Monday, 20 July 2015

Review: Ant-Man (second-pass)

World of Blackout Film Review

Ant-Man (3D) Poster

Ant-Man (3D / D-Box / second-pass)
Cert: 12A / 117 mins / Dir. Peyton Reed / Trailer
WoB Rating: 6/7

So I read this article (also linked in my previous review) in which Avengers writer/director Joss Whedon says:
"Somebody said, ‘Well, that was a great setup for the next thing!’ in one of the test screenings, and I died inside. [Marvel executives] were like, ‘No! They say that all the time, it’s fine.’ I was like, ‘No, that’s the worst thing I could have heard.’ I want people to come out feeling done."

…and while I feel for Mr Whedon, I have to admit that the reaction of the audience-member in question isn't a million miles away from my own over Marvel's latest saga-installment, Ant-Man. Apart from the fact that it's slightly counter-intuitive to run mid/post-credits teasers for the next film in the series if you're going to complain when people leave the cinema rubbing their hands in anticipation for three/six/eight months time, and apart from the fact that the script for Ant-Man is littered with both references to the previous movies and setups/foreshadowing for future ones, the bottom line is that it's part of a steadily expanding series, and not really an individual movie.

It could certainly be enjoyed as a standalone if a viewer hadn't seen any of the previous MCU flicks, but structurally, the film is basically Captain America all over again: A well-meaning, if troubled, young man is given a shot at greatness by an enigmatic mentor who's been working on a scientific means of enhancement, so that he can a) grow as a person and character (à la The Hero's Journey), and b) settle a score for the mentor by vanquishing his enemy who is using an ideologically twisted version of that same enhancement as a tool to gain power. It's not a new structure for storytelling, of course, but it's not even a new concept for this series.

So if audiences distract themselves from that thematic hurdle by reading the portents and hints you've left in plain sight, don't get too disheartened, okay? From a business point-of-view you're doing it right, and if they're leaving the screening-room with smiles on their faces, you're doing well in terms of the long-term story, too ;)

Plus, if you want to keep your audience's attention on the right-now, maybe stop dropping shit like this?

* cough *

Anyway, as you may have gathered, I caught Ant-Man again at the weekend, this time in eye-popping 3D and in D-Box. The 3D is well-enough implemented but, like most live-action movies, isn't in any way essential for enjoyment of the film. It seems odd that these movies are released in 3D as default now, yet there still aren't that many '3D moments' in them, which suggests a lack of confidence as far as the cinematography is concerned. The D-Box on the other hand is essentially a plush leather seat which gently sways when characters are in the air, gently thrums when characters are in a car, and shakes like fuck when things are getting broken. Which, in a movie like this, is quite a lot of the time (although each seat is adjustable). Like the 3D, once you adapt to it, it's quite fun (if a little distracting) and in no way makes for a better movie. It's not that I'll never sit in D-Box again, but it probably won't be until Star Wars, put it that way.

In more film-related news, I'm glad to say that Ant-Man's smaller plot-points make more sense the second time around (as is standard form for the MCU), but I still think the film's a little scattershot at times and doesn't make full use of its lead actor. But it's still bloody good fun. As with Guardians of the Galaxy, the film's humour works better when you're watching with a large audience, so see it sooner rather than later.

The 3D's not really necessary, the D-Box even less so, but the bigger the screen you see Ant-Man on, the better.

And stay 'til the end.

Is this film worth paying £10+ to see?
You could pay your money and see something a lot worse, put it that way.

Well, I don't like the cinema. Buy it, rent it, or wait for it to be on telly?
I'll be buying it, but probably once the BluRay comes down to a tenner.

Does this film represent the best work of the leading performer(s)?
With the best will in the world, no.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
It achieves what Marvel set out to do; I'd genuinely love to hear Edgar Wright's thoughts on it.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Not a lot.

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Watching it again, I still can't hear one, no.

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
Ant-Man stars Evangeline Lilly who played Tauriel in the Hobbit movies, alongside Sir Christopher 'Dooku' Lee.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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