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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 3 months later...

I love that Thomas the Tank Engine is presented in menacing proportions and angles!

In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."
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  • 2 weeks later...

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 2 months later...

So the Ant-Man IMAX preview, like the Guardians of the Galaxy IMAX preview before it, begins in a prison setting:

 

 

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Overstreet wrote:
: Wow. That early surge of positive buzz burned out like a firework mid-ascent. Rotten Tomatoes killed my interest pretty quickly.

 

Eh? It's "fresh" at 71% right now. (Which, admittedly, is lower than the lamentable Iron Man sequels got, but still...)

 

Hmmm. Just for the record:

 

94% -- 2008 -- Iron Man

92% -- 2012 -- Marvel's The Avengers

91% -- 2014 -- Guardians of the Galaxy

89% -- 2014 -- Captain America: The Winter Soldier

79% -- 2011 -- Captain America: The First Avenger

79% -- 2013 -- Iron Man 3

77% -- 2011 -- Thor

74% -- 2015 -- Avengers: Age of Ultron

72% -- 2010 -- Iron Man 2

67% -- 2008 -- The Incredible Hulk

65% -- 2013 -- Thor: The Dark World

 

So it seems *all* of the MCU films have had "fresh" ratings at Rotten Tomatoes, and Ant-Man is currently near the bottom of the list, ahead of only the Ed Norton Hulk and Thor 2. Hmmm.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The RT rating is now up tp 76%, for whatever that's worth.

 

The first scene in this film is pure MCU continuity porn: it's a prologue set roughly 30 years ago that introduces Michael Douglas's Hank Pym by having him meet with Agent Carter (from the Captain America films) and Howard Stark (the older one from Iron Man 2, *not* the younger one from Captain America). And just to make it even better, Michael Douglas has been given easily the best "digitally de-aged" treatment I've ever seen. There's none of the waxy, rubbery digital-Botox stuff like we saw in Tron Legacy or X-Men: The Last Stand or X-Men Origins: Wolverine or The Curious Case of Benjamin Button or even Terminator: Genisys -- he just looks like a younger version of himself. Bravo.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The first scene in this film is pure MCU continuity porn: it's a prologue set roughly 30 years ago that introduces Michael Douglas's Hank Pym by having him meet with Agent Carter (from the Captain America films) and Howard Stark (the older one from Iron Man 2, *not* the younger one from Captain America). And just to make it even better, Michael Douglas has been given easily the best "digitally de-aged" treatment I've ever seen. There's none of the waxy, rubbery digital-Botox stuff like we saw in Tron Legacy or X-Men: The Last Stand or X-Men Origins: Wolverine or The Curious Case of Benjamin Button or even Terminator: Genisys -- he just looks like a younger version of himself. Bravo.

 

To shoot that scene, I heard that they--in true The Limey fashion--just repurposed Michael Douglas's 23 year-old reaction shots from the interrogation scene from Basic Instinct.  Now he's aroused by technology!

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I was really to swamped this week to write a full review, but I had some quick thoughts about how Ant-Man's more modest scale (as a movie) felt...well not *fresh* exactly, but maybe a little less stale than your typical Marvel offering.
 

Honestly, Ant-Man has more things I liked than any comic book movie since…Batman Begins maybe? Michael Douglas provides an air of gravitas that extends beyond his character’s (Hank Pym) deep, dark secret. Evangeline Lilly manages to make a female character who does little beyond standing around and watching more interesting than I expected. The tie-ins to the other Marvel movies were mercifully brief, and the action set pieces were the first I’ve seen in a long, long time that didn’t feel too long by half.

If Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang is a ridiculous liberal fantasy hybrid of an electrical engineer and expert cat burglar, if Michael Peña and friends seem far too lovable as the we-aren’t-bad-just-oppressed-support crew, if the divorced dad desperate to maintain a relationship with his infant daughter story line now feels as stale and cliched as any other Hollywood stereotype, if IMAX screens continue to magnify just how embarrassingly bad contemporary 3D rendering is…well, it’s hard not to take a glass-half-full approach as we approach the end of a summer of bloated and lazy franchise retreads.

