Ant-Man: Corey Stoll Steals The Show as The Villainous Yellowjacket [Review]

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When you’re tiny, the world is a VERY different place.  That’s what this movie was about and it did it very well.  A filling bathtub becomes a great wave of water; an ant colony becomes a stampede.  The visuals of changing scale were a delight.  I’d like to watch it again just for that.

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Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

I was glad I’m not a scientist when I was watching Ant Man – that would have been painful.  Even knowing as little as I do about mass and density and all that, I still found it distracting wondering how a 200 pound man could avoid being crushed under his own weight when having to carry his full mass with a body less than an inch tall.

Same amount of molecules, just closer together.  How could he stand, let alone jump?  And when he’s little, how can he get around as quickly as though he were full-size?  After all, the relative distance is many times greater.  He does.  It’s almost as bad as time travel…  I realize I’m quibbling , though.  After all, I didn’t go to Ant-Man to see a treatise on the physics of size.  Once I was able to suspend my disbelief, I had a great time.

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A couple of things that made it so good were the acting and casting.  Paul Rudd was the ideal choice for Ant Man.  He brings a charm and likability to the character that really made it work.  Plus he had a shirtless scene…  Evangeline Lily and Michael Douglas were also very good but best of all was the villain, Corey Stoll.  Even before I knew he was the bad guy, he absolutely radiated menace.   He could also become dumb and goofy or tender and then right back to scary, all in the same scene.

I really liked the dialogue – it was well written with even better delivery.  What made it so convincing was not the words but the quiet moments around the dialogue.  You watch a character’s face change as what was said to her sinks in.  You watch someone pause and consider something. You watch a character smile to herself as she listens to two other characters talking near her.  There’s a subtlety in the lines that makes the characters worth listening to.

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For all that however, the storytelling wasn’t too revolutionary.  It was a standard good versus evil plot (maybe I’m getting too old for comic book movies) and really didn’t have anything more to say.  It could have done, too, in the long set-up at the start.  They spend so much time establishing that Scott Lang can’t get back to a normal life now that he’s been in prison.  That sub-plot gets put on hold while they’re saving the world, understandable, but they never pick it back up again.  Every Checkov’s gun was fired but the emotional plot points, so carefully laid out, were only touched on as the story closed.

I knew nothing about Ant-Man when I first sat down to watch this movie other than what I had seen in the previews.  I was grateful for the all the exposition (and there was a lot set-up) but it was slow getting started.  Once it really got going, however, I understood.  Watching Ant Man, I couldn’t help but delight in all the things it seemed the suit could do.  Changing size looks like so much fun.

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