There are many lame comic book characters and Ant-Man has to be one of the lamest. You can imagine how he was created; after the success of Batman and Spiderman, Lee and Kirby were wondering which other animals they could base a superhero on. What about Centipede-Man, a man with a hundred arms? Or Jellyfish-Man, who has really long arms that sting you by touch and the only way to survive is to get someone to pee on you? No, no, Ant-Man, a little guy with a lot of strength! Eureka! As a long time Marvel fan, Ant-Man never got me excited (the Wasp, though…  Another white guy scientist with a super suit). That he would make one of the most enjoyable comic book movies surprised me, but not so much after I started to think about it. Ant-Man’s shrinking powers turn out to be perfect for cinema, making for great visual imagery which means that Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man movie is much more exciting than the comic book counterpart.

antman posterExcon Looks for Redemption Through Superheroism

Dumping Dr. Hank Pym (played by Michael Douglas) as the lead was a great choice, instead focusing on the second Ant-Man Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). You see Scott just got out of prison and is looking for some money to pay off the child support for his beloved daughter, Cassie Lang (Abby Ryder Fortson). He breaks into the house of an old scientist and steals a strange suit. The suit miraculously allows Scott to become the size of an ant while increasing his strength. Dr. Pym then hires Scott to help him and his daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly), foil the plans of Pym’s former protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), who has dastardly plans for the shrinking technology. Stoll is determined to sell his version of the shrinking suit to the evil organization HYDRA, which would have disastrous consequences for the whole of humanity.

Good male characters, sucky women

Rudd’s hero is the kind of laidback charmer we have not seen yet in comic book cinema. It’s refreshing; had Douglas’s moody Pym been centre stage, a heavier film would have dragged the audience with it. Rudd, and his hilarious buddy sidekick Luis (charismatically played by Michael Pena), keeps the mood from souring with their lighter banter and antics. Lilly continues her run on playing beautiful but personality-free love interests. Those expecting a lot of strong female characters will be let down, as they always are by Marvel films. Women here are wives, mothers, daughters or girlfriends, a support cast for more interesting boys. It could have so easily not have been the case by throwing in some cool women into Scott’s heist team, for example, or switching Pym’s role with the original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne, who is a much funnier and a more interesting character in the comic anyway.

Honey, I Shrunk the Superhero

Ultimately, the imaginative trips into the miniscule are what make Ant-Man a lot more fun than other Marvel movies. Fight scenes on a minute scale are visually cool and exciting and even become trippy when brought to the subatomic level. This is the perfect blockbuster to shell out for 3D; the visuals are so amazing, the 200+ peso investment is well worth it!

Ant-Man continues on its second weekend’s run June 24-27, 2015.

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