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Review: Ant-Man BD + Screen Caps

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Ant-Man may just be a middle-of-the-road flick compared with the other MCU films, but it’s still fairly enjoyable if not filled with plot holes and inconsistencies that I could easily overlook due to the entertainment factor and a well rounded cast headlined by Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas.

 

 

Ant-Man
(2015)


REVIEW NAVIGATION

The Movie
| Special Features | Video Quality | Audio Quality | Overall

Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Crime, Comedy
Buena Vista | PG13 – 117 min. – $39.99 | December 8, 2015

MOVIE INFO:
Directed by:
Peyton Reed
Writer(s): Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish (story), Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish and Adam McKay & Paul Rudd (screenplay)
Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Corey Stall, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Pena, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Judy Greer
DISC INFO:
Features:
Commentary, Deleted/Extended Scenes, Featurettes
Digital Copy: Yes
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 7.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 39.7 GB (2D), 38.3 GB (3D)
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C


** Click Here to Purchase Ant-Man on 3D Blu-ray from Amazon.com
**


THE MOVIE – 3.5/5

Marvel has done it again but unlike The Avengers, Iron Man (at least its sequels) and Thor, it would seem something like Ant-Man (not to mention Guardians of the Galaxy) would be a tougher sell but thanks to the others in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this one was able to thrive interweaving previous storylines and characters while also allowing new viewers to follow the story. This isn’t to say it’s a great movie as it heavily dives into various tropes from the heist genre yet it’s still entertaining.

Ant-Man opens in the late 1980s where brilliant scientist Dr. Hank Prym (MICHAEL DOUGLAS), at the beginnings of the old SHIELD headquarters, confronts Howard Stark (JOHN SLATTERY) and Mitchell Carson (MARTIN DONOVAN), SHIELD’s head of defense, about relinquishing his incredible shrinking formula which he will not. Fast forward decades later at Pym Technologies, a company Hank created to develop new inventions, is run by Darren Cross (COREY STALL) after taking over control by a vote swung by Hank’s own daughter, Hope van Dyne (EVANGELINE LILLY), who is (supposedly) estranged from her father, though she’s only putting on a show, keeping tabs on Cross in his own quest to acquire the shrinking serum.

Scott Lang (PAUL RUDD) is a burglar just released from a stint in prison. Hard up for money in order to pay for child support in order to see his daughter, and in spite of being determined to go on the straight and narrow but only able to get jobs at places like Baskin-Robins (a clear sponsor of this movie), he takes a job offered by best friend Luis (MICHAEL PENA) to break into a home and open a safe and take what is assumed high-priced goods inside. Instead, after going through the trouble of breaking in, inside is only a strange suit and helmet. Taking it home, and fiddling with various buttons, Lang manages to engage the shrinking mechanism and we get our first glimpse of the Macroverse (a.k.a. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids with better visual effects). Inside the suit, he hears the voice of Dr. Prym who had set up the theft and now tests Lang to take up the mantle he once wore decades earlier.

Meeting later, Prym explains he needs Lang’s particular set of skills, that of being a burglar, to break into the facility and steal a formula Cross had been making progress in duplicating. At first Lang resists the offer but needing the money, he soon accepts much to the bemusement and disapproval of Dyne, though she helps Lang in his training, harnessing the shrinking abilities and working with ants who, with the different varieties, can aid in their mission. It’s the typical training montage but still fun.

As always, obstacles are thrown their way including Lang’s ex-wife’s fiancée (BOBBY CANAVALE) who happens to be a detective on Lang’s trail following a jailbreak. For the most part, Ant-Man doesn’t break any new ground in terms of story heavily borrowing from many films that have come before, least of which Iron Man. The Cross character, who was once a protégé to Prym, is more or less Obadiah Stane (played by Jeff Bridges), taking the invention of his mentor/colleague and using said tech in the climax…

In terms of the villain and motives, as with the majority of Marvel films, the hero is far more interesting than their oft bland villainous counterparts. This isn’t to take anything away from Corey Stall who was great on “House of Cards” but Cross is a really weak bad guy and his motivation of greed is tired.

