Sunday, January 3, 2016

Review: Ant-Man (Updated)

Leonard has finally seen Ant-Man!  Woohoo!  I'm not sure the spoiler warning is entirely necessary as my Unit and I were probably the last two people to see the film for the first time, but here it is nonetheless:

Spoilers Below!

I'll start off by saying that I did very much enjoy it.  I had heard some differing opinions after it first came out, so my only expectations were to be entertained by more Marvel goodness, and the movie did that.  It is definitely more of a comedy than some of the more recent Marvel films.  The Avengers universe has been getting fairly dark lately, with bits of comedy and funny lines tossed in; Ant-Man is comedy and funny lines with semi-dark bits tossed in.

My Unit and I both agreed that we like Paul Rudd as an actor.  He's funny, and his "boyish charm," as they call it, works well for this particular kind of comedy.
My Unit:  "I like him.  He's a good actor."
Me:  "Me, too.  He's very 
likable on screen."
Her:  "Which means he's probably a huge asshole in real life."
After seeing the movie on opening weekend, a friend of mine commented on the dialogue.  She said it was pretty cheesy and at times she couldn't believe someone was paid to write it. I kept an ear out for that, and there was only one bit of dialogue that rang false when it happened.  It was during the scene with Hope and Scott in the car, and he's explaining to her why her dad (Dr. Pym) won't let her do this job (more on that bit in a moment).  When Rudd says, "I'm expendable," it just sounded flat and fake to my ears.  I'm not sure if that's a dialogue issue or an acting issue, but those handful of lines did not ring true.

Speaking of the car scene:  I saw it coming -- this is the "dramatic moment" where we convince you we're right, your dad is right, that a person has to fight for the right thing to do, yadda yadda yadda.  You know these scenes; they happen in every superhero movie (and sometimes in Ocean's 11).  While I'll admit I wasn't expecting the "I'm expendable" bit (I was only expecting Scott to tell her why her dad wouldn't let her go, not why it's okay for him to go instead; there's a difference), the whole scene felt a bit drawn-out, as in:
Your dad isn't letting you go on this mission because he already lost your mother; he can't lose you, too, Hope!!!  Are you new here?!?  This has been implied since the first flashback scene in 1989 where we heavily airbrushed your dad!!!

I was surprised that it took over half of the movie for someone to say this out loud because it was subtext (and barely "sub") in almost every fucking scene.  C'mon, Hope!  Get it together!

The movie also reinforced Leonard's creepy talent for saying lines (verbatim) before they're said on screen in things we have never ever seen before.  Either the writing is just that predictable, or Leonard is just that creepy and clairvoyant -- probably some combination thereof (see also True Lies, Prison Break, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Bones, and Lewis Black's stand-up).

Edited to Add:  Oh my God, I can't believe I forgot this part in the original review!  Ant-Man reinforces Leonard's theory that if a character is bald, they must be evil.  Laugh if you will, but check out:

  • Captain America:  The First Avenger
  • Iron Man  
  • Iron Man 2
  • Daredevil
  • Superman
  • Avengers:  Age of Ultron
  • The Harry Potter series
That, of course, does not mean that all villains are bald (helloooo, Loki!).  But if you are bald, you have a 70-90% chance of being evil, unless your name is Jean-Luc Picard.

The other piece of criticism comes from my very astute Unit.  When Scott and the Pyms realize they have to "expand their team" and their bring in Scott's criminal friends (who are, admittedly, kinda funny), my Unit says, "I'm kind of uncomfortable with the racist stereotypes they're portraying here."  And she's right.  The criminals without Master's degrees in Electrical Engineering are our only non-white named characters:  a black who is the get away car driver, a Hispanic guy with a van that plays "La Cucaracha," and a vaguely Eastern European guy with a thick accent who believes in gypsies.

Wow.  When you type it out like that, it's kind of disgusting -- not to mention the fact that all three are used for comic relief.  And while I know actual individuals with the same senses of humor and speech patterns of these three characters (minus the criminal element), it's a pretty good (read: "horrible") example of continued racism in Hollywood.

With all that being said, will I still purchase the DVD?  Yes, I will.  Will I continue to watch it and laugh at the funny stuff?  Yes, I will.  Am I a horrible human being?  Sometimes.  Depends on the day.

Just remember:  Baskin Robbins always finds out.

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