Movie Review: Ant-Man (2015)

Running time: 115 minutes

Director: Peyton Reed

34321After it was announced last year that Edgar Wright and Marvel had parted ways due to creative differences over the Ant-Man script for years, and with Peyton Reed taking his place in the director’s chair, a lot of people started to believe this was proof that Marvel’s glory days were coming to an end and that Ant-Man would be the first movie for the studio to bomb at the box office. Sure, that was the exact thought when Guardians of the Galaxy was announced and it ended up doing more than ok. So, did Marvel end its Phase 2 in a high note, ensuring that at this point we should trust Kevin Feige, or did they not recover from Wright’s departure?

Ex-convict, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) finds himself involved in Hank Pym’s (Michael Douglas) plan to retrieve from Pym Tech the shrinking formula he developed in his youth and that his former protégé, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) is trying to replicate to create an army. With the reluctant help of Hank’s daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly), Scott learns how to use the Ant-Man suit and become the hero they need to pull off this heist.

Marvel's Ant-Man..L to R: Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Hank Pym/Ant-Man (Michael Douglas)..Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal..? Marvel 2014The first time we meet Hank Pym is in 1989 as a spectacular CGI young Michael Douglas is resigning from SHIELD after finding out that Howard Stark has been trying to replicate his shrinking formula. This scene introduces us to the original Ant-Man and sets up some backstory to his character, in addition to revisiting some beloved MCU characters from previous movies like Howard Stark (from the first Iron Man) and the always delightful Peggy Carter (Captain America: The First Avenger) as the SHIELD founders.

In present day, Scott Lang is about to be released from San Quentin State prison after serving some years for a Robin Hood-like burglary. Out in the real world, his priority is to make amends with his family and prove to his ex-wife Maggie and her partner that he is still fit to be a good dad. But, despite his clear efforts they won’t let him see his daughter Cassie (played by the most adorable Abby Ryder Forston) until he pays the child support he owes them. Once again this year we have Judy Greer in a blockbuster film being the worried mom, at least Bobby Cannavale had an active part in the film besides just being the stepfather who is a jerk to the hero.

screen-shot-2015-04-13-at-10-12-53-amUnable to find a proper job with his criminal record, his friend Luis (portrayed by Michael Peña, who steals the show every time he is on-screen) convinces him rob an old man’s house. This way his path crosses that of Hank Pym’s, who needs his help and wants him to become the Ant-Man to retrieve from Pym Tech the shrinking technology that Hank’s former protégé, Darren Cross, is trying to replicate to create an army of tiny men. And as it is so typical with Marvel movies now, the villain is probably the weakest part and in the end, forgettable. Corey Stoll is good in the role and his motivation is clear but the execution is quite poor and often needs of a lot of exposition.

Scott is trained by Hank and his daughter, Hope, with whom he doesn’t have a very good relationship and creates great father-daughter parallels with Scott and his own daughter Cassie. Hope is reluctant to use Scott for the mission as she is far more capable and already knows how to use the suit. And even though her character was well realized and she had some cool fight moves during the training session, I would have liked to see Evangeline Lilly taking some part in the action. Spoiler! At least the end credit sequence foreshadows some exciting stuff for her character in the near future.

Ant-Man-3We will never know what movie did Edgar Wright have in mind so it is pointless to compare what we have and what we could have had. The important thing is that Marvel did it again and Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man is a simplistic but effective heist film with well-balanced comedy and does a great job at tying the film to the MCU while keeping it self-contained. Unlike Thor’s quest in Age of Ultron, neither of the references or cameos pull you out of the movie or feel like set up. The action sequences may not be the best we have seen from Marvel, but the use of the macro photography makes it a visual spectacle, and the relationships between the characters are a treat to watch. In the role of Scott Lang, Paul Rudd proves that he is a legit superhero and deserves a place in the Avengers. He was likable, believable, relatable and a perfect addition to the MCU. In a shared universe where supersoldiers, gods, raging monsters and enhanced humans defend the world, Ant-Man seemed like an odd choice to add to the franchise but, as Stanley Tucci’s Dr. Erskine said in Captain America: The First Avenger, maybe what we needed now was a little guy.

9/10

Marvel Announcements!

