FANTASIA REVIEW: Ant-Man conquers the Superhero genre

  • Ant-Man wins everyone over with his boyish can-do spirit and with a little help from friends.

This year, Fantasia Film Festival opened with the Quebec premier of 2015’s “biggest” Hollywood superhero blockbuster, Ant-Man.

The all-star familiar cast sets the comedic tone of the film. Unlikely underdog, Scott Lang AKA Ant-Man, (played by Paul Rudd) is the happy-go-lucky optimist trying to do the right thing for his family. But his golden heart led him to burgling—not “robbing”—scamming big corporations and returning the money back to its working-class victims. He gets caught and is outcast by society, including a hilarious scene at Baskin Robbins of him getting fired for disguising his silicon-era “Robin” Hood heists and conviction.

Lang is also distrusted by the authorities in the form of his ex-wife, Maggie Lang, (played by Judy Greer), and her new cop-detective husband, Paxton (Bobby Cannavale), who refuses to give Lang a second chance at redemption, while denying him visitation rights to his adorable infant daughter.

Soon enough, Lang “becomes the hero he’s always been.” While trying to stay on the straight and narrow, Lang eventually finds himself doing whatever it takes to regain the trust of his family and society just to find the cruel and rigid rules of society burden on an ex-con pushes him back into the life of crime—only to launch him into the life of a superhero.

While burgling an old and benign billionaire, Dr. Hank Pym, (Michael Douglas) whose secret identity is the original Ant-Man, steals the Ant-Man suit giving Lang the power to shrink to microscopic levels while packing the same density and full wallop of a full-sized man.

Under Pym’s tutelage and, eventually, his unreceptive and overqualified daughter to take on Ant-Man’s legacy, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), Lang learns to harness the power of the suit, control ants and martial arts.

Turning this underdog into the heroic David against Goliath, mad corporate scientist and prodigal son under Pym, Darren Cross AKA Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll) who plans to sell Pym’s shrinking formula to super villains incorporated, Hydra.

Ant-Man has all the hallmark familiar tropes of the superhero action genre—like the buddy comedy routine between Rudd and Douglas and alternatively, Michael Peña, as the token Latino comic relief. The optimistic Lang wins over everyone and gets the girl too, but goes through a moment of self-doubt until he discovers the love of a good woman who reawakens him to realize his greatness at her own expense (or maybe?).

Unlike the graveyard of superhero comedy features—such as the unmentionable Sam Raimi Spiderman 3 debacle— Ant-Man delivers with its hilarious banter, good casting, geek references hinting towards Marvel Universe crossover and IMAX eye-candy microscopic spectacle. This is the ideal superhero film to watch in 3-D this summer.

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