Holy Shit, It Worked: A Review of ‘Ant-Man’
Welcome to The Superficial review of Ant-Man, a movie that by all rights should’ve crashed and burned on the runway spawning a thousand think-pieces on “The End of Marvel” in its wake, but instead pulled off a serviceable, entertaining flight and stuck the landing. As for why I went with an airplane metaphor back there is anyone’s guess, but more importantly, let’s talk about how adorable Paul Rudd is for way too long. Why lie to ourselves about what’s going to happen here?
That said, let me save you some reading real quick:
If you’re a parent and are debating taking the little ones to see it, Ant-Man is by far the most family-friendly of the Marvel films – Yes, even more than an alcoholic raccoon with a machine gun. I didn’t believe it myself. – and that’s actually not a bad thing. The kids in the movie theater I saw it in laughed their asses off and went bananas over the action pieces. That said, I am physically and emotionally prepared to punch your child in the ear if he/she gets between me and the Ant-Man LEGO set even though most of them could easily dominate me without breaking a sweat. We’ve got to stop putting hormones in our food!
If you want a better-written review about how the Marvel movies have obviously become an assembly-line production at this point, which shouldn’t be a surprise by now, Vince Mancini has you covered. I, on the other hand, am mostly going to talk about how I like being repeatedly bent over and found the lube surprisingly pleasant with a cool tingle this time.
WE RIDE! *tries to mount ant, gets punched out by an antenna*
WARNING: Spoilers, but literally none of them are that important. Except when Iron Man uses the Infinity Gauntlet to reveal Ant-Man is Thanos’ father! HOLY SHIT! — I’m kidding, none of that happened. Or did it?!
The Shit That Worked
When Edgar Wright quit, it was almost universally agreed that Ant-Man was fucked and would be the first Marvel bomb. (And might be, I haven’t seen any box office numbers yet.) Bringing Peyton Reed on as the director only added to those fears, but at the end of the day, the Marvel formula proved that it doesn’t need “auteurs” – See: Ava DuVernay passing on Black Panther. – which can also be seen as a pretty damning statement about Marvel movies, but we’re not here to sniff farts and huff dingleberries. (Suck it, Ebert.) We’re here to talk about Michael Douglas teaching Paul Rudd how to ride ants and punch people in the face with those ants while making patented Marvel Quips™. A premise that sounds ridiculous on its face, but actually works thanks to Ant-Man’s tendency to lean more towards comedy – Adam McKay wrote the script. – while pulling off some of the best visuals the Marvel Cinematic Universe has seen. Visuals that were probably entirely all Edgar Wright’s doing, but I digress. Anyway, there were also cool little flourishes that Ant-Man surprisingly pulled off while managing to surpass other handicapped Marvel projects like Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World which was so goddamn bad I almost never wanted to see another one of these things again.
- The Cold War-era back-story with Hank Pym and Wasp. (Yes, Wasp is in this movie. Albeit only to be immediately fridged, before being predictably teased at the end.) And it was the kind of cool little vignette that makes me wish Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. never existed because every economic use of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the movies is immediately cheapened every time an episode airs. Cheapens it right to shit.
- The “smaller” story. – *pours bleach into coffee, stirs* – I’d never thought I’d say this, but after the under-served character tornado that was Avengers: Age of Ultron, it was actually refreshing to watch another “origin” movie because apparently it helps to give characters’ personalities and motivations besides tossing 20 of them in a blender with an army of robots and hoping some random line that sets up the next film stands out. Who knew?
- Paul Rudd. I wouldn’t go so far to say Paul Rudd killed it as Scott Lang, or was even anywhere as close as a perfect casting as Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man or Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord, but he does amble through this movie with a lovable detachment that you just can’t get mad at. It’s impossible. He’s visibly not even trying in some scenes and you won’t even care.
- The visuals. If Ant-Man did something none of the Marvel movies have pulled off, it served up visual effects that haven’t been seen before which is pretty fucking impressive given the pace they’re farting these things out. Again, how much of that was almost a decade worth of Edgar Wright’s blood, sweat and tears is anybody guess, but I’m sure we’ll eventually find out soon enough because the Internet needs shit to blog about. Constant, constant shit until it chokes the air out of your lungs, and your eyes go black from clickable content and sticky widgets. Yet you cry out and no one’s there. Just GIFs. GIFs as far as the eye can see. Where does it end?!
- Evangeline Lilly. At the end of the movie, you want her to put on that goddamn Wasp costume, and you want it now. If she’s not in Captain America: Civil War, I will personally write 20,000 Tumblrs about how Marvel hates women and tweet them all at Mark Ruffalo. Do NOT fucking test me.
The Shit That Kinda Worked
Granted, I just said Ant-Man worked up top. That was because everyone expected it to explode at take-off, and anything short of that would come off as a miracle. It’s still a Marvel film, full of the same Marvel shit, and some of the jokes try way too hard, but it’s genuinely entertaining and doesn’t make you hate the brisk, just barely two hours you’ll spend watching it.
The Shit That Shat
You can’t see Michael Douglas’ dick. At all. Other than that, he was really great as Hank Pym, and is always a pleasure to see act. I feel terrible putting him down here, but again, the dick. I should’ve been able to see the dick.
The “Avenger” cameo. It was Falcon. The big Avenger cameo was Falcon. Not only that, but he’s one of two black guys on the team, and he gets his ass beat by Ant-Man. We’re taking Confederate flags down, Marvel, and this how you act? Sheeeeeeit.
The Spider-Man mention. C’mon.
Antony was the heart and soul of that movie and you killed him. YOU KILLED HIM! You’re not Pixar, dammit. You can’t be throwing feels at me like that.
And once again, I’ve written way too many words about a pop culture event everyone will forget in two weeks because my life is full and rich and brimming with zest. Long story short, Ant-Man is remarkably more decent than anyone expected, but that alone might be why it seems so good. Photo Boy and I were genuinely entertained, and unlike Avengers: Age of Ultron, I actually look forward to watching it again on Blu-Ray which I’ll still do with both because I’m just mouthing and jerking Marvel until the cows come home. I don’t even make them snuggle that’s how bad it is.
GRADE: One of Hayley Atwell’s boobs. But just one.