Wednesday 15 July 2015

Ant-Man ... Small bite

SUPERHERO films are about good versus evil, but never has there been one about a cat burglar who becomes a superhero because his toddler daughter puts him on a pedestal.
   Director Peyton Reed's Ant-Man sees the activist protagonist go on a journey to achieve redemption, battling his ex-wife and her husband's condescending and threatening attitudes towards him. In fact, I'm not sure who's the biggest threat to Ant-Man: the antagonist, or Ant-Man's ex-wife and her cop husband.
    The world of Ant-Man is populated by characters who do things because of their family ties. For example, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) wants to be the apple of his daughter Cassie's (Abby Ryder Fortson) eye; the little girl sees her dad as a hero, and doesn't know that he's spent time in prison.
  But no one wants to hire an ex-con, not even an ice-cream shop. Dr Hank Pym (a seductively smooth Michael Douglas) dangles the prospect of getting both of them closer, if Scott agrees to be his Ant-Man. 
  Scott is desperate to see his kid, but his ex-wife Maggie (Judy Greer of Jurassic World) sets certain conditions (like getting his own apartment) before they can be together. Her husband Paxton (Bobby Cannavale) is not to keen to see Scott arriving at his doorstep unannounced. 
   Hank, meanwhile, has a tumultuous relationship with his adult daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly of The Hobbit). Hope resents the fact that her father became aloof after the death of his wife (her mum) when she died under mysterious circumstances when Hope was 7.
   Hank's former protege, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll of Dangerous Places), is now the head scientist of the arms firm once headed by the former. 
    Hank says he picked Cross because he saw a bit of him in the latter, but distanced himself from the latter when he saw too much of him in the latter. Hank also says that he once considered Darren as the son he never had.
    Darren is unhappy that his mentor kept secrets from him, especially about the technology (suit) to become Ant-Man.
   Darren, who eventually becomes baddie Yellowjacket, targets Scott's weak spot, his family, when he wants to bring Ant-Man to his knees.
   I enjoyed seeing Scott learning how to harness his powers, especially when he first shrinks to the size of an ant in his bathroom tub. 
    The Ant-Man special-effects team did a good job with the shrinking and sound effects. The sight of Ant-Man running with ants is a sight to behold. The film got a few laughs by showing how miniscule Ant-Man's battles with Yellowjacket are. 
    Ultimately, the film is let down by the presence of Rudd, usually known for his romantic or comedic roles. He just does not have the commanding presence to own the role. I didn't root for him as much as I thought I would have. His bite is negligible.

3 out of 5 stars


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