After years of development hell in the hands of Edgar Wright, Marvel Studios finally got Ant-Man on the schedule for a 2015 release, however it was at the cost of Mr. Wright, who left the project just before filming siting irreconcilable differences basically. As a huge fan of Wright, I was decidedly dejected when he left and didn’t really have a lot of hope for the film, as Marvel’s quickly drafted director, Peyton Reed, hadn’t really done anything that I was all that thrilled with. I mean, the director of Bring it On and The Break-Up? Come on! But I had hope that Paul Rudd would at least be entertaining. And really, would Marvel just crank out any product to meet a deadline? So far, even the worst Marvel Studios film has been thoroughly enjoyable at least as a brainless popcorn movie. So it was with slight trepidation that I headed out alone to the theater (the first Marvel film Dr. Girlfriend and my parents hadn’t expressed any interest in) the second or third week of release (also a pattern-change, as I’ve seen most, if not all, of the Marvel movies opening weekend). And guess what? As most of you found out, it was a lot of fun! Domestically, it did better than both The Incredible Hulk and Captain America: The First Avenger, and outdid Thor internationally, so it’s at the low end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as far as money goes. But when it came to the reviews, it outperformed everything but Iron Man, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Guardians of the Galaxy! Ant-Man was never going to be a hard drama. From the very beginning this film was being positioned as a heist film, taking inspiration from Marvel Premiere #47 (April 1979), and Wright and his screenwriting partner Joe Cornish were hired in the very first wave of Marvel Studios films in 2006. Between then and now, however, Edgar Wright became a name, directing the classics Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End as well as Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. With a slate of impressive films behind him, Wright didn’t seem as inclined as he might have been in 2006 to mold his film into the tightly woven Marvel Cinematic Universe. So here we are. The Movie Ant-Man stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, Michael Douglas as original Ant-Man Hank Pym, Evangeline Lilly as his daughter Hope Van Dyne, and Corey Stoll as evil businessman Darren Cross / Yellowjacket. Along the way we meet Lang’s family, his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson), his estranged wife Maggie (Judy Greer), and her fiancé police officer Paxton (Bobby Cannavale), as well as his surrogate family of criminals Luis (Michael Peña), Kurt (David Dastmalchian), and Dave (T.I.). After doing a five-year stint in prison for “re-appropriating” funds from his employer VistaCorp back to the customers they had been overcharging – this after he went full whistleblower and was fired – Scott Lang can’t find a steady job. And if he can’t get paid, he can’t pay his child support, so he moves in with his old cellmate Luis, who has a burglary job that is right up Scott’s alley. Rich old dude, Hank Pym, has a serious safe in his basement and there’s got to be something valuable in a huge, old safe, right? As it turns out, all that’s in the safe is what appears to be an old motorcycle suit. So Scott takes it, tries it on, and from there the chase is on, as we are treated to an amazing effects sequence as Scott shrinks to the size of an ant and is nearly killed any number of ways. Then we’re off to the races as Scott is convinced to take on the job of breaking into Pym Technologies and stealing Cross’s ultra-weaponized shrinking tech, The Yellowjacket. If you’re looking for grim and gritty, this is not the movie you’re looking for. It’s a lot of fun from the opening flashback to 1989 with a marvelously de-aged Michael Douglas resigning from S.H.I.E.L.D. (to the consternation of decently-aged Hayley Atwell‘s Peggy Carter and normally-aged John Slattery as Howard Stark). The pacing is excellent, rarely slowing down long enough to get bored and the supporting cast all does amazing work, even when they’re really not much more than broad outlines of characters. As you’ll see everywhere online, Michael Peña steals pretty much every scene he’s in, particularly when he’s detailing where he’s getting his information. Peyton Reed’s direction is just as fun and exciting as the script, keeping just enough of the flavor of what we might have seen with Edgar Wright at the helm, but embracing the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a