Where the film does succeed is with the casting of Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas. Rudd has the right comedic timing to make such a oddball hero work well but combined with his natural charisma and you’ve got a character, flawed as he may be, so dang likeable. Douglas for his part works well as somebody ravished by the past with the death of his wife and finally confronting Cross, a man he once took under his wing, from perverting his creation, a fight that began with SHIELD in its early infancy.

Evangeline Lilly makes for a nice female lead though her role is limited but she has some good scenes with Douglas with the complications of a strained father-daughter relationship. She and Rudd have some decent scenes and a rather forced love connection toward the end. However, I’d expect she’ll get more to do and better character development with the release of the proposed Ant-Man and the Wasp sequel set for release in 2017.

Ant-Man was originally going to be directed by fan-favorite Edgar Wright before he stepped down due to the all-encompassing “creative differences” line, while his story and screenplay were still used and is credited as one of the executive producers. Taking over is Peyton Reed (Bring It On, Yes Man) who is a perfectly adequate director however he probably was chosen to give the tone per studio wishes. That said, for what is his first foray into the action genre, he does a good job.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also commend the visual effects. Not only is the “macroverse” parts well done but the de-aging in the opening where Michael Douglas looks like he just stepped off the set of Wall Street was impressive. The attention to detail in just that 5-minute scene was great not to mention seeing Hayley Atwell make a cameo as a 60-something-year old Peggy Carter.

In the end, Ant-Man is hardly one of Marvel’s best nor is it even top-tier but for me it is a good cut above Thor, Thor: The Dark World and Iron Man 2 & 3 so it’s a solid first film with some potential with the eventual sequel not to mention the character’s inclusion in Captain America: Civil War and The Avengers: Infinity War.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.25/5

This release comes with a semi-glossy and reflective slip cover. Inside contains a code for the Digital HD copy.

Audio Commentary – Director Peyton Reed and Co-Writer/Director Paul Rudd offer a concise but entertaining track breaking down the story and characters.

Making of an Ant-Sized Heist: A How-To Guide (14:34; HD) – This featurette goes through the history of Ant-Man and taking him to the big screen and include interviews with the cast (Rudd, Lilly, Douglas) and crew (Reed) as they talk about the cast, characters and story.

Let’s Go to the Macroverse (8:06; HD) looks at the technology of the “shrinking man” genre and creating the world of the shrunken Ant-Man.

WHIH NewsFront (9:12; HD) – These are a series of fake news items from within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Deleted & Extended Scenes (8:39; HD) are eight scenes cut down or removed for various reasons, but presumably mostly pacing and redundancy. Also includes an optional commentary with Reed and Rudd.

Also included is the Gag Reel (3:25; HD).

 


2D VIDEO — 5.0/5 | 3D VIDEO — 4.75/5

Buena Vista shrinks Ant-Man onto a Blu-ray disc shown in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and given it a 1080p high-definition transfer. In keeping with the more light-hearted nature, the movie showcases bright colors throughout to go along with good detail and no major instances of aliasing, artifacting or other flaws. It’s an excellent looking transfer that goes well with the other Marvel releases.

The 3D transfer also excels with great depth, space and colors still come across rather well with a natural feel to every scene. I also didn’t notice any instances of ghosting making for one of the better 3D presentations that, from what I’ve read online, carries over quality as seen at the theater. Some highlights with the 3D include when Ant-Man is shrunk and explores (i.e. runs) through his smaller environment either evading mice or running amongst ants whom he commands.

 

AUDIO – 4.75/5

The movie comes with a 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio track which is fantastic with excellent and well defined dialogue levels all through but the track especially excels courtesy of the various action sequences such as the bedroom fight not to mention the climax involving a tank and chopper chase scene.

 



OVERALL – 3.5/5

Overall, Ant-Man may just be a middle-of-the-road flick compared with the other MCU films, but it’s still fairly enjoyable if not filled with plot holes and inconsistencies that I could easily overlook due to the entertainment factor and a well rounded cast headlined by Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas. The visual effects were also rather impressive and noteworthy especially the de-aging process in the opening scene with Douglas.

The Blu-ray released by Buena Vista offers great video and audio transfers and an OK selection of bonus material though nothing remarkable.

 

Brian Oliver a.k.a. The Movieman
Published: 11/29/2015

 

 

 

 

Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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