Saturday, 22 August 2015

Ant Man (Spoiler Free)

Ok, I'm supposed to be marking last term's maths books but I need to get this out because I said I would.

I went to see Ant MCan.  I'll be honest, I'm getting a teeeeeeny bit bored with the super hero film franchise. It's all the same. Lead man gets great one-liners. Lead man is borderline sexist but also sexy. Leading lady (Black Widow) kicks ass in the side lines and doesn't get the film that a lot of people are clamouring for, instead a fairly obscure character does.


I went to see it because Him Indoors wanted to and I am lovely like that. Also I get to do stuff I want to do later. Leverage, see.

Well. It wasn't actually that bad.

It was not too dissimilar to Iron Man 1. It was Iron Man but instead of the war in the Middle East, it's an insider Heist.

Paul Rudd carried off the Anti-Hero role quite well and the cast was generally well-chosen. Cory Stoll, whether he wanted to be or not, was the perfect corny, slightly camp Arch Villain. You know the one. The one who is bald, well dressed and manages to be in the exact right lighting at all times so that his face has dramatic shadows.  He even is the sort of person who won't just look at the sheep he has managed to shrink to 3cm tall; he will flick the box it's in to make it stumble. Because he is evil.

What was quite interesting and refreshing for me wasn't that Paul Rudd was a super hero. It wasn't even that the super hero had a sketchy past as far as the law was concerned. It was how little agency he had as a leading man.

He didn't want to be a hero. He wasn't bitten and then accepting of some new-found Responsibility. He was quite literally watched, chosen and plucked and then black-mailed by some old guy who needed somebody to do a job for him.  Aside from finding out about his relationships with his ex-wife and daughter, you don't actually get a lot of character development for him. He comes pre-made.

The person who gets a surprising (though still not enough for it to be a film about her) amount of development is the supporting actress, Evangeline Lilly, playing Hope.  There were times I genuinely thought they'd set her up for something but actually she surprised me by doing something else. She was more than two dimensional as a character. There was a father-daughter storyline going on there within the film and it wasn't entirely side-lined. It was somewhat integral that they get over their issues in order for the heist to work. Yes, they shoe-horned in some attraction between her and Scott, but it was playfully seen as a bit cliche by her father (Michael Douglas).

It had all the tropes:

  • Action Girl, wherein a girl teaches the hero how to fight (though this gets a wonderful boost in the credits scenes. That was cool, because it showed growth RE Hank and Hope's relationship and trust)
  • The Ambiguous Situation regarding a wife - which I suspect will tie-in to the next film.
  • Bait and Switching at the very start of the film.
  • Ascended Meme - You know how everybody asks, (well, I do sometimes) "If this is happening, how come they don't call The Avengers to deal with it?"?  Well they have this openly discussed in the film. 
  • Beyond the Impossible - Hank warns Scott about doing something and not being able to do undo it, then he goes and does it anyway and it works.  
  • Bumbling Side-kick - Luis, played by show-stealer Michael Pena, is adorkably ditzy.
  • Chekhov's gag and boomerang.

There are plenty more but I guess my point is that it's a formulaic film. Which works. I guess. They hit all the right notes - there were scenes  of fear, carefully broken up by surreal yet hilarious events such as the Thomas the Tank Engine scene.   The characters gelled and played their parts. It was one of those safe, well-crafted films that didn't push the boat too far. There was enough going on to create the right level of tension and it didn't extend fight scenes to the point of Zach Snyder films (*yawn*)

The only thing I would say was wrong with it was the shoe-horning cameo of a certain character. I mean, the location wasn't all that shoe-horned, and the way The Cameo appeared made sense and stuff but I feel the interaction wasn't needed in the way it was done. It could have been much shorter and a la Stan Lee. (Who, of course, was in it.)

So yeah. Enjoyable. Watchable. Not that different but somehow endearing... 

I'd give it a solid 8/10. 


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