Special Effect “ant”-tics highlight Marvel’s new “Ant-Man”

AntManThe latest entry to the juggernaut that is the Marvel super-hero franchise will seem very familiar to anyone that has been on this ride since the beginning of their blockbuster trend.

Michael Douglas is Hank Pym, a brilliant scientist who has created the “Pym Particle”. This invention allows him to condense or expand the space between the atoms of matter. Knowing, as all genius inventors do, that this technology is too dangerous in anyone’s hands but his, he keeps his secret formulas from everyone. This includes his former employer SHIELD, his own daughter, and protege turned rival, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll).

When Cross looks to be on the verge of recreating Pym’s work, with designs of weaponizing it, Hank recruits ex-con Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to take on the mantle of the “Ant-Man”.

Queue training montages and budding friendship banter while evil-doer shrinky-dinks anyone and anything in gooey fashion, that stands in his way.

I don’t think it is a stretch to say that Marvel dipped into a box of scripts and pulled out a draft of Iron-Man. Maybe they were hoping that the audiences have forgotten how this all began so far back in 2008.

It is a good story, certainly a tried and tested one and it is still fun, but…yeah… Time will tell if anyone else recognizes it for what it is.

Story aside, it looked good! I saw “Ant-Man in an IMAX 3D theater. The 3D conversion wasn’t obtrusive, but it didn’t exactly help the film either. They looked to be adding some depth to the backgrounds more than giving the foregrounds or the characters any presence. That seems a waste when you have all the microcosm of the insect world to play with. A man was riding a flying ant!! Why was I not ducking? I’m not a huge fan of the gimmicky, “make it fly out of the screen at you”, but honestly, if you aren’t going to do that, then why bother with the conversion at all? The upcoming Fantastic Four film as reportedly been denied the up-conversion and I wonder if it won’t be the better for it.

3D or not, the special effects where what you have come to expect from Marvel at this point. They don’t break any new ground in Ant-Man, and they instead actually give their actors something to do to cover up the lack of FX-innovation. Dialog and entertaining situations surrounding the effects where a welcome change from the all too often trope of letting the effects do the talking.

Michael Douglas was a great choice for Hank Pym. I’m honestly sorry we could not have had Ant-Man 40 years ago with Douglas filling the suit. Douglas’ Pym picks Rudd’s Scott Lang as his successor and that too made for a good fit. Rudd is an actor that I could imagine as Jack Colton in 1984, Romancing the Stone. This sort of art imitating life, or life imitating art, thing between the two actors made for a more believable film. (Well, believable for a movie about a man that talks and rides ants anyway)

Evangeline Lilly plays Hope, Pym’s daughter and eventual love interest of Scott’s. Her scenes with Rudd are some of the highlights of the non-man/bug elements of the film. They have a great chemistry and if the pre-credit teaser is any indication, we will get to see more of that chemistry in the future.

So, yeah… Ant-Man. Not a GREAT movie, but far from horrible, and still a lot of fun. Watch it for the effects, hope that we get more from a great cast, and cross your fingers that they get more to do than montages.

Ant-Man opens nationwide July 17th.

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