Ant Man MarvelNobody likes to admit when they are wrong, and I am no exception. When I am wrong, however, I try to admit fault and move on. With that said, I hereby admit that I erred in my “Ant-Man” predictions.

When it was announced that Marvel Studios was making an “Ant-Man” movie, I shook my head. When Edgar Wright left the project, I shook my head. When I saw the first trailer, I shook my head. I was convinced that the movie was going to be worse than the creative mess that was Iron Man 2. Again, I was wrong.

Ant Man Hornet MarvelPerhaps the quickest way to convey the heart and soul of “Ant-Man” is to tell potential moviegoers to listen to Camilo Azuquita’s “Borombon,” which is featured on the soundtrack. The laid back Latin music sets the tone for the film, which in many ways is a welcome reprieve from the doom and destruction found in The Avengers or Age of Ultron.

Paul Rudd (Scott Lang), Michael Douglas (Dr. Hank Pym), Evangeline Lilly (Hope) all do a commendable job. Michael Peña (Luis) is amusing while managing to never become as annoying as Rob Schneider in similar roles from the 1990s.

Perhaps the weakest link was Bobby Cannavale (Paxton), who seemed to have zero chemistry with Judy Greer (Maggie Lang) or Abby Ryder Fortson (Cassie Lang). Yes, he was supposed to be “the other guy,” but never anything like “Jerry” from 1997’s “Liar Liar.” Scott Lang’s ex-wife did a romantic 180 degree turn when he went to prison for robbing a giant corporation; she fell for a cop — understandable — but there should at least be some kind of spark between she and her new love.

Perhaps my only real gripe with “Ant-Man” (and Marvel Studios in general), is its trend over the last few movies to use explicit language for no other reason than as a punch line. In a movie theater packed with little kids, it seems weird to be generating laughs on Paul Rudd’s well-timed delivery of “ass hat” and “shit bag.” It almost seems as though the writers add moments like that just so Marvel isn’t accused of being too wholesome. Regardless, if you are a fan of the Marvel Studios formula, then you should probably see “Ant-Man” before it leaves theaters. As far as summer movies go, it is well worth the price of admission.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

12 comments

  1. It was decent, I will give you that. I’ve seen reactions online range from “It was better than ‘Ultron!!!” to “I hated this movie!!”. I found it somewhere between. It definitely had it’s moments, but I might rank Guardians of the Galaxy slightly above. What I am most interested in though will be your review of Fantastic Four this week. For some reason I find myself very much so looking to see how good or poorly Fox did the treatment of Marvel’s first family.

    1. I enjoyed bits of it, did’nt wow me, but satisfactory enough, and if there had been more movies like this than what I’d gotten out of Phase II, I’d have ranked this era higher. It makes sense for this to be one of the better Marvel entries in a while because it’s been “well cooked”, sitting in a developmental roast for eight long years and meant to have come out when Iron Man I was still fresh in everyone’s minds. I’d love a massive tell-all book to come out on the history of Marvel studios, with this film as the principal centerpiece.

    2. You cornered me on Fantastic Four! Haha. I’m not sure if I’ll see it opening weekend or not. I really want to see Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation. My wife indicated that she may want to give FF a shot, so we’ll see. 🙂

  2. I do think that the writers tend to throw in gratuitous profanity (and sometimes sexual suggestiveness, and overly graphic violence) just as a punchline for a cheap laugh, and to avoid seeming “too wholesome.”

    Adolescents are a big part of the target audience for action movies in general and superhero movies in particular. And, when you are a tween, “dirty=cool.” So the film makers throw in a few “shit bag” and “ass hat” lines. At the same time, they can’t afford to get an “adults only” rating (and lose the kid audience), so they try to go as far as they can within the limits of a PG or PG-13 rating.

    At the same time, though, they market action figures and other toys as tie-ins, so they must know that pre-adolescent kids will also be seeing these movies.

    “American Sniper” and “Fury” had a lot of violence and foul language, but, IIRC, they had “R” ratings. And I don’t recall seeing any ads for Happy Meals with toy “Fury’ tanks, or “American Sniper” toy rifles on sale in stores. But Marvel always tries to have it both ways.

