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Ant-Man (3D Blu-ray Review)

4 Dec, 2015 By: John Latchem

Street 12/8/15
Action Comedy
Box Office $180.07 million
$29.99 DVD, $32.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 3D Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sci-fi action violence.
Stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Anthony Mackie, Wood Harris, Judy Greer, David Dastmalchian, Martin Donovan, Michael Douglas.

In 2006, when Marvel Studios announced its initial slate, the first three films were going to be Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and Ant-Man. Sure enough, in 2008 we got Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. And in 2010, the third Marvel Studios film was … Iron Man 2.

Ant-Man was on track to be helmed by Edgar Wright, the British director behind Shaun of the Dead. Then script delays pushed production back, and in the interim the Marvel Cinematic Universe really took off, tying all the studios’ films together in a continuity that shared characters and storylines. Wright’s script needed to be modified to fit the rest of the MCU, and in 2014 he left the project and was replaced by Peyton Reed (Bring It On), paving the way for Ant-Man to finally make it to the big screen as the 12th MCU film after nearly 10 years in production.

Star Paul Rudd and filmmaker Adam McKay (Anchorman) took on the task of finalizing the script, and the result is a lighthearted romp that gives the MCU a chance to do a superhero heist movie, in keeping with its history of shifting genres.

Rudd plays Scott Lang, a genius thief recruited by scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to stop the exploitation of his shrinking technology by the new CEO (Corey Stoll) of Pym’s company. Pym was once a secret agent aided on his missions by a shrinking suit, which he hands off to Lang for the heist. And the suit lets its wearer communicate and command ants, hence the name.

The shrinking-man nature of the story means there’s a lot of visual effects to put Ant-Man in the same scale of ants and other ordinary small objects. The special effects are great, but the 3D doesn’t do much to impact the viewing experience aside from heightening detail and giving scenes a token sense of depth. The 3D is more effective when presenting the visual effects of the shrunken Ant-Man as he zips around the micro world.

Wright still shares a story credit, but the Rudd-McKay script is filled with funny moments that take full advantage of Rudd’s natural charm and comedic timing without dipping the film into utter ridiculousness. The tone is more akin to Guardians of the Galaxy as opposed to the darker seriousness of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron. In fact, Ant-Man serves as sort of an epilogue to Phase Two of the MCU, though viewers won’t need to have seen the earlier films to appreciate this one.

Despite the comedic overtones, the film is surprisingly layered with character dynamics, featuring multiple parallels of father-daughter and mentor relationships that help give the story some heft. And for the fanboys, there’s a sweet fight between Ant-Man and Falcon (Anthony Mackie), one of the better heroes from the second wave of the Avengers.

Also, keep an eye out for a cameo from Garrett Morris, thrown in as an in-joke by the filmmakers because the veteran comedian once played Ant-Man in a “Saturday Night Live” sketch in which his powers were mocked by other superheroes at a party thrown by Superman.

The Blu-ray offers an informative and hilarious commentary by Reed and Rudd in which they point out a lot of good details and behind-the-scenes tidbits, and then end up coyly discussing Ant-Man’s upcoming role in Captain America: Civil War. Fans of the film will be well served to check this out.

Also included on the Blu-ray are about nine minutes of deleted scenes (with optional commentary), a three-and-a-half-minute gag reel, about 10 minutes of MCU-set news clips about Lang’s previous exploits, a 15-minute featurette about the making of the film and an eight-minute piece about the film’s shrinking effects.

About the Author: John Latchem

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