensional characters? The same goes for the villain who doesn't get enough screen time to be menacing enough or to properly see his motivations. He was Pym's genius go-to guy but somehow became evil enough to sell the Ant-Man tech to Hydra of all people! It's a bit too silly.

I can't wait to see how Ant-Man gets pulled into the larger Marvel Avenger's story - his unique personality and powers should make for some interesting cinematography and perspective. He's basically a less narcissistic Tony Stark, so I can see them riffing off each other. Ant-Man isn't the best Marvel film, but it doesn't have to be. It's got a lot of heart and it is extremely fun and funny. One of the better action movies this year!


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