Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios/Motion Pictures

Dueling Critics: Ant-Man

14:30 July 17, 2015
By: David Vicari, Fritz Esker

Safe-cracking ex-con Scott Lang is recruited by Dr. Hank Pyn (Michael Douglas) to pull of a major heist that can save the world. At Lang's disposal is a super-suit created by Pyn, which allows the person wearing it to shrink in scale and increase in strength.


Fritz: The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand with Ant-Man. You mentioned you thought this was better than The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Why is that? 


David: Age of Ultron is bloated with too many characters and not enough time to develop them. So, the big and numbing digital effects finale, which is essentially a rehash of the battle at the end of the first Avengers movie, felt meaningless. While Ant-Man is a very conventional origin tale, it does a clear and concise job of creating characters and character relationships, thus making you feel that there is much at stake in the good vs. evil action finale.
That said, it did take me a while to warm up to Ant-Man. It started off bland but okay, then the middle sinks a little, but eventually it kicks into high gear. Do you agree? 


Fritz: Yes, it's a little too by-the-numbers in its first hour. We've seen so many superhero origin films, it almost feels like there's a template that half of the audience members could use to create a serviceable superhero screenplay. But around the midway mark, there's a fight scene between Ant-Man and an Avenger (I won't spoil who) and it felt at that point like the movie woke up. There's a lot more creativity and energy in that final hour.

David: And I liked the central performances in Ant-Man. Paul Rudd is good as the reluctant hero as is Michael Douglas as the heart-broken scientist fighting for good. Evangeline Lilly, as the scientist's daughter, is given a little more to do than just look pretty, and Corey Stoll makes a slimy villain you love to hate.
What did you think about the performances?


Fritz: The performances, much like the film itself, are solid. Rudd's playing a variation on his persona, but it's a charming one. Lilly, Douglas, and Stoll all do a fine job with their roles.

One thing I appreciated about the film was its lightness. So many of the comic book movies today are so dour (granted, I like some of them, especially Nolan's Batman films) or so intense, it almost seems like some of them are freezing out children. Ant-Man is rated PG-13, but I think it's a very soft PG-13 (I can't believe it actually shares a rating with the infinitely scarier, more gruesome and disturbing The Dark Knight). I'd have no reservations telling my brother to take his kids to this.

Shaun of the Dead's Edgar Wright was originally attached as director (he's still credited as a co-writer of the script). Do you wonder what might have been? I think the film's first hour could have used a little more craziness and Wright might've provided that.


David: Yeah, I can't figure out why this wasn't just rated PG. It is perfectly fine for kids.
Sure, we will all wonder what might have been with Edgar Wright at the helm. Who knows if it would have been a better movie?
Like Iron-Man, Ant-Man gets his powers from a suit. He is able to shrink down to ant size and is also able to communicate and control the insects. In movies like The Incredible Shrinking Man and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids we see characters shrunken to ant size and dealing with normally small objects that, from their prospective, are now massive and dangerous. The sequence in Ant-Man with the toy train is very funny and imaginative as our tiny hero battles the villain in the miniature world on a raging locomotive. Periodically, the movie cuts to the normal world to show us this harmless and insignificant Thomas the Train toy.  And I enjoyed the details in the miniature world, like seeing carpet fibers, and soap scum in a bathtub. How about you?


Fritz: Yeah, it's very detailed and I wish they would've found a way to incorporate it a little more into the first half. But overall, this is still an enjoyable summer flick. 


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