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The Chive


   The funniest, nastiest movie reviews anywhere.


Based on his superhero name, you probably think that Scott Lang's superpower is being able to shrink down to the size of an ant.  Sucker.  That ability comes courtesy of the Ant-Man supersuit.  Lang's superpower has to be an elastic - a la Mr. Fantastic - asshole.  That and a natural immunity to AIDS.

You see, Ant-Man opens with Lang, played by Paul "Elmer" Rudd, finishing up a three-year stretch in San Quentin.  Rudd is a good-looking, middle-sized, non-buff white boy.  Look up "prison bitch" in the dictionary, and you'll find his picture - complete with his trademark, shit-eating, "Aw shucks, I guess I am kinda sexy." grin.  You throw someone who looks like Rudd in San Quentin and he gets passed around like a joint at a Phish show.  Yet after what we have to assume was three years of non-stop ass rape, Lang walks out decidedly not bow-legged and seemingly the picture of health.  Superpowers confirmed.

Since it launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man back in 2008, Marvel has been hitting nothing but dingers.  It couldn't last.  Ant-Man isn't a strikeout, but at best it's a walk.  Or maybe a hit by pitch.

But what did you expect?  Marvel's movies may be making mad moolah, but creatively they're already well past the point of diminishing returns.  Ant-Man is a second-tier superhero . . . at best.  The gifted Edgar "Quite" Wright, he of the Cornetto Trilogy (the Simon Pegg-starring Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End), was supposed to direct it, but after "creative differences" he was replaced by Peyton "Need For" Reed, a TV hack with a handful of film-directing credits so generic they should come in white packaging with a blue stripe.

Without Wright, Ant-Man winds up a by-committee rhombus-jerk that's 40% boring-as-fuck exposition, 30% only-slightly-less-boring-as-fuck training montages, 15% Paul Rudd looking smug, 10% Evangeline "Livelinks" Lilly's Louise Brooks' bob and 5% actual fun. 

Thankfully, a smidgen of Wright's work snuck through to the final cut, because the only truly exciting, make you sit up and say "Da-yum!" moments in Ant-Man have his fingerprints all over them.  In particular, make sure you're not taking a tinkle during the gloriously surreal miniature mano a mano inside a tumbling suitcase.

I'd bet my Criterion edition of Sid and Nancy that Wright would have whittled down the number of "Really?" moments as well.  For example, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael "The Grey Goatee" Douglas) has never met Scott Lang, but when Lang steals the Ant-Man supersuit it fits him like a love glove.  Really?  Pym's daughter has spent decades resenting him because of a secret he could have confessed at any time.  Really?  Pym explains in great, glooping detail why there's no coming back if Lang shrinks down to the subatomic level, but (and this is only a spoiler if you have the IQ of an acorn) when Lang finally goes subatomic it takes him all of 30 seconds to find his way back.  Really?

At least Marvel didn't cast Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner and call it Aunt-Man.