Ant-Man Review
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A couple of months ago, Marvel kicked off yet another Summer Blockbuster Season with the overstuffed ensemble action of Avengers: Age of Ultron. It was so big, so explosive, and so over-the-top that the follow-up, Ant-Man, seems positively puny in comparison. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Ant-Man follows the story of Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), a gifted scientist who cut ties with S.H.I.E.L.D. years ago, after learning that they were trying to replicate the Pym Particle, which would allow them to squeeze particles together to make powerful, ant-sized soldiers. Now, Pym’s former protégé, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), is close to figuring out the formula, which he intends to sell to the highest bidder.

  
 
To prevent the technology from getting into the wrong hands, Pym enlists ex-con Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to don the original Ant-Man suit and steal Cross’s prototype.

In the Marvel universe, each hero has his own individual style, which sets the tone for his solo films. Iron Man, for instance, is sharp and sarcastic. Captain America is honorable and patriotic. Thor is grand and majestic. And Ant-Man is lovably bumbling.

Paul Rudd isn’t the guy you’d expect to step into a super suit and take on HYDRA—but that’s exactly what makes him so much fun to watch. He’s charming and likable and shamelessly silly. And his character is a mostly-ordinary guy who’s placed in an extraordinary situation—a fish out of water who tends to mask his uncertainty with bad jokes and a kind of self-conscious swagger. Though the world may be in grave danger yet again, Scott prepares for battle with a lopsided grin always on his face—and that helps to give the film a light and even enjoyably campy feel.

Really, though, the story demands a light and campy tone. After all, audiences can’t be expected to take a movie about a tiny superhero who charges in at the head of an army of ants seriously. Without the right comic lead—a guy who’s clearly in on the joke—it would seem painfully ridiculous. But, with the guidance of comic director Peyton Reed, Rudd gets the tone just right, gleefully leading the way on an action-packed 3D thrill ride though the tiniest of places.

Frivolous and fun and sometimes blatantly goofy, Ant-Man is this year’s Guardians of the Galaxy—only with ants instead of aliens. It definitely isn’t as dark or dramatic or imposing as some other superhero movies, but for those who prefer comic book adventures that place a strong emphasis on the comic, it’s the perfect summer popcorn flick.


Digital Copy Review:
You don’t have to pick up the Blu-ray release of Marvel’s tiniest superhero adventure to get a look behind the scenes of this fun-filled thriller. Just add the digital copy to your Disney Movies Anywhere account, and you’ll have instant access to plenty of extras.

Digital special features include some of the standards—like a number of deleted scenes (one of which includes commentary with director Peyton Reed and star Paul Rudd) and a silly gag reel, compete with improv, dancing, and other on-set wackiness.

Other extras include Let’s Go to the Macroverse, which discusses the challenges of making an all-new shrinking movie, and Making of an Ant-Sized Heist: A How-To Guide, which goes behind the scenes to discuss everything from casting and costumes to stunts and training. It also takes some time to discuss the characters—and how they’ll fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

You’ll also find four related shorts, featuring news reports and interviews with characters. Though the first two—surveillance footage from Scott’s original heist and a Wired Insider interview with Darren Cross—are interesting, the two that report on Scott’s release from prison seem a little too cheap and cheesy for Marvel.

Once you pick up your digital copy, though, be sure to check out some of these extras. I recommend starting with the gag reel and the making-of—because both will give you an inside look into the action, effects, and behind-the-scenes fun that went into making Marvel’s shrunken-down superhero movie.


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