The battle between DC and Marvel to dominate the conversations keeps unstoppable. Two weeks after DC released their movie plans until 2020, Marvel organized an event for the press at El Capitán theater in LA to make some big announcements. And let’s just say, they didn’t disappoint. This is their movie slate for Phase 3.

Captain America: Civil War

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As it had been rumoured for the past few weeks, Captain America 3 will bring the Civil War to the big screen. Kevin Feige stated that it’s not going to be like the one in the comics and instead of dealing with secret identities, it will be the government wanting some oversight, but the generalities of the Act will be the same. Joe and Anthony Russo are returning as the directors.

Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr took the stage, after Marvel showed a scene from Age of Ultron between Tony and Steve having and argument, and introduced the actor for Black Panther, who will be making his first appearance in the movie. But we’ll get to that later.

 Doctor Strange

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We didn’t have an official confirmation yet, but with a director (Scott Derrickson) already attached to it and the constant casting news for the Sorcerer Supreme, it was obvious Doctor Strange was going to be Marvel’s next movie. Benedict Cumberbatch has been heavily rumoured this week for the role of Stephen Strange but the negotiations are not finished yet so there was no casting announcement.

 Guardians of the Galaxy 2

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The Guardians of the Galaxy sequel was one of the few things announced this year at San Diego Comic Con but, given the success of the first one, the director James Gunn announced that the release date had been moved forwards.

Though they didn’t confirm any new addition, it seems possible Adam Warlock will appear in Guardians 2.

 Thor: Ragnarok

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It was also rumoured that the third installment in the Thor franchise was going to feature Ragnarok and now we have the official confirmation. Of course, Tom Hiddlestone will be returning as Loki and the story will pick Thor right after the events in Age of Ultron.

 Black Panther

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People started to freak out when Andy Serkis appeared in the Age of Ultron trailer with a very similar look to Ulysses Klaw, one of the villain in Black Panther comics. Chadwick Boseman was officially introduced as the actor to play T’Challa and, yes, we will see him a year before in Captain America: Civil War.

 Captain Marvel

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Phase 3 brings us the first female superhero solo film in the MCU! Kevin Feige confirmed that indeed, the incarnation of this Captain Marvel will be no other than Carol Danvers. There are no director, screenwriters or cast attached to it yet.

 Inhumans

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Another team franchise, this time its members will be part of a race of superhumans. And you might think this comes out of nowhere but, according to Kevin Feige, we may find sooner rather than later how they fit into the MCU. Maybe some Easter Egg coming up in Agents of SHIELD?

 Avengers: Infinity War Part I and Part II

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And last but definitely not least, Avengers: Infinity War, will be the culmination of everything that has come before. Done in two parts coming out one year apart from each other, to face the titan Thanos the Avengers will crossover at some point with the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Extended Trailer for ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’

 

 

 

Robert Downey Jr. in Talks to Join ‘Captain America 3’?

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Before we begin, Variety broke the story yesterday but there has still been no confirmation from Marvel or Downey’s team, so until they say these news are true or false, this is all speculation.

Rumour is Robert Downey Jr is in negotiations to play a key role in the next Captain America movie, which will bring the Civil War to the MCU. If you are not familiar with the comics, the Civil War brings Iron Man and Captain America against each other as they feud over the Superhero Registration Act, which forces superheroes to reveal their identities and work for the government. Stark supports the program while Rogers does not, creating a conflict between the two Avengers.

But this is where the story gets interesting. Apparently, Marvel wanted Downey to have a small role in the film but the actor wanted to have a more substantial role in it. Ike Permutter, chief of Marvel Entertainment, wasn’t pleased with this requirement and ordered the screenwriters to write Iron Man out of the script. Thanks to Kevin Feige, it seems Robert Downey Jr finally got away with it.

According to the sources, Downey would earned around $40 millions and an additional payout if Captain America 3 outperforms Captain America: The Winter Soldier because its success could be attributed to his involvement. Which, in my opinion, is completely stupid. Chris Evans is also a bigger star now and the character Captain America more popular thanks to the success of Winter Soldier and his role in the MCU, which had nothing to do with RDJ.

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I don’t know how I feel bout this. While I would love to see the Civil War storyline brought to the big screen, I’m not sure I want to see it in a Captain America movie. For starters, in the MCU the superheroes don’t have secret identities. Everybody knows Steve Rogers is Captain America or that Natasha Romanoff is Black Widow, so they would have to change the main conflict.

