Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 31, 2015


ANT-MAN (2015). Director: Peyton Reed.

In the comics, the original Ant-Man was one Henry Pym (Michael Douglas), a neurotic scientist who would become Giant-Man, Yellowjacket etc. and have more than one nervous breakdown. One day an ex-con named Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) stole Pym's shrinking formula and costume so he could save his kidnapped daughter -- Pym let him keep the Ant-Man identity. There have been some modifications to that storyline in this film, in which Pym pretty much picks Lang out to be his, at first, unwilling and terrified replacement. The villain in this is Darren Cross (Corey Stoll of House of Cards), who dons his own Yellowjacket outfit to take on Ant-Man in the climax. [Cross was also the villain in the aforementioned comic book story]. The third major character is Pym's daughter, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lily) -- she does not exist in the comic books -- who is itching to go into action herself instead of Lang [she gets her chance in the upcoming sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp]. Cross wants to sell Pym's technology to the bad guys, which could definitely cause problems for everyone else. The film is consistently entertaining, has fine special effects work, and is quite well-acted, especially by Douglas, whose solidity holds all the absurdities together. Abby Ryder Fortson makes a cute Cassie, Lang's little daughter; Bobby Cannavale [Blue Jasmine]  is fine as her stepfather, a cop named Paxton; and Anthony Mackie puts in an interesting performance as the Falcon. Read more about Ant-Man in the comics in The Silver Age of Comics.

Verdict: While this is no classic like The Incredible Shrinking Man, it's still a fun movie. *** out of 4.

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