way we might not have seen otherwise. Even the brief appearance of Anthony Mackie as The Falcon is light and fun while also providing Scott Lang with an opportunity to make his presence known on the larger stage of The Avengers’ world. One of my favorite things about this film (aside from the way it focuses on family – even ending with the stereotypical “bad” step-dad being accepted as they all have a reconciliatory dinner) is the way the action builds once we enter the final third of the film. When the heist begins, we get a smoothly orchestrated series of incursions into Pym Tech, but when it goes off the rails we start large with tanks, helicopters, and shoot-outs, before moving to the smaller-scale of Cassie’s bedroom, and then ultimately to the Microverse. This reverse escalation is both charming and thematic, opening up Ant-Man to go even weirder than last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy as he goes sub-atomic in a modern shout out to the conclusion of 2001: A Space Odyssey. And was that the shadow of a sub-atomic Wasp we got a glimpse of? Could be. The post-film peeks were both intriguing, with Pym revealing to Jan that there’s a prototype Wasp suit that he feels it’s time to get back to work on (and with the recent announcement of the Ant-Man and the Wasp sequel on the schedule for 2018, it looks like we’ll soon have another super-powered woman taking center stage!), and then a glimpse of Captain America: Civil War, things are looking very interesting in Marvel’s near future. The Extras Audio Commentary: Director Peyton Reed and star Paul Rudd spend the runtime of Ant-Man sharing entertaining anecdotes, behind-the-scenes info, and are generally all-around charming as hell. An excellent commentary track that is well worth the repeat viewing. Making of an Ant-Sized Heist: A How-To Guide (14:34): A very entertaining and informative behind-the-scenes featurette that looks at the history of the character, the casting, production design, the tech, the costuming, and pretty much every other thing you might want to know about the film EXCEPT for what happened to Edgar Wright, whose name is not mentioned once. Let’s Go to the Macroverse (8:06): A short look at the technological side of the filming and how the crew updated the Hollywood standard of filming tiny people in giant sets. There’s some interesting info here about the use of macro-lens shots and then overlaying Rudd into real environments. Fascinating, if you’re a nerd like me. Check it out below: WHIH NewsFront: A series of “news” clips from the world of Ant-Man. WHIH Promo, Vista Corp Heist, Darren Cross Interview, and Scott Lang Live. This is an intriguing extra that helps to build up the world of Ant-Man and allows the actors to really have some fun giving interviews in character to Iron Man semi-regular Leslie Bibb as Christine Everhart. Deleted & Extended Scenes (with optional commentary by Peyton Reed and Paul Rudd): Fixing the Cable (3:00), Hank Vaults the Suit (0:31), Paxton and Gale (0:22), Qubit Defense Matrix (0:31), Scott and Cassie (0:40), Wish Fulfillment (0:24), The Future of Pym Particles (1:38), and The History of Ant-Man (1:19). As you can see by the runtimes, most of these are pretty skippable. And of the extended scenes, only Fixing the Cable is really interesting, despite the fact that it’s entirely unnecessary. It’s nice to see that Reed and Rudd aren’t oblivious to this fact and all the cuts are pretty much for the better. Gag Reel: It should come as no surprise with Paul Rudd as your lead actor, that the gag reel is going to be entertaining as hell. Marvel’s Ant-Man is available now on digital and will hit shelves on DVD/Blu-ray on Dec. 8 2015! See larger image Ant-Man [Blu-ray] The next evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe harnesses the tiniest but mightiest force know to man and introduces the newest member of the Avengers: MARVEL’S ANT-MAN. Armed with the amazing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang joins forces with his new mentor Dr. Hank Pym to protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from ruthless villains! With humanity’s fate in the balance, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a daring heist against insurmountable odds. Filled with humor, awesome special effects and exclusive bonus features, this action-packed adventure takes you to new levels of pulse-pounding excitement! New From: $17.95 USD In Stock Advance Review: Ant-Man (2015) Blu-rayPaul's Rating4.0Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... 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