Also, if Iron Man is in it, it’s no longer going to be a Captain America movie. You just can’t bring a character that big with his own stablished franchise and keep the focus in Chris Evans. Apart from the Steve Rogers, giving Tony Stark a big role is going to decrease the amount of screen time for characters like Falcon and Winter Soldier, whom I was really looking forward to get into more depth. And also the rumoured Hawkeye, who I think deserves better the opportunity to join Cap as he hasn’t had the change yet to play a big part in the MCU.

But my big problem here is with Robert Downey Jr himself, if the news are true and he is basically demanding a big role in the movie. Outside from the Marvel franchises he is not exactly a box office hit, which has been recently proven with The Judge. It makes me wonder how much power does RDJ have inside Marvel. Yes, his character is very popular but he has already had three solo movies, a big part in the first Avengers and one of his demands to return for Age of Ultron after his contract expired, was to have a bigger role. As much as I love Downey, this behaviour is just selfish and is not fair to other cast members, specially to Chris Evans, who is doing an amazing job as Captain America and has proven that he can carry his own movies.

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This Week’s Movie News (15-19 sep)

 

Interstellar Posters

This week has been released not one but two official posters for the upcoming Christopher Nolan film, Interstellar.

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I personally like much better the first one which was released earlier this week and shows Matthew McConaughey on a frozen world. The second one just doesn’t have the same impact and generates too many questions. Is this a whole different planet full of water or are they back on Earth in the future and the planet is flooded? Also, we’ve already had three posters for this movie, is it starting to be too much as they don’t give any information away?

Interstellar hits theaters on November 7th.

Tom Hiddleston cast in King Kong prequel

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Legendary Pictures have announced that Tom Hiddleston has land the lead role in Skull Island. The film will explore the home of King Kong and his origins with Jordan Vogt-Roberts as the director.

I’m so excited about this news. Tom Hiddleston is a great actor and has shown it in various supporting roles but has yet to be the lead in a big film, so this is an amazing opportunity for him.

Skull Island will be released in theaters November 4, 2016

New Poster for Into the Woods

The first movie poster for Disney’s Into the Woods is finally here and features three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep as the terrifying Witch.

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Directed by Rob Marshall, Into the Woods hits theaters this year on Christmas day.

Jack Huston and Toby Kebbell cast in Ben Hur remake

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There was some speculation at the beginning of the month that Tom Hiddleston was in negotiations to play the role of Ben Hur in the remake of the movie but this week has been confirmed that the role has in the end gone to Jack Huston.

Later this week has also been announced that Toby Kebbell will play Messala. With Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the upcoming Fantastic Four it seems he has taken a fancy for villainous roles.

This two actors will join Morgan Freeman who was already cast as Ildarin. The remake is set to be release on February 26, 2016

Deadpool movie announced with Kevin Feige producing

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After the hype that the Deadpool “leaked” footage provoked amongst the fans of the superhero genre, Fox has finally confirmed the movie, which will come out on February 12, 2016. It’s yet to be announced if Ryan Reynolds will reprise his role from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which wasn’t a big success.

The movie will be directed by Tim Miller but the most curious thing about this news is that Kevin Feige from Marvel will be producing it. As you might know, Fox has the rights to the character of Deadpool and not Marvel/Disney so, why is Kevin Feige the producer? With the Marvel Cinematic Universe already consolidated maybe Kevin Feige wants to make sure that other superhero films are also a success so audiences will keep interest in the genre, which would also affect his property.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Stills

With the third Hunger Games movie coming out on November 19 it’s rare the week we don’t get something new about it. This time is the promotional stills.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron Official Synopsis

Marvel and Disney have released the official synopsis for their upcoming movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron!

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Marvel Studios presents Avengers: Age of Ultron, the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time. When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.

Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron stars Robert Downey Jr., who returns as Iron Man, along with Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk. Together with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and with the additional support of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill, the team must reassemble to defeat James Spader as Ultron, a terrifying technological villain hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they confront two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and Pietro Maximoff, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and meet an old friend in a new form when Paul Bettany becomes Vision.

Written and directed by Joss Whedon and produced by Kevin Feige, Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series The Avengers, first published in 1963. Get set for an action-packed thrill ride when The Avengers return in Marvel’s Avengers:Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015.

