Ant Man DVD Review

DVD Review by Jon E Clist

The Premise
Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

The Review
So here’s one thing that I have figured out about Marvel that I think has worked brilliant so far for them. Utilising comedic actors in leading man action roles. It worked brilliantly with Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy and it works well here in An-Man with Paul Rudd. One of the ways that it works well is that when the lead says a one liner or delivers a joke, they know how to do it well and it comes across as natural and funny. Often when an action star does it, there is this underlying cheese factor to it. Here in Ant-Man the laughs are good and entertaining, of course this is no surprise to Marvel films.

Paul Rudd brings this masterfully to the big screen in a well-developed performance. Just like Pratt before him, there was certainly plenty of work to be done in order to pull off the superhero conversion. According to Michael Douglas, the costume for Paul Rudd had to be altered because of his muscles. Rudd had gone on an extensive training and workout regimen in order to build the proper muscle size for a superhero, but Rudd had become so muscular, they had to soften his costume up.

However a film such as this is only as good as the ensemble cast and with Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly in the main view there is a nice level of acting class involved. An actor like Douglas can sometimes inflict too serious a tone on film, which is funny when you consider his earlier starts in comedy/action films such as Romancing The Stone. However since those earlier comedies Douglas has certainly made a name for himself as a dramatic actor. I can happily say that even though he is one of the key serious actors in this film, it adds to the flavour of the film rather than creating a battle of tones within the film.

This is definitely one of those films that could not have been made successfully ten years ago. The technology has come ahead so much that the CGI backgrounds that bring the ants and action together on the big screen is rather flawless. You could imagine based on films such as Honey I shrunk the Kids, just how rubbish it could have looked if not handled well. This has a lot to do with the collaborative relationship that Marvel has with its directors. Originally, director Edgar Wright, a big fan of Ant-Man, proposed the film to Marvel in 2003, describing it as "an action-adventure comedy; a cross-genre action and special effects bonanza." He had been developing the movie since then, shooting a test reel, hiring the cast, and was close to begin shooting the movie. Then, in 2014, he dropped out due to 'creative differences' between him and Disney, which had bought out Marvel Studios two years prior. When he left the project I think a lot of people thought that it could be the end of a good Ant-Man film. However what has come out of the partnership between the new director Peyton Reed and Disney/Marvel demonstrates what can happen with there is a shared vision.

I guess the success in blending comedy with action can also be attributed to the Peyton coming on board in the director’s chair. His experience in directing comedies such as Yes Man and The Break-Up would definitely have helped. This is something that Marvel as a studio has done well over the years, picking people that aren’t necessarily already experienced as action/blockbuster directors but do have the ability to make great films in regards to character development and story flow.

In the general Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man was originally supposed to be the first chapter of Phase Three. Now Captain America: Civil War will open Phase Three and Ant-Man has moved to the end of Phase Two. According to the filmmakers, the main theme in this film is "passing the torch". If you make sure that you stay through to the end of the credits you will get a little more insight into this.

The Verdict
The perfect blend of action and comedy brings a solid superhero experience on to the big screen.

The Trailer

The Info
DVD Releases: 2nd December 2015
Rating: PG – Contains violence and coarse language
Duration: 117 minutes 
Genre:  Sci-Fi
Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly & Hayley Atwell
Director: Peyton Reed (Yes Man, The Break Up)

The Extras

In the film, Hope van Dyne is Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne's daughter. In the comics, she was an unrelated supervillain called the Red Queen.

This will be the first time John Slattery has portrayed Howard Stark since Iron Man 2 (2010). In the interim, Dominic Cooper plays a younger version of Howard Stark in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and Agent Carter (2015).

Ant-Man's helmet is influenced by the helmets of Iron Man and the Autobot Transformer Bumblebee.

In the comics, Hank Pym created Ultron. This movie is the next Marvel movie released after Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).

Corey Stoll describes his character of Darren Cross as a shadowy version of Hank Pym: "Cross is a guy who is not that dissimilar from Michael Douglas' character Hank Pym. A brilliant scientist, who is not ethically pure. The great thing about the whole movie is that everybody is in those shades of gray."

Michael Douglas compared Hank Pym to his role as Liberace in Behind the Candelabra (2013): "Sometimes you've got to shake them up a little bit and have some fun."

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) asks Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) if it's too late to change the name of Ant-Man. Pym has had a number of superhero titles throughout the Ant-Man comics, including Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket and Wasp.