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Monday, July 20, 2015
IMDB Score: 8.1 out of 10
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79% Certified Fresh

With Rotten Tomatoes, a movie can be either Fresh or Certified Fresh. Once again, my lack of desire to read up on the rating system prevents me from understanding the difference. Why not just read the ratings system and find out? Meh.

I think the biggest issue I had from the moment I first heard that the Ant-Man movie was green lit and in production was that Marvel did not do nearly enough to alert people to the fact that this is an Avengers movie. Everyone knows who Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America are, but anyone who is not a Marvel fan has no idea who Ant-Man is. So, please allow me:

THIS IS AN AVENGERS MOVIE, FOLKS! GO SEE IT!

There, now I patiently await my marketing check from Marvel Studios.

There is a formula that Marvel uses for its Avengers movies that it refuses to stray from because the formula works. Every director who agrees to do an Avengers movie must agree to stay within the formula and if they stray from the formula, they are fired. The formula involves likeable presentations of Marvel heroes who are put in impossible situations and come out on top. Then you throw in a few witty one-liners and some well-timed physical humor, rinse, and repeat.

The problem is that this formula gives Marvel fans a dumbed down version of Marvel heroes that are often contrary to the comic books. It is Marvel’s way of pandering to the lowest common denominator, which is standard operating procedure in Hollywood. For example, Tony Stark is much more ruthless and frustrating in the comic books that he is in the movies. Robert Downey, Jr. has created a loveable Tony Stark that every guy wants to be and every girl wants to be with. For those of us who grew up reading Avengers comics, this is not the Tony Stark we know.

Marvel did the same thing with Ant-Man when it decided to jump past the really horrible personality of Hank Pym and jump right to Pym’s protégé, the loveable Scott Lang. In the original stories, Pym is the first Ant-Man and he is a very disturbing individual. Lang comes in later and adds some much-needed levity to the story line. Compared to the time I spent reading Avenger and Iron Man comics, the time I spent reading Ant-Man comics was almost nill. But I read enough to know that this movie presents a more family friendly version of the Ant-Man story. Fortunately, that does not take away from the entertainment value.

Pym also creates Ultron in the comic books, but Marvel has completely altered the story line because, in all honesty, Ant-Man never really caught on. Even Stan Lee has admitted that the character of Ant-Man was never popular enough to inspire a series of comic books, which makes me wonder why Marvel chose to launch Ant-Man with his own movie. From a logical point of view, it makes no sense.

The movie is fun, funny, and interesting. Michael Douglas plays a very convincing Hank Pym and Paul Rudd is perfect as Scott Lang. We get cameos from Falcon and Captain America and we get the obligatory ties into the next set of Avenger movies. But Ant-Man, to me, is the weakest of the new Avenger movies. While it would be asking a lot for any Marvel movie to top the first Iron Man movie, Ant-Man doesn’t even come close. The effects are dazzling and the plot is interesting, but the story kind of plods along until it finally comes to an end.

Marvel must have felt that it was necessary to make an Ant-Man movie to bring Ant-Man into the Avengers universe (Ant-Man will appear in at least the next two movies in the Avengers series), but I don’t see why. We did not get an origins movie for Hawkeye or Black Widow and both of their stories are much more interesting than Ant-Man’s.

The Avengers formula is not hit or miss – it is always a hit. If you like superhero movies, then you will like any Avengers movie. If you do not like superhero movies, then do not go to see Ant-Man and then complain that you didn’t like it.

I am starting to think that Marvel put this movie out more out of obligation to the complete Avengers storyline than anything else, which is why the marketing has been so dismal. But the movie does deserve a look and it really is a lot of fun to watch, especially in the context of the drive-in.

Rating: 2 ½ out of 5

+George N Root III  is a drive-in fanatic who loves superhero movies. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3 or email him at georgenroot3@gmail.com. Join the conversation for this movie and others on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/enpatthedrivein.



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