It doesn’t really give away anything than we didn’t know already except that Tony Stark doesn’t actually create Ultron but “wakes” it. Maybe they can still keep Ant-Man as the creator, especially with the film coming out just a couple of months after. Also, with the reference “an old friend in a new form” it’s practically confirmed that the Vision will be JARVIS upgraded and not two separate characters, one voiced and the other played by Paul Bettany.

Marvel News

No more origin stories.

dr_strange_by_yamaoMarvel has revealed that there will be no more origin stories in the films. This is going to affect especially the Doctor Strange movie, for which a script was already done telling the origin story, so they are now rewriting it. This way when we meet him for the first time in the movie he would already be the sorcerer supreme, which makes sense after his name was dropped in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and if they want Scarlet Witch to appear in the movie. I guess they will explore it through flashbacks, as his origin story is so amazing and interesting. It is rumoured that the Untitled Marvel Project for 2016 will be the Doctor Strange, in that case, they would start shooting next year and we should start hearing some casting news in the next couple of months

Ant-Man starts production.

1The film has just begun filming and Marvel has already released the first image of Paul Rudd as Scott Lang. It has also been revealed that John Slattery will reprise his role as the older version of Howard Stark from Iron Man 2, so we might get some flashbacks with him and Hank Pym, played by Michael Douglas.

MCU Future

In this interview, Kevin Feige has said that there’s a possibility of seeing the real Mandarin and the Red Skull again in future projects. And Black Panther and Captain Marvel are two strong candidates to get solo movies given the strong fan demand.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron Comic Con Footage Description

Avengers-Age-of-UltronKevin Feige has said that they don’t have plans of releasing this footage in a while but here is a detailed description of the footage for The Avengers: Age of Ultron that was shown in Hall H during the Marvel panel at Comic Con (SlashFilm)

We start on a city scape and the whole team is assembled in Avengers tower. They’re all hanging out. Drinking beer, joking, and Hawkeye tells Thor the whole no-one-can-grab-the hammer thing is “a circus side show.” He disagrees and Stark tries to pick it up. “If I lift it do I get to rule Asgard?” he asks. “Ye”s, Thor says. He fails on a first attempt. “I’ll be right back.” He puts on the Iron Man glove. No dice. He and Rhodie try, both in their Iron Man gloves. Nope. Hawkeye fails. Banner tries and really exerts himself. Everyone gives him a look. Next up is Cap and he budges it which really gets Thor worried. However, having all failed Thor says he has a simple theory “You’re all not worthy.”  Just then a huge screeching sound. “You’re all not worthy.” Enter a brutally broken, almost zombie like metal being. It’s Ultron. “How could you be worthy? You are all killers. You want to protect the world but you don’t want it to change. There’s only one path to peace… your extinction.” Just then a bunch of other robots fly in and we get the Marvel Studios logo.

Ultron continues in voice over with a bunch of other images. “I had a vision … the whole world screaming for mercy.” People running away, escaping. “Everyone tangled in strings.” Banner all sickly looking on a place. “Strinnnngs.” Massive battle scenes, Hawkeye and others helping people evacuate. Banner in the snow, then a random hospital, Scarlet Witch on a bus, Thor smashing a tank. Then Tony Stark “It’s the end,” he says. “The end of the path I started us on.” Widow adds, “Nothing lasts forever.” We then see a screaming Hulk and the massive Hulk Buster armor. Black Widow on the Harley Davidson, Quicksilver running around, Andy Serkis as a human (!?!), more explosions, Iron Man flying by what looks like a prison and shooting some soldiers. Hulk throws a car at the Hulkbuster and then punches him through it. A quick shot of Widow and Hulk almost touching hands.

The whole time, a song has been playing about strings. It’s very eerie and morbid. Finally, we get a fully realized, metallic, 8 foot Ultron. Referencing his statement “There are no strings on me” as his clenching fist turns into the circle around the “A” of “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” The title card.

Then, after that, we see Cap’s shild broken, Tony Stark looking down at it, the camera pulls back and we literally see every member of the team laying on the ground in tatters on what may or not be Thanos’ tomb. They look dead.

If there were any doubts, the tone for this movie is completely different from the first one and is so exciting to see that they’re not just trying to repeat the same formula that worked so well for them with The Avengers. The footage is simply breathtaking and Age of Ultron promises to be epic.