 

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Russ wrote:
: To shoot that scene, I heard that they--in true The Limey fashion--just repurposed Michael Douglas's 23 year-old reaction shots from the interrogation scene from Basic Instinct.

 

Please tell me you're only kidding.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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My review.

 

 

Indeed, if anything, I find myself wishing Ant-Man were less consequential — certainly with respect to the rest of the MCU. This, I now realize, was one of the great reliefs of Guardians of the Galaxy: You can watch pretty much the whole movie and never once, except for the “Infinity Stone” connection, think of any other Marvel movie.

 

Other than Guardians, that’s not allowed. Everything is another slice of Marvel product; everything must be an advertisement for everything else. Ant-Man’s opening sequence features Howard Stark and Agent Carter; the Avengers are invoked jointly and in some cases severally; there’s at least an allusion to Spider-Man’s upcoming MCU incarnation; and two Avengers put in appearances, one of them in a post-credit cameo, the other more substantially, in an action scene halfway through the film. Then there’s Hydra, the evil organization that corrupted SHIELD in the last Captain America movie. 
 
The faithful, I am sure, find all of this thrilling; I find it limiting. I understand that when things start to go south, it may not be possible to avoid the question “Why not call the Avengers?” Yet the upshot of all the continuity is that there is a certain “middle movie” vibe to every Marvel movie. That’s fine for the small screen (or for old half-hour movie serials), where the next chapter is only a week away, but with a two-hour movie, I adhere to the old-fashioned idea that, generally speaking, there ought to be a beginning, middle and end.

 

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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For the completists:

 

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Russ wrote:

: To shoot that scene, I heard that they--in true The Limey fashion--just repurposed Michael Douglas's 23 year-old reaction shots from the interrogation scene from Basic Instinct.

 

Please tell me you're only kidding.

;)

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I thought this was a surprisingly watchable thrill ride. It had enough simple moments to appreciate the action sequences, and the Marvel in-jokes actually worked, mostly. The less you think about the science the better, and Corey Stoll was badly wasted in his part. My biggest complaint was that we're supposed to care more about the death of a lamb and an ant more than the death of a human being, but overall, it was a diverting watchable thrill ride.

 

Also, how many movies has Bobby Cannavale now done between this year and last year?

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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This is now one of only two MCU films that earned less than $60 million in its first weekend. The other was The Incredible Hulk. Note: both films co-starred an actress who previously played a female elf in Peter Jackson's Middle-Earth movies. Coincidence? I think not!

There might be one way to break the curse: cast Cate Blanchett in an MCU movie and see what happens.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I liked it quite a bit.  In relation to the onslaught of superhero movies, what some my call "pedestrian" I call "not overwhelming the story with action."   Not that *all* superhero movies do this, but it certainly happens.

 

I liked the little bit of dialogue that would get past our wondering why the Avengers wouldn't be involved in helping to solve their problems.  I could have done without that one particular battle at that one particular complex.

 

The humour was fun, not a Guardians of the Galaxy level of fun, but fun enough.  The last few years I've been feeling that I can only handle two or three big action movies a season, but I could handle several films like this.

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  • 2 weeks later...

There is a really weird close shot of Douglas' mouth (here) in the scenes where he is youthed, and all I could think about for the rest of the movie was the Conan O'Brien bit where they superimposed the mouth on George Bush (at :56).

 

Edited by M. Leary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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I finally saw Ant-Man last night, and I kept thinking, "This is a movie about one woman training four men to do her job." When I made myself look past that, there were some fun sequences and ideas, but nothing really memorable, except for the giant ant and Thomas train.

 

I knew

Scott would have to go subatomic at some point, and I assumed that when he did, he would find Hank's wife and rescue her. That doesn't happen, of course, but when I mentioned it on Facebook, some friends said you can see an outline of a woman in the subatomic sequence, hinting that they'll probably have to rescue her in the sequel.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
Twitter Blog

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Speaking of which, how is it possible to go subatomic if the "science" of Hank Pym's suit involves reducing