Thursday, July 23, 2015

Discuss: Ant-Man! And, Spoil It All You Want!

Karen: OK, the movie has been out for nearly a week -go ahead and discuss it freely (that includes SPOILERS)!

Doug: We'll start, as we have in the past with some banter lifted over to this site from some email exchanges we've shared in the past few days. Obviously then you follow (for those of you who have seen the flick) with agreements and disagreements of your own. Again, if you've not seen the film and don't want to know about it, then get the heck out of here now!

Doug: Going to see Ant-Man at 1:30 on Monday (7/20/15). My oldest son saw it today (7/18/15). He liked it; says it has a good sense of humor. Said the two end of credits scenes were big.

Karen: We saw Ant-Man yesterday (7/18/15) and I enjoyed it. I wasn’t expecting much nor was I that excited about it but it was a fun film. I’d probably give it a solid B. They managed to make shrinking look cool. I agree with your boy, the two credit scenes were really good!

Doug: I just saw it and loved it! It's not better than either of the Avengers or either of the Cap films, but I think I enjoyed it more than Iron Man 3. Shoot -- if you melded the two Thor films together you'd get one great Thor film. So I'd rank this right in the thick of the Marvel Studios pictures.

Doug: Loved the humor in the film. I think Marvel is onto something with Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man. Not that I'm saying all of their films should be borderline comedies, but it's a refreshing sort of humor -- not fall-flat humor like they attempt with the annoying lab asst. in the Thor movies.
Karen: I really enjoyed it as well. I liked that it was light and fun, that it didn't take itself seriously yet didn't spoof the material. It walked a fine line, knowing how to work the humor of the premise and yet not turn the whole thing into a joke. One of the trailers we got with it was for "Batman v. Superman" and I kept returning to the contrast between the two. Frankly, I like some humor in my super-hero films. They're people in costumes with super-powers running around doing fantastic things -there should be some light moments!

Doug: The Special effects were good, and I just loved the final battle in the play room. It really evoked some of the Dick Sprang Batman comics. I thought the effects folks did a nice job of giving off the idea that Scott Lang was really shrinking and growing, rather than disappearing and reappearing.
Karen: One thing they did very well was convince me how neat shrinking powers are. I never thought I would say that. The rapid-fire shrinking and growing were brilliantly executed, and the scenes from the ant-sized perspective were fantastic. I nearly came out of my seat during the trip to "sub-atomica" or however you want to call it. That was extremely well done, just like something out of the comics. In fact, I wonder if they didn't look at some Kirby or Ditko books to get that right!

Doug: I loved the scene with the Wasp, and am already looking forward to the new Wasp. Easily Stan Lee's best cameo. Hilarious. And hey -- did I spy Garrett Morris? I sure think I did! Did you have the one cop as Julius from "Remember the Titans"?
 Karen: The flashback to the scene with the original Ant-Man and Wasp was just wonderful, even if we only got to see them briefly. I love the idea of these heroes existing prior to Iron Man and the others. And we do have the promise of a Wasp in the future...
Garrett Morris' cameo was inspired! I started laughing loudly, and I guess I was the only person in the theater who remembered that SNL sketch! "Hey Hulk, this guy's got the strength of a human!" 

Doug: I would have sworn at some point either Pym or Rudd would have used the blue ring to become Giant-Man. Not totally disappointed, but definitely see it coming in the future.

And do you suppose Sebastian Stan's 10 seconds on screen counts for his 9-picture contract?
Karen: The throwdown with the Falcon was a real thrill. I felt so bad for Sam...but it was great to see the two go at it. And the whole set up -"You idiots, that's not a warehouse!" -classic. I really like how this film integrated other elements of the Marvel universe in a way that didn't seem forced, but natural. It also didn't feel like it had to shape itself to support future films, which is something I think has hurt some of the other movies.

That last clip in the credits was a nice glimpse at Civil War -I heard it was an actual scene from the movie.  I was glad to see the Winter Soldier though; we were hearing so much about it being Cap vs Iron Man that it seemed like they'd forgotten about him, and I felt like Cap 3 needed to carry over his arc from the second Cap film.


Redartz said...

Took my grandson to see it over the weekend. We both enjoyed it hugely (saw the first post credits clip, but missed the second-rats!). I fully agree with your comments above regarding the tone of the film. It was refreshingly humorous, but not silly or campy. The action scenes were great, and as you (Karen and Doug) mentioned, the shrinking/growing effects were very well done.

