Friday was a half-day for me (WOO-HOO!) so Maribou and I went off to see the latest event in The Superhero Apocalypse and, this month, it’s Ant-Man.
Short review: Summer movie, buy popcorn and a slushie, charming, couple of belly laughs, forgettable. You won’t mind having spent the 10 bucks, but you’ll have forgotten everything about the movie except for a vague feeling of goodwill by the time you walk out to your car.
Unless you watched it thinking “I’m going to have to write a post about this”.
The Marvel formula is a pretty darned good formula. You have an established universe which is your sandbox. (This gives you a handful of shortcuts that you can take… for example, if you establish that Hydra was even worse than the Nazis during WWII (no politics), you can just point out that this person is on this side and that person is on Hydra’s side and, tah-dah, we have established, in seconds, who the good guy is and who the bad guy is.) While in this sandbox, you take a normal…ish… guy and demonstrate that, when given a moral decision to make, he’ll make something approaching the right one. (Or, if he falters, show that his moral compass is strong enough that he’ll make the right one eventually.) Then, after the moral compass of the guy is established, give him superpowers of some kind.
Maybe they can be technology. Maybe they can be pharmaceutical. Maybe they can be mystical in origin.
The important thing is to establish that this guy is a guy who can be trusted with these powers and then, once we’ve established that, put a bad guy in play and have the good guy defeat the bad guy. Nothing too heavy, though. This is a family movie.
Oh, and give Stan Lee a cute cameo.
As for Ant-Man, we follow the formula pretty well. We’ve got a guy who is just getting out of prison for a crime that, sure, he committed, but it was a *GOOD* crime. A populist crime. In a real system, they’d give him a medal. In this one, they gave him a prison cell. After he gets out, he finds that he can’t get a real job due to prejudice against the previously imprisoned (even if those in power *APPRECIATE* the crime he committed to get there!), and he turns back into a life of crime… except he has been set up to steal Henry Pym’s Ant-Man suit. After some false starts and then some montages, we go against the established criminal, and win.
Along the way, there’s some cute family stuff, some heavy…ish… family stuff, some cute associates, some lovely special effects, and, at one point, there’s a throwback to a pretty popular album that came out in the late 80’s that will have most of us old people laughing. (Indeed, if I wasn’t in “I have to write about this” mode, that album moment would be the only thing I remembered about the movie.)
At the end of the credits, I looked to see if they had the “no animals were harmed in the creation of this movie” disclaimer or whether they had a “no mammals were harmed” and, yep, “no animals were harmed”. So if you’re worried about ants, you shouldn’t be.
Anyway, even if you hate super-hero movies (and who doesn’t?), you’ll find yourself not minding overly much that the kids dragged you to this one. It’s charming, good-natured, and perfectly forgettable.
So… what are you reading and/or watching?