Movie Review: Marvel’s ANT-MAN

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Marvel’s ANT-MAN opens in theaters on July 17th. My husband and I had an opportunity to attend a screening of ANT-MAN and it’s the perfect date night movie! There’s really something for everyone from action to humor and even a little romance mixed in there. My husband’s a huge Marvel fan and I usually watch these movies to humor him, but I genuinely enjoyed ANT-MAN. I love me some Paul Rudd! One of the main themes from the movie was about the father/daughter relationship. Without spoiling anything, I have to admit I got a bit teary a few times. Because my husband can’t stop talking (and talking and talking) about this movie, I let him write the review. Scroll down to see what he thought! 

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ABOUT ANT-MAN

The next evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings a founding member of The Avengers to the big screen for the first time with Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man.” Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

Marvel’s “Ant-Man” stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang aka Ant-Man, Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne, Corey Stoll as Darren Cross aka Yellowjacket, Bobby Cannavale as Paxton, Michael Peña as Luis, Tip “T.I.” Harris as Dave, Wood Harris as Gale, Judy Greer as Maggie, David Dastmalchian as Kurt, and Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym. Directed by Peyton Reed and produced by Kevin Feige, p.g.a., Marvel’s “Ant-Man” delivers a high-stakes, tension-filled adventure on July 17, 2015.

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ANT-MAN FUN FACTS

  • If you ever wondered how the Ant-Man suit works, here’s the answer. The suit encapsulates the Pym Particle technology that allows a person to shrink down to the size of an ant. When the wearer wants to change size, he uses a button on the suit that regulates the Pym Particles, which run through the suit and helmet like an intricate system of veins. The particles are volatile and change the distance between atoms, so the suit and helmet serve as protection for the wearer. Although Ant-Man does not technically have super powers, when he shrinks down in the suit, he actually exceeds the strength of a normal person because energy and mass compacted create a more powerful force.
  • Costume designer Sammy Sheldon Differ and head suit designer Ivo Coveney, along with their talented team of artists, constructed 13 Ant-Man suits, 17 helmets, 17 belts, 8 pairs of gloves, 15 backpacks, 6 pairs of shoes, 15 balaclavas and 14 necklaces that go on the balaclava.
  • The Ant-Man suit is made of leather and resembles a vintage motorcycle suit. It has a worn look and is battle-scarred to harken back to when Hank Pym was Ant- Man and wore the suit on missions.
  • Each Ant-Man helmet has 54 different pieces to it as well as 10 LED lights. If you add in the nuts and bolts and the helmet lining, it’s over 60 individual components just for each helmet.
  • In each Ant-Man suit there are over 159 LED lights, which are controlled remotely. All the circuitry and batteries for the lights are in a very small backpack. The whole suit can light up, including the gloves and belt.
  • In the movie, the villain’s heavily armored Yellowjacket suit can withstand bullets and has articulating arms that can shoot plasma rays, plus it incorporates sensors and infrared vision. Like the Ant-Man suit, the Yellowjacket suit has the shrinking technology built in.
  • For the scaled-down Ant-Man sequences, the filmmakers used a combination of motion-picture macro photography, still macro photography, motion capture with the actors, motion capture with the stunt people, and for every set they built miniature sets, called macro sets. Macro photography is extreme close-up photography that produces photographs of small items larger than life-size.
  • In the spirit of shooting everything in miniature, the macro photography team built a mini clapperboard, the device filmmakers use to help synchronize picture and sound. Originally made of wood and handwritten on with chalk, clapperboards now have digital features, but the one for the macro sets was of the old-fashioned variety.
  • Marvel did a lot of research into ant behaviors and what the different species of ants could bring to the movie in terms of what filmmakers needed for the heist. For instance, the Paraponera clavata or bullet ants have a very painful sting and resemble dinosaurs in the movie; the Solenopsis or fire ants are like architects as they can link together and form bridges and rafts to help Ant-Man; and the male Camponotus carpenter ants can fly, providing Ant-Man with a helpful mode of transportation.
  • Director Peyton Reed also got into ant research and was helped out by his mother who sent him a book he had as a kid titled “World of Insects,” which featured an ant on the cover. Reed enjoyed catching up with his inner child as he leafed through the old book.
  • Marvel’s “Ant-Man” is set in San Francisco and many exterior shots were done there, including shots of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Tenderloin District and the exterior of a Victorian home used to portray Hank Pym’s house. Following San Francisco, the production settled into Pinewood Studios’ newly built facilities in Atlanta and Marvel’s “Ant-Man” became the very first movie to film there. The interiors of Hank Pym’s house where the first sets that the production design team constructed on the new soundstages.
  • As with all the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, much detail went into creating Hank Pym’s old Victorian house set, from furniture, fireplaces, stained glass and even wallpaper. The wallpaper used in the Pym House set came from a store in New York City that specializes in classic, period wallpapers from the 1930s and 1940s. Because there are limited rolls of each design, the production design team had to plan carefully to ensure that there was enough available to do the rooms they wanted.
  • When you watch Marvel’s “Ant-Man,” look closely at some of the set dressing in Hank Pym’s house. You’ll see a little chair or a tiny weapon or other miniature everyday items. There are items placed all around the house that hint at the adventures Pym had when he was Ant-Man and suggest the experiments that he made shrinking inorganic objects before he made the breakthrough to shrinking organic objects.
  • The Basement set in the movie features a safe room where Pym conducts his experiments. It was built like a corrugated metal tube to resemble a bomb shelter and contains an old vault that secures the Ant-Man suit.
  • The Basement set is also home to a vertical ant farm that the production design team created. It actually houses live ants that went happily about their daily tasks oblivious to the filming around them.
  • In the film, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has a best friend Luis (Michael Peña) who owns an old brown van that has seen better days. The van keeps changing its appearance through the course of the story, and the different versions were dubbed the Mark 1, the Mark 2 and the Mark 3, in a tongue-in-cheek nod to the Iron Man suits. The Mark 1 is the old brown van that Luis is really proud of, but in reality it is a “beater.” The Mark 2 is accessorized for a job by the thieves and boasts things like bigger mirrors, so they can see who is coming and going, and side boards for fast ins and outs. The Mark 3 is geared up for the Pym Tech heist and is painted and accessorized to look like a Water & Power utility vehicle.
  • For the younger Hank Pym flashback, Michael Douglas came up with a wig that he still had for a film he was going to do about President Reagan and it worked perfectly for Marvel’s “Ant-Man.”
  • Growing up, director Peyton Reed was an ardent Marvel fanboy. When he was in high school, Reed made a pencil drawing of the punk band he was in, in which he depicted the band as a recreation of “The Avengers #1” cover, where each of the band members was a different Avenger. Perhaps it was a flash of precognition, but Reed drew himself as Ant-Man.