    1. But Marvel always tries to have it both ways.

      That’s what kind of annoys me. I wouldn’t mind, but if they took out the random expletives of “Ant-Man,” then I can’t imagine anyone would say, “Man, I really think that movie needed an ‘ass hat’ line or two. I’m a little disappointed in that.”

  3. I thought Ant Man was pretty good for what it was. I don’t think many people were expecting much out of it. It was fun. I hear the 3D is great.
    I can whole-heartedly recommend MI:Rogue Nation. I didn’t really want to see it (not a fan of Cruise or the franchise), but it was pretty much non-stop action with a clever script by the guy that wrote the Usual Suspects.

    1. I saw the 3D version. It was pretty fun, although when I looked at my receipt and it said $36 I was like, “What the heck?” If you buy two tickets two a show, a bucket of popcorn, and two drinks you’re going to spend over $50. I can’t imagine how much it would cost to take a family of four out to the movies.

      I’ll see MI: Rouge Nation in theaters before it’s gone and probably do up a review. I think I’ve enjoyed all of those except the second one.

  4. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Since every film must outdo the last in the IMPENDING DOOM OF THE HUMAN RACE, at least we can have some fun with it, and maybe take a step back. Just thinking of what a comedy an Avengers vs. Kingpin movie would be compared to the compelling drama that Daredevil has, kind of puts the constant raising of the stakes in perspective. We don’t need more epic, we just need a decent story. At least comic book movies deliver what actual comic books used to do. I enjoyed the terribly flawed Iron man 2 much more than the ‘WTH is with everyone’ of Civil War.

    As for the gratuitous language, studios have been doing that for a long time. I remember when I lined up with a bunch of other kids to watch the 80’s ‘Transformers the movie’ and Bumblebee blurts out an ‘oh Sh–‘ when he sees Unicron, which is pretty much removed in every release since. The kids hear worse from this Marine when they get in trouble, so it doesn’t disturb me that much, but it always seems cheap, so I agree. Honestly, compared to movies of the past I appreciate that we don’t do the gratuitous sex scene or boob shot as much as we used to in the 80’s. Linda Hamilton was pretty hot, but the Terminator sex scene was when the audience kind of squirmed a bit, I mean really, like we don’t get how it works by now. If they are just leaving it out so the kids can watch the action movie too (while sprinkling retarded curse words), than I’ll take it.

    1. We don’t need more epic, we just need a decent story. At least comic book movies deliver what actual comic books used to do.

      Great comment. I totally agree.

  5. I wouldn’t call “Ant-Man” the best Marvel movie ever, but it certainly felt fresh and distinct. Some of the other Marvel movies (while generally good) seem like they’re on autopilot: there’s an impending, Earth-shattering crisis, but the filmmakers are also focused on setting up material for the next movie(s). I like that people at Marvel/Disney have eyes on the big picture, but at times, “Age of Ultron” seemed less about an omnicidal robot trying to wipe out humanity and more about setting up plot points for the next Captain America movie. Characters kinda get lost in the shuffle and that’s unfortunate. At least the Guardians of the Galaxy got to do character stuff alongside galactic battles and the set up for “Infinity War.” Fight scenes are cool and all, but it’s nice to see the heroes be like regular people and interact with others outside of quips and punches.

    1. At times, “Age of Ultron” seemed less about an omnicidal robot trying to wipe out humanity and more about setting up plot points for the next Captain America movie.

      One of the reasons why I didn’t review “Age of Ultron” was because after I walked out of the theater I just felt weird. Everything about it was technically fine…and I guess I enjoyed myself, but something just seemed off. Or I just had Marvel fatigue. Or I was just tired of these giant bloated spectacles. I’m not sure.

      I really enjoyed the Netflix Daredevil series, but for whatever reason watching “Age of Ultron” made me feel like I just ate a giant meatloaf dinner after having a giant meatloaf breakfast and lunch.

    2. I actually enjoyed Age of Ultron just fine myself, but that was just me. I thought Ant-Man was a fun movie as well.

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