The question that has plagued man for centuries was finally answered this past Friday. Paul Rudd proves a man the size of an ant can score huge. Ant-Man as a Marvel character has always been present yet just left of the center stage. Figures like Spiderman, Hulk, Iron-Man, and the top billed Avengers have always outshines and out produced heroes like the Ant-Man. Over a dozen Marvel hero films have been released and accumulated enough money to demonstrate a want and need for these films. However it is still a gamble to release an Ant-Man. Even in print, to a degree, this character was marginalized. Why was it successful? What is the answer? Do we love the movie or are we all caught up in the machine?
Thanks to the figures posted by IMDB we can say the flick made bank. Earning over 57 million the Ant-Man contends with all the superhero opening weekends. The amount of money these Marvel films have collectively accumulated is obscene. Yet, it would be more obscene not to make and take that cash. Regardless this was a wholly Disney picture. Roughly 4 years ago when the company behind the Magic Kingdom decided to make the muti-billion dollar purchase Marvel was on the rise. The Avengers had assembled and the proof was in the pudding.
The evidence of Marvels new parent company wasn’t absent but certainly less prominent then it was in Ant-Man. Apart from the obvious “It’s A Small World” (whistle while you work) tie in, the tone of the film was very Disney. Now as Jack Donaghy from 30 Rock has taught us “we must never bad mouth synergy” and this time he is right. Marvel superheroes have always appealed to children yet the films maintain a level of parental quality as well. In my discussions and considerations of this flick I have discovered this to be the issue most contend with when rating Ant-Man.
No doubt the movie was enjoyable and we approve. It had all the right stuff. There was action, adventure, intrigue, romance and fun. These elements answer at least one of the above mentioned questions. We like the movie for itself. (“The Machine” I spoke of we will discuss shortly) Having made this statement I find the common rating to 4 out of 5 stars. We liked it but we didn’t love it.
The film was Disney made for kids. And there is nothing wrong with that. We adults enjoyed it and the nerds among us are always glad to see another Stan Lee property up on the screen. Furthermore, Ant-Man of all the heroes lends himself to a younger audience. He shrinks to “fun size” contends with the obstacles left on the ground most often by children. The entire tone was designed, rightfully for the target audience.
Paul Rudd too, catered to the younger fun loving crowed. He understood the awesome power his performance would have. For the adults and mature nerd fans, his believability as the Ant-Man was huge. If he sucked the movie would die on the vine and only make the token amount for an opening weekend. Thankfully this flick has legs and will continue to earn. Further, Paul Rudd is a consummate actor. Don’t be fooled by his comedy credentials and think he has no range. Rudd is one of those glue actors that make everything in a flick work well. He’s the supporting actor that let’s the lead shine while legitimizing the material.
Now that we know the movie works and understand why let’s briefly discuss the “Machine”. To keep it it short I’m referring to the follower mentality. Most people will see Disney on a marque or hear that its another Marvel heroes flick and everyone will decide to love it apropos of nothing. If you love flicks blindly do not call yourself a fan. In fact be clear on the point that loving movies is separate from having to love every movie. These Marvel movies have high and low points which we must recognize. For example Iron Man, the spine with which the universe was built died with the third installment. (I promise to bash that in an article all it’s own) That flick does not ruin the others. Be able to distinguish poor story from poor characters. The prime example is “Guardians of the Galaxy”. This was a bottom of the barrel Comic-Book property that worked on every level. By rights that should have failed. Few people heard of it and just as many people knew Chris Pratt. Because of quality performance, great direction, and master story crafting it paved the road for Ant-Man production.
See the flick it does the job and Paul deserves your support. He earned his super hero credit and it’s success will lead to more “B-level” heroes getting their own movies.
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