There were loads of 'Easter eggs" for comics fans; I noted the "Milgrom Hotel" and towards the end, there was a sign reading "Giffen" which went by too quick for me to identify further. The use of the Falcon was a surprise treat, as were the references to the original Ant Man and Wasp.

Paul Rudd made a fine Scott Lang, and Michael Douglas was convincing as Hank. Perhaps not who I might have picked for the part, but it worked! Evangeline Lilly also did well, and one can certainly see hints of Jan Pym's hairstyle in Evangeline's. She will make a fine Wasp 2.

In short, a good, fun film which really stayed true to it's comic book roots, paying homage to them without losing the modern aspects of the Marvel film world. I'd recommend the movie to anyone...

Martinex1 said...

Karen and Doug, I agree with everything you said about the movie. I thought it was very enjoyable and would rank it in the middle of the pack of the Marvel movies, definitely better than expected.

I referenced yesterday what I liked about it. It was a solo, scaled down, Marvel story with no crushed cities and no screaming populace. It was a character building adventure. Yet, it developed the Marvel Universe with the touch on the Quantum Realm (Microverse).

I liked its light heartedness. Marvel throughout the silver and bronze ages was very tongue in cheek, and I think this film captured that element and did so better than the Spider Man movies where you might expect more quick wittedness. If you think about some of the story elements of Ant Man: prison terms, child custody and visitation, grief for the loss of the original Wasp, broken families, etc, it could have been a very gloomy and serious and sad tale. But I felt early Marvel comics always looked at those type of real life elements through a different prism; they had a perspective that added hope and humor and heroism. I think that this movie did that as well. As Karen alluded to earlier, DC’s movies tend to dwell on the despair. Surely the recent Batman movies wallowed in the dark and the new Superman v Batman looks no different. But Ant Man… Ant Man took a different approach. It had a clear motif of hope.

The action was great. The briefcase fight and backyard battle were inspired. I liked the supporting characters. This may seem minor, but I thought that the way they portrayed Scott’s ex’s fiancé was good. He was obviously at odds with Scott but for good reason, yet he was a good man and not a doofus. He cared about his family and was a hero in his own right. I liked that it was a bit outside of the stereotype.

And I have to say I liked how they portrayed Hank Pym. I’m a fan of the comic’s Pym (at least in the glory days). And when I first heard the news that they were leaving him out of the Ultron movie and in Ant Man they were passing the torch to Scott Lang, I was a little disappointed. But I have to say that I liked the movie version. I think Michael Douglas did a great job; and I think Hank’s story beats for some reason hit the right notes. He too was a hero, but a different type of hero… driven for sure, but a little angry and sad and maybe just a touch of disturbed. I mean here is a brilliant guy that is so protective of both his daughter and the powers he created, but who is also difficult and likeable. And for the first time it struck me that maybe it is a little odd to be so into ants.'

I also liked the villain. Now, I never wanted Yellowjacket to be villainous in this way, but there has been a fair amount of criticism of the villain Cross’s motivations. But I think it was well suited. He was just starved for attention in a very personal way. I thought a very simple line in the film said it all about him, when he seems to have caught Hope he instead says, “How do I look?” That was his entire motivation… he wanted to look “ in charge”, look more brilliant than Pym, have his name on the building, etc.

Yesterday, when we talked about events, this was the type of small story that I was referring to that I like. There is no doubt that if this group of characters (Hank, Hope, Scott, his family, his friends) are threatened in future films that I will care that they are threatened… because I like them and know them a bit.

I look forward to the Wasp. And it was fantastic that they even thought of having the Garrett Morris cameo. And finally, here is a Thomas the Train adventure that didn’t bore me to tears.

pete doree said...

I agree with most of what everybody's said, and I liked it better as it went along, but did feel it was a bit by rote and even a little bit lazy.
Let's face, the populace in general will see it not because it's Ant-Man, but because it's another Marvel movie ( they could do Brother Voodoo or Bloodstone at this point and sell tickets ) - The audience know what they're getting, and that's exactly what you do get, with no real surprises. Guardians, by comparison, felt different and risky and original.
I hate to sound jaded 'cos I'm really not, I liked the cast, and all the gags, and the action was great, and I'm not asking for genuinely risky film-making as it's all too big for Marvel to do that now. I just feel that, if they're not careful, audiences will get bored of the 'generic' Marvel movie style, and that is slightly how Ant Man feels.