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ANT-MAN REVIEW FROM MR. SEE VANESSA CRAFT

Marvel Studios does it again! I’m not sure that they know how to make a “bad” Marvel property film. Even when I have my doubts, as I did early on when watching the teaser trailers for this film, I’m always impressed and leave the theater fully satisfied and ready to watch the film again to catch those little tidbits I’ve missed because I’m too busy gawking at the eye-melting visuals.

Ant-Man is what you’d get if you mixed a brew consisting of 1 part Ironman (the 2008 original film), 1 part Mission Impossible, 1 part Judd Apatow film (any of them will do) and 1 part Wild Kratts (yes, that’s right, the children’s tv show). Sprinkle in a bit of Marvel Studios magic and a teensy weensy spec of Taken (the film starring Liam Neeson) and you’ve got a good idea of what Ant-Man has in store for you. I won’t spoil the film by explaining my witches brew above, but come back and re-read my ingredients after you watch the film and prove me wrong!

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I also want to stress that watching this film in IMAX 3D is a must! My wife usually hates the 3D effect, but told me that the effect was not as jarring as it usually is, and that some scenes benefit so much from the size of the IMAX screen and the 3D effect that she couldn’t imagine seeing the 2D version. I have to agree. One scene in particular had me feeling like I’d shrunk down to insect size and was “in” the film. It’s that good.

This film has something for everyone. Lots of action and Marvel easter-eggs for the guys and comic book fans, and lots of family drama, some romance, and loads of comedy via Rudd and Peña in particular for the ladies. There are even tear-jerker moments! If I had one complaint, it may be that the villain of the movie is a little too much like your typical Lex Luthor/Obadiah Stane megalomaniac. Strong performances by Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, and Michael Peña throughout the film will leave you knowing that comic book films are being taken seriously nowadays by actors of all ages.

LITTLE ANT-MAN VIDEO

Follow ANT-MAN on Facebook and Twitter. Watch the trailer on You Tube. What did you think of ANT-MAN? Leave a comment. 

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I'm Vanessa and it's my mission in life to spread my love of hot glue guns and glitter to others. I suffer from craft ADHD, regularly working on at least 10 projects at the same time and my craft room looks like a tornado hit it. My first craft book, Party in a Jar, was published in 2014. I look forward to crafting with you!

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