Ant-Man: Marvel’s Dark Horse Delivers

Article written by:
Jurmane Lallana
Author: Jurmane Lallana
Jurmane is a comic book geek, movie aficionado, feature writer and bathroom singer. He is often mistaken for a giant teddy bear roaming around the metro.

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Photos Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (Ant-Man)

Ant-Man. Who, you might ask? If you were asked to name a superhero, he would probably not be the first one that would come to mind. I guess someone who could shrink to a size of an ant would not have the same recall as a billionaire flying around in a tech suit or a green behemoth who can crush you in his sleep. Even though I knew Ant-Man from the comic books, I admit that I was a naysayer right from the beginning. Watching the trailer did not help and I thought it was simply not going to fly.

 

Obviously, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was a fool to doubt the powers at Marvel Studios. Let me share with you why.

Ant-Man centers on Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), an ex-con whose only wish is to reform and be with his daughter. Unfortunately, life has other plans for him as he stumbles upon a suit that could make him as small as an ant. Genius Dr. Hank Pym recruits Scott as he begins to control not only his newfound abilities but also his destiny.

Although Ant-Man does a lot of things well, humor is the best part of the film. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard while watching a superhero movie. Jokes are pretty clever. Although Edgar Wright left the director chair, you can still see his trademark in the screenplay through the witty conversations and quips that take place in the movie. Paul Rudd has always had the funny bone, but Michael Pena as Luis takes the cake here. Every sentence he says in this movie is comedy gold. People have actually gone far enough to say that Luis could have easily played Ant-Man. Who knows, maybe he can get a costume if we ever get an Ant-Man 2! In terms of the shots taken, Director Peyton Reed nails it by repeatedly showing the audience how funny and ridiculous Ant-Man’s activities would look like from the perspective of a regular-sized human being.

Yes, Ant-Man is classified under the superhero genre. However, it succeeds in breaking the traditional boundaries and offers much more than the typical experience. Instead of just action sequences, we get to see sneaking in at its finest. Some parts of the film will give you an Ocean’s Eleven or Mission Impossible vibe. Although not a team movie like the Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy, his support system was more than enough to get the job done. Dr. Henry Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) are the brains of the operation while Scott’s gang comprised of Luis, Kurt and Dave form one hilarious but effective trio.

Let’s not forget the ants, the most unique “associates” ever. We definitely need to talk about them. How cool are they? How cool is it to lead an army of them? I like how Scott’s training with the ants was like a science class, except you wouldn’t fall asleep because everything was just so captivating. Seriously, what better teammates can you ask for? You will clearly have a higher respect for ants after watching the film. As for me, maybe I will just shoo them away the next time I see them around the house.

Indeed, Ant-Man is great as a solo film and offers its own unique adventure, but it becomes even better as it is able to fit bits and pieces of the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe through its dialogue and fun cameos. This sets up his role for the upcoming Captain America: Civil War (2016). Will we finally see Ant-Man fly with Hawkeye’s arrow? We certainly hope so!

Speaking of the MCU, one cannot help but compare Ant-Man with Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel’s first attempt at a non-mainstream superhero film. Both of them bring a certain brand of freshness to a scene where usual characters such as Batman and Spider-Man have dominated for a long time already. Scott and Peter Quill (AKA Star-Lord, let’s not forget that) actually have a lot in common. Both are cool and adorably awkward. I can already imagine how things would go when they meet for the first time:

Ant-Man: I’m Ant-Man.

Star-Lord: WHO?

Ant-Man: Ant-Man, man. Legendary burglar!

Star-Lord: Awesome to meet you! It’s unbelievable, but we have a talking raccoon on our team!

Ant-Man: I know what you mean, dude. I have an army of ants.

Star-Lord: How about we settle who’s cooler through a dance off?

Anyway, the only thing I found lacking in Ant-Man was Yellowjacket. I don’t think it was Corey Stoll’s fault, but I guess Tom Hiddleston’s Loki really set the bar high when it comes to a Marvel supervillain.

Even Ant-Man’s product placements and/or sponsorships were handled well, and that can’t be said about every film that comes out these days. *cough* Transformers *cough* Baskin Robbins, Yakult, Apple and Thomas the Train were seamlessly integrated and actually provided additional entertainment for the audience. Especially Thomas the Train!

Ant-Man respects the comic book material where its story and characters are based on but also alters several important details. In the comic books, Ant-Man is Hank Pym and is not that old compared to Scott, who is the second Ant-Man. By making Hank Pym older and more seasoned in the movie, he is able to provide guidance to the highly inexperienced Lang. Cassie, Scott’s darling daughter, is even a heroine herself with the codename Stature and is part of the Young Avengers. Leave it to Marvel Studios to explore that exciting possibility in the future!

In the end, Ant-Man proves that all superheroes need not be massive in order to make their mark in the hearts of moviegoers everywhere. You can be small and still make a big splash! So, the next time someone tries to insult you and say you’re just an ant in this big world, just give him a smirk and say, THANK YOU.

And then unleash legions of your ant friends to attack the non-believer. Haha.

 

   

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