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dir Peyton Reed
prd Kevin Feige
scr Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd
with Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Pena, Judy Greer, Tip 'TI' Harris, Wood Harris, Anthony Mackie, Martin Donovan, John Slattery
release US/UK 17.Jul.15
15/US Marvel 1h57
Cool suit: Rudd
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E
On paper, this looks like it couldn't possibly work, throwing the filmmakers behind Down With Love, Scott Pilgrim, Tintin and Anchorman into the Marvel universe with a movie about a minuscule superhero. But like Guardians of the Galaxy, this film blasts fresh air into the increasingly stale realm of the Avengers. Simply put, it's a riotously enjoyable action movie.
Hank Pym (Douglas) has had to watch quietly as his daughter Hope (Lilly) and protege Darren (Stoll) steer his technology firm away from his original dream to help mankind. But he has a secret plan to get things back on track, coaxing struggling ex-con Scott (Rudd) into wearing his incredible shrinking suit to make sure that Darren doesn't sell the company's soul to the devil. Paul is more than dubious about this, but is backed into a corner by the cop (Cannavale) who is about to marry his ex-wife (Greer).
While the idea of an ant-sized warrior sounds iffy, director Reed more than sells it with fiendishly inventive visuals that constantly reveal the character's potential. The action scenes are both integral and coherent, even though they're all utterly nuts, continually throwing the audience into breathtaking point-of-view sequences while cracking verbal and visual jokes. This makes the film feel much less effects-oriented than it is. And it's made even more fun by the fact that the characters are so strongly written and played.
Each person in this film is developed to have his or her own internal life, which gives the mayhem a level of unexpected resonance. Rudd is a bit restrained, but he, Douglas and Lilly make a terrific trio, undermining expectations with both jokes and character detail. Stoll is superb as the seemingly hapless villain. And Pena very nearly steals the show as Scott's former cellmate, whose comical patter is simply hysterical (listen carefully!). There's also a notable intersection with the Avengers in a fantastically orchestrated encounter with Mackie's curious-annoyed Falcon.
Assembled with boundless humour and kinetic energy, this is also a rare blockbuster that doesn't dumb down for its audience. The story structure avoids Marvel's usual joke-drama-action cycle, with fight scenes that emerge organically to further the plot rather than to keep the audience awake at strategic intervals. (Much of this innovation should probably be credited to Edgar Wright.) In other words, this is exactly what Marvel needs: a fresh voice that can find new ways to tell the same old story.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S
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© 2015 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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