Off the Shelf…’Ant-Man’

Ant-Man_stillThese days, the world of home video sees trends come and go with the arrival of each subsequent “big thing”. 3D is falling off fast, almost non-existent at this point, but once in a while it translates well from the big screen to the small(er) ones. Ant-Man, Marvel Studios’ little engine that could made a big splash earlier this year, and it is just as welcomed at home in this Blu-Ray release. Even if you don’t have a 3D set up, the film and its supplements won’t disappoint. Now those that do have the already outdated technology will revel in scenes that simply sing in the third dimension.

As far as stories go, this is a rote tale, especially considering its comic-book origins: Guy has the makings of a hero but doesn’t know it, then through some kind of impetus (family trouble, money woes, etc.) he becomes a better man. This is not new territory. That said, this tale is a rousing and fun endeavor that steers off course from the recent series of darker Marvel yarns. As such, if you think that comic book movies have reached their potential, and have gotten far too gritty and realistic, Ant-Man is the perfect palate cleanser.

Ant-Man works on multiple levels and mainly, much like the success of famous horror movies, the familial element is what keeps this from being just a mindless, confusing and overblown action piece (read: Thor: The Dark World). It’s interesting that in the post-Avengers universe, a solo project like Ant-Man would be so appealing on theater screens when it, on paper, didn’t sound too spectacular to begin with. Well, that’s the whole point.

While it lacks epic action, with incredible city-wide stakes, Ant-Man brings the drama to a much smaller and relatable scale. Further, it’s quite shocking (refreshing even) how down to earth the film is. Moreover, Ant-Man is bright, cheery, and all kinds of fun. Then again, how could it not as Rudd represents everything good in a hero while, conversely, Corey Stoll is the unsavory antithesis – a perfect caricature of scum and villainy. As it’s his calling card, Rudd has that wacky next door neighbor quality; he’s got the kind of delivery you’d expect to see in a sitcom. When he’s not striving to be the hero, he’s consistently bringing the laughs and hamming it up wherever possible.

There’s also no shortage of opportunities to make pint-sized jokes, and for the whole production to be genuinely goofy and outlandish. But the story is, more or less, strong. It hits all the right beats for an origin story, and when it hits a lull, along comes Rudd and a sage-like Michael Douglas, his opinionated daughter Evangeline Lilly, and Lang’s trio of hilariously idiotic yet charming never-do-wells (Michael Peña, David Dastmalchian and T.I.) to remind you this is a comic-book movie.

Ant-Man is a solid “every-man” superhero tale that proves that you don’t need otherworldly gods, or scientists with armor and/or anger issues to be entertained. You just need someone concerned about the well-being of the common man, and more importantly, his family. That’s why it’s very easy to fall in love with Paul Rudd as he becomes the hero his daughter already thinks he is.

G-S-T RULING:

Ant-Man comes home via a stunning and beautiful transfer, with audio that matches the colorful visuals. Although the special features are on the lite side, they deliver the goods. Of particular note is one supplement which shows Scott Lang’s overarching ties to the MCU via a series of news reports. It’s neat to see Lang (Rudd) before the events in the film as well as plenty of tiny nods to other Avengers characters and story lines. It’s that attention to detail that shows why Marvel’s world-building continues to impress. But as far as their littlest hero, Ant-Man is an all around blast; it’s funny, action-packed, and fANT-freaking-tastic.

QuadCard - Ant-Man