Monday, 20 July 2015

REVIEW - ANT-MAN (PEYTON REED)


A sprightly little superhero movie that runs under two hours and yet runs itself into the ground far sooner. If one is to compare Ant-Man against the artistic merits of every other Marvel movie, I suppose it's as mediocre as the rest of them; if one is to resist the swarm and compare it against a measure of quality that stretches far, far beyond that of Marvel's purview, then mediocre is more than this film merits. Marvel, for it is they who made this movie and not the vast team of writers, directors, editors and the like who may have dabbled in it at one stage or another, seem innately incapable of reconciling the bombast of their creative impulses with any of their product's need for a different approach - Ant-Man is an intentionally smaller film than their bigger (Bruce) banner fare, yet it bears an identical visual style, story structure and set-piece scope. Often, the process of diminishing the scale of its protagonist serves mainly to render a less expansive environment more expansive again, thus mitigating any purpose this film might have served in the context of this mega-franchise. Ant-Man ends up not so much reduced in size but restricted. It's also among the studio's most aggressively antiquated films, socially - or, in this case, passive-aggressively. What notions it establishes about the inevitable triumph of the supposedly superior Straight White American Male may appear to dissipate as an action-oriented drive takes over, but they're merely being served less visibly than in similar movies, and the conclusion remains unchanged. As with many blockbuster studio pictures, strong production values and a healthy budget yield a few saving graces: in Ant-Man's case, these include a charming performance from Michael Pena, a terrific (though brief, perhaps appropriately) action sequence set inside a briefcase and lots of ants. I think ants are delightful. I wish them all the best.