William said...

I really liked this movie. I saw it in 3-D and it was like being on a roller coaster sometimes. My stomach actually did flips in certain moments. Like when Scott first shrinks in the bathtub.

I've mentioned on here before that one of my all-time very favorite comic stories was the two-part origin of Scott Lang as Ant-Man, "To Steal An Ant-Man". And I was extremely happy to see that they (somewhat) adapted that story for the movie. I thought Paul Rudd did a great job as Scott and Ant-Man, and I loved the overall lighthearted tone of the film. Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, and Corey Stoll where all really good as well. In fact, pretty much everyone in the movie did a fine job of acting. And the little girl was adorable. Michael Pena got a little close to being borderline annoying in a couple of scenes, but he didn't quite step over that line.

I also loved the Garret Morris cameo, and I immediately knew exactly why it was included. Big props to the movie makers for paying homage to that SNL skit.

My favorite scene of the movie had to be the fight between Falcon and Ant-Man. I've always been a sucker for a good superhero throw-down.

It was a bit of a surprise that they made Yellowjacket a bad guy, but I've always preferred the Ant-Man identity to Yellowjacket, so I'm glad they will be sticking with that. And I loved their fight at the end. It was also funny that they kept the giant ant as a pet. Love those bits of offhanded humor that were peppered throughout the movie.

The two after credits scenes were both cool. I saw a lot of people leave after the first one. Fools! Don't they know you should always stick around till all the credits have rolled in a Marvel movie? That final scene was pretty cool. Looks like Cap and Falc finally captured Bucky. But I have to say, I am not all that excited for "Civil War", as I really really really despised that story in the comics. In fact, it was the main catalyst that made me stop buying any new comics. So, I'll just have to wait and see how they handle it in the movies.

Overall I'd say that Ant-Man falls fifth in my ranking of Marvel Studios Movies:

1. Avengers
2. Avengers: Age of Ultron
3. Captain America: Winter Soldier
4. Ant-Man
5. Iron Man (the original)
etc. etc.

So, I would definitely recommend seeing it.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen Ant-Man yet, but all the comments I've read make me much more interested in seeing it than before its release. The more small scale story sounds refreshing after Avengers 2.

To build on some earlier comments: Could it be that Marvel is rushing for the big epic storylines of Civil War and Infinity Gauntlet because the studio realizes that the movies have a limited life span and the audience will soon dry up if they don't keep upping the ante?


david_b said...

Geez, frankly I didn't know it was out yet...

The previews look pretty awesome. I'd agree they took the right approach in terms of audience fascination with his powers, the surrealness of his shrinking perspective and overall humorous side-effects.


pfgavigan said...


I intended to see the picture earlier this week, but had to delay because of automobile issues that have been resolved so I'll be catching it soon.

I noticed Karen didn't care much for the Darcy Lewis character in the Thor movies. I understand this, but looking at the actress I think she would have been absolutely perfect to play a classic character from the Lee/Steranko era of Captain America. Green high lights in the hair, green lipstick and green catsuit and you've got the perfect Madame Hydra.


J.A. Morris said...

I enjoyed it, not great, but just about on par with the Thor movies and better than the Hulk films. Would it have been a better movie with Edgar Wright directing? I'm a big fan of his work, but who knows.

Karen said...

Actually PF, that was Doug who found Darcy annoying -I could take her or leave her, although the "this is going on Facebook" moment was classic.

I'm really not sold on Evangeline Lily, but then again, her character was supposed to be unpleasant, at least for 2/3rd of the film. It'll be interesting to see how she does in whatever movie she next shows up. I've read she won't be in Civil War.

I was also hoping for a 'Giant-Man' moment, but I do think we'll get that at a critical point later on, perhaps in the next Avengers film?

pfgavigan said...


Sorry Karen, my apologies for the presumption, just going back and forth between the conversation points and I guess I got lost.

Entirely my fault.

By the way, Darcy Lewis seems to be very popular with the fanfic authors. I wonder why?


Doug said...

Hey, everyone --

I've been thinking that I need school to start again so that I can be more regular here moderating these conversations. ;)

I meant to get back to the original post and make another mention about something that I've liked, and that's the continuing appearances of Peggy Carter. We've seen her now as a 70-something and as a 90-something (?!?) and I think it's great that she (and Cap) serve as the sort of glue holding this MCU together temporally. That Howard Stark also made an appearance seemed nice as well. I thought Pym's line that if he wouldn't give his research to one Stark, he sure wasn't going to give it to another (Tony, when Lang suggested that the Avengers be brought in to deal with the Yellowjacket Program) was great and fit with my liking of the Carter reappearances. Now if somewhere along the way we could get an MCU retcon that Howard Stark created the Original Human Torch, seen in the first Cap film, that would be alright with me.

