Ant-Man Blu-ray Review

Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, Michael Douglas
Directed by: Peyton Reed
Film length: 1hr 57 mins
Theatrical Release: July, 2015
Blu-ray release: Dec, 2015

The film (5/5)

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“Pick on someone your own size.”
Ant-Man begins in the year 1989 with Michael Douglas sporting a fresh layer of CG to make him look like he just step off the set of War of the Roses.

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Impressive.

Anyway, Michael Douglas plays S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist Hank Pym who has just discovered an attempt by some frenemies in the organization, including Howard Stark (John Slattery), to replicate his dangerous “Ant-Man” shrinking technology.  Pym vows to hide it as long as he lives and resigns from S.H.I.E.L.D.

The story fast forwards to present day, where Pym has been run out of his own company, Pym Technologies, with former protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) running the show.  Pym learns that Cross has uncovered the Ant-Man project and is now close to perfecting a shrinking suit of his own, the Yellowjacket.

With time not on his side, Pym decides he needs to steal the Yellowjacket suit to ensure the technology doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.  Unable to weld the Ant-Man suit himself any longer, Pym devises an elaborate plan to enlist the clever, well-meaning thief Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to become the new Ant-Man.  Pym trains Scott on how to use the Ant-Man suit’s shrinking powers and control ants, while Pym daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) trains him to fight.

The stakes are high here however, as it turns out Cross (whose tampering with atom-manipulation is giving him a slight case of megalomania) is not to stopping at one Yellowjacket suit, but is building an army of them to sell on the black market.  His buyer?  None other than The Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D enemy #1, HYDRA!

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Peyton Reed (Yes Man, Bring It On), who traditionally works in the comedy fluff category, would not make my top ten list of would be Marvel Cinematic Universe directors.  But damn, did he ever hit a home run.  This film has a ton crammed into its relatively short 1hr 57mins.  Ant-Man is one part heist flick, one part science fiction, with a whole lotta comedy mixed in.  I’ll admit, Pym’s plan to enlist Lang to wear the suit is a wee bit hokey, but the scenes work well to establish the characters roles for the big heist later on.

The script is loaded with punchy dialogue that is delivered by some versatile actors who have experience when walking the line between comedy and drama.  Outside of the main cast we have Bobby Cannavale (The Station Agent, Boardwalk Empire), John Slattery (Mad Men), Judy Greer (Arrested Development), and Wood Harris (The Wire, Justified).  I feel like the casting agent and I have similar tastes in television programs.

But the stand out among them is Micheal Peña (CHiPs, Narcos).  He plays the easily excitable Luis who appears to be having just as much fun playing the character as you are watching him.  Especially during a couple of flashback sequences, which is a nice segue to….

Memorable Moments / What Stood Out to Me

The Flashback sequences

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Twice the film uses a flashback sequence to move along plot heavy backstory.  They are narrated and voiced over by an excited Luis with the actors mimicking his phrasing and facial expressions as he tells it.  It’s funny, it moves quickly, and it is brilliant.  Loved it.  I want more in the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp.

The Van

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I love cars with a lot of character.  I love it when filmmakers put cars with a lot of character in their movies.  Luis’ 1972 Ford Econoline van fits the bill.  I love everything from the colour to the ‘La Cucaracha’ tootin’ horn about it.

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Bonus: Stan Lee cameo review! (4/5)

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Stan-The-Man’s cameo is a brief one line delivered during one of Luis’ flashbacks.  It was a clever way to sneak Stan in there and fun to watch him deliver the line as Luis.  But I am going to have to knock off a point since we don’t get to hear his voice.

Bonus: Garrett Morris cameo review! (5/5)

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I remember scratching my head when seeing famed SNL alum Garrett Morris in a tiny  one line role when watching Ant-Man for the first time.  This time, I had to look it up.  Turns out it was designed to be a Stan Lee like cameo.  Apparently Morris played Ant-Man in a SNL sketch called “Ant-Man at a Party” back in the day and Peyton Reed wanted him in this film.  I consider myself as a bit of a ‘pre-Norm MacDonald getting fired’ SNL geek and this one came as a complete surprise.  Nice touch.

Special Features (5/5)

Woah, this disc is loaded with the goods.

Besides a 15 minute press kit that is a little heavy on the overselling (But does give you a look at how they dropped a tank from 10 stories), the rest is a smashing good time.  The audio commentary features Reed and Rudd who deliver great insight into the making of the film while being entertaining.  The gag reel is funny, the 8 minute featurette on the practical and CG effects is compelling, and the extra/extended scenes offer some back story.  Solid job.

Final Verdict

I didn’t even scratch the surface of what is happening in this movie.  There are sub plots with Scott’s wife and kid, a budding relationship between Scott and Hope, and even a fight scene with The Falcon.  But they are merely the icing for an excellent heist flick cake.  Ant-Man has a unique rhythm when compared to its sibling Marvel films, and although it introduces Ant-Man to the MCU, its story is disconnected from the rest.  So, it might even be a good place to introduce someone to these movies.  Kind of test the waters a bit before starting at the beginning.  You know, someone like a parent or spouse or perhaps a crusty old Aunt, man.

How I would rank The MCU movies from best to worse so far:

Ant-Man
Thor: The Dark World
Guardians of the Galaxy
Iron Man

Captain America: The First Avenger
The Avengers
The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Iron Man 2
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The Incredible Hulk
Iron Man 3
Thor

18 comments

  1. I’m not sure who ripped off who, but a few years ago American Dad did a shrinking episode complete with train set and ants.

    Regardless I love Ant Man and consider it one of the easiest MCU movies to watch start to finish.

    Paul Rudd rules! Slappin da bass.

    I don’t think I have watched the special features!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting. According to the internet, “The Shrink” episode of American Dad aired March 30, 2015 while Ant Man was released on June 29th, 2015. Both would be too far into production to have been able to rip each other off. Gotta chalk this one up to a an odd coincidence.

      As my friend Bill is fond of saying, Rudd don’t dud.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. While Peyton Reed did do a bang up job, it should be noted that some of what we got on screen probably came out of the pre-production done under original director Edgar Wright. That said, I agree that Peyton Reed knocked it out of the park. Interestingly, Reed was at one point attached the first version of the Fantastic Four. Would loved to have seen what he would have done with that. Who knows, maybe if the Disney/Fox merger goes through we’ll get that chance. Great review Kevin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Adam! I didn’t know there was another director involved. Well, whomever is responsible did a fine job in the execution department! Yeah, unfortunately Fantastic Four needs a re-re-reboot. Hopefully they will finally get it right like they did with the Hulk.

      Like

  3. Oh! I didn’t read the memorable moments, as I still haven’t seen this one, but this was a great review and one that left me feeling pretty happy that this is currently on Netflix. I think I thought this would be somewhat mnah. I guess I’m wrong!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Nice one, I really enjoyed this film – I think I may have a bit of a man crush on Paul Rudd. My favourite bit of the whole film was the climactic battle at the end when after the titanic micro struggle ends and It zooms up to full scale and you see the train just fall off the track.

    Liked by 1 person

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