Monday, August 29, 2016

What Is This, A Movie For Ants, Or I Watched Ant Man, So You Don’t Have To

 When, exactly are we going to reach peak superhero saturation?  I only ask because I’m curious as to what will come next.  Let’s compare the superhero genre to the popularity of westerns in the last century, and cite Stagecoach (1939) as an arbitrary starting point.  If we chart the end as John Wayne’s last Western and final movie The Shootist (1976, with Lauren Bacall), and start the modern superhero renaissance with Tim Burton’s Batman (1989), we can reasonably expect another 20 years of these movies.  Which may be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your age and how much you enjoy watching the bad guys get beat down by masked men in capes.
Which brings us to Ant Man (2015), where Paul Rudd stars as Scott Lang one of those good guy-bad guy Robin Hood hacker/cat burglars who stumbles on a magic suit.  Wait, did I say magic?  I meant secret high-tech military supersuit that shrinks the wearer to the size of an insect while retaining full size human strength (don’t ask).  And oh yeah, he can also control ants, so if you suffer from myrmecophobia, you’d best avoid this movie altogether.
The tiny people/giant world CGI scenes are remarkably effective because we aren’t used to seeing the world from that perspective, and the first half of the movie is a training montage as Scott learns how to use the suit and plays with ants.  Marvel movies have a consistent blend of action, romance and redemption, and Ant Man does not deviate from that winning formula in what is essentially an action movie remake of The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957).
I guess a tiny ant-sized power suit is no different than getting bit by a radioactive spider, but I still have a problem with the general physics of it.  Suspension of disbelief is a necessary prerequisite in most movies, and somehow it’s easier for me personally to accept say, the dead rising from the grave and eating brains than a miniature Iron Man suit, but that’s just me.
Also starring Michael Douglas de-aged with creepy uncanny valley CGI as Hank Pym, inventor of the Pym Particle, the shrinkifying serum, and Evangeline Lilly, Kate from Lost and Tauriel from The Hobbit (2008) as Hope Van Dyne, Hank’s daughter, scientist, and coincidentally, a martial arts expert.  Corey Stoll from The Strain is consistent and looks like he’s having fun as Darren Cross, an evil CEO and on the home front we have Judy Greer from Arrested Development, Archer and Cursed (2005) as Scott’s ex-wife Maggie and Bobby Cannavale, Gyp Rosetti from Boardwalk Empire and Joe from The Station Agent (2003) as Paxton, Maggie’s new fiancé and also a cop investigating Scott.  Family’s complicated, but superhero movies are simplistic and formulaic, and Scott has an ant-suit to solve all his problems.



 my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).