Ruddy mar­vel­lous

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! 2015 | 12 | Blu-ray 3d/Blu-ray/dVd Di­rec­tor Pey­ton reed Cast Paul rudd, evan­ge­line lilly, Michael dou­glas, Corey stoll, Bobby Can­navale, Michael Peña

This was the Marvel movie many ex­pected (per­haps even wanted) to fail. You know, the one about a diminu­tive hero who, while part of the orig­i­nal Avengers line-up, wasn’t a mem­ber of the comic book A-list, and had a some­what prob­lem­atic char­ac­ter history. The film also at­tracted neg­a­tiv­ity af­ter part­ing ways with its fan-favourite di­rec­tor, Edgar Wright, weeks ahead of shoot­ing. The omens were not good.

We needn’t have wor­ried. Af­ter the epic ac­tion and “let’s set up ev­ery Marvel movie be­tween now and 2020!” ap­proach of Age Of Ul­tron, the smaller scale of this more stand­alone trip to the Marvel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse proves very wel­come in­deed. It’s also a hell of a lot of fun.

In­deed, the light­ness of touch is what makes Ant-Man so mem­o­rable. Freed from the need to ser­vice a com­plex mythol­ogy (the few nods to the wider MCU are by no means in­te­gral to the plot), the movie is free to fo­cus on the quar­tet of char­ac­ters at its cen­tre: ge­nius sci­en­tist and orig­i­nal Ant-Man Hank Pym (Michael Dou­glas), his ex-con re­place­ment Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Pym’s daugh­ter Hope (Evan­ge­line Lilly), and morally du­bi­ous busi­ness ri­val Dar­ren Cross (Corey Stoll). The themes are far from orig­i­nal – fa­ther/ daugh­ter re­la­tion­ships; re­demp­tion; hos­tile busi­ness takeovers from the Iron Man play­book – but they’re all pack­aged to­gether in a way that feels fresh and re­mark­ably in­ti­mate. This is not so much a movie about saving the world as saving fam­i­lies.

It’s in­ven­tive, too, from the clever heist plot (think Ocean’s 11 if Ge­orge Clooney was five mil­lime­tres tall), to the hi­lar­i­ous di­a­logue (“That’s one messed-up look­ing dog”) and ac­tion se­quences that make the most of Ant-Man’s unique abil­i­ties. What a shame that Thomas the Tank En­gine’s show­stop­ping cameo had al­ready de­buted in the trail­ers…

Ex­tras If you’re look­ing for scur­rilous gos­sip about Wright’s de­par­ture you won’t find it here. The clos­est you get comes in the en­ter­tain­ing, info-packed com­men­tary, where Rudd (who co-wrote the movie) and di­rec­tor Pey­ton Reed make oc­ca­sional ref­er­ences to mo­ments/ideas that sur­vived from Wright’s script. The star/di­rec­tor duo also ex­plain why the eight deleted scenes (nine min­utes) failed to make the cut.

There are two fea­turettes: “Making Of An Ant-Sized Heist” (15 min­utes) rounds up cast and crew for the stan­dard Making Of fare, while the su­pe­rior “Let’s Go To The Macro­verse” (eight min­utes) points its mi­cro­scope at the chal­lenges in­volved in con­vinc­ingly shrink­ing a man to the size of a bug. Faux news in­ter­views from the “WHIH NewsFront” (nine min­utes) pro­vide a bit of non-es­sen­tial back­ground, while the high­light of the gag reel (three min­utes) is Michael Dou­glas ad­mit­ting “I have gas”. Un­for­tu­nately, all th­ese ex­tras are lim­ited to the Blu-ray re­leases – on the DVD you get noth­ing. Richard Ed­wards

There were of­ten no lenses in Ant-Man’s hel­met dur­ing shoot­ing – they were added dig­i­tally, so we could see Rudd’s eyes.

The smaller scale proves very wel­come

Evel Knievel had aw­ful gas.

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