And yes, PFG, it's me who doesn't like that ditzy girl in the Thor films. Her script is just an example of trying to hard to shoehorn funniness into an action picture. That sort of thing works great with the banter between Stark and Pepper, but really seems forced in a Thor flick.

My ranking of MCU films would be similar to William's, although I'm not certain but that I would have Winter Soldier at the top or at least tied with the first Avengers film. So, for controversy's sake:

1. Avengers
2. Winter Soldier
3. Iron Man
4. Avengers: Age of Ultron
5. Captain America
6. Ant-Man (?)


Anonymous said...

Yeah I saw it last Sunday. First off, I think it was great, certainly better than I expected. The special effects team did a superb job of portraying Ant-man's shrinking abilities as well as the perspective of a human shrunk down to that size. I was amused when Ant-Man and Yellowjacket were fighting on the miniature train set; from their perspective they're throwing a giant train carriage at each other, but from a human-sized perspective a dinky toy train is tipping over!

The general light hearted tone of the film was appropriate for such a character, and Paul Rudd nailed his portrayal of Scott Lang, although like Doug I'm a purist who hoped to see Hank Pym in action as Ant-Man or even Giant-Man. By the way, it still irks me that we never saw so much as a glimpse of Giant-Man or the Wasp in the Avengers movies. What a way to treat your founding members!

The fight with the Falcon was good too, and it sure was funny when Paul Rudd said 'I'm the Ant-man' as if the Falcon would say 'hey we're superheroes! Welcome to the club buddy!'.

I saw the first mid-credits scene where Hope is shown the Wasp costume. When she said 'it's about damn time' I said to myself 'you sure got that right!'. While I love all of the Marvel movies so far, I think they've missed the boat on representing their wide stable of female characters onscreen. Sure, we have the Black Widow in the Avengers movies, but what about the rest of their female heroes? I hope they rectify that with upcoming movies featuring Captain Marvel and others. As I've said many times before, this is one area where DC could upstage Marvel especially with Wonder Woman.

Can you believe it - I missed the second credits scene! OK I had to go to the bathroom ... anyway, it does look like Ant-Man will be in Civil War, so that's something good. Let's hope it will be at least as good as Winter Soldier.

All in all, I rated it as a good solid Marvel movie. Was it the greatest? Nope, but it definitely was enjoyable. Excelsior!

- Mike 'Do they sell Pym Particles at Walmart?' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Martinex1 said...

I would rank the first Iron Man above Ant Man, but not the sequels. And I liked both Caps better. And I think Guardians of the Galaxy was very enjoyable. But the Thor movies, Hulk, were less enjoyable. So for me it was in the middle of the pack which is not bad at all.

I did like the call out to "Tales to Astonish" in one of Corey Stalls' speeches.

Edo Bosnar said...

On the subject of the Ant Man movie, I just came across a nice little piece on it by none other than Roy Thomas.

Garett said...

I saw this movie last week and really enjoyed it! I've never been a fan of Ant Man in the comics. But the humour here, and the cast, win you over. I thought the first third or half of the movie was on the slow side, but then picks up big time. By the end I was longing to see the sequel.

Edo Bosnar said...

Finally got around to seeing this today; like almost everyone else here, I really enjoyed it. Something that surprised me is that I really liked the characterization of Hank Pym, as performed by Michael Douglas. This is the first movie I think I've liked Douglas in since Romancing the Stone (as you may suspect, I'm not his biggest fan).
However, I would make one criticism that sort of echoes the point made by Mike from T&T, i.e., Hope and the short shrift Marvel's female heroes/characters tend to get in these movies. Although Hank's rationale for refusing to allow his daughter to put on the suit and go on the mission is plausible, the fact that she didn't just disobey him and do it herself isn't (at least not by Marvel logic). The point is cemented with the post-credit scene. After I saw that, I found myself thinking, 'why didn't they just make a Wasp movie from the start?'
Still, as I said, overall I liked the movie, and I hope (bad pun, I know) we'll see the Wasp kicking some butt in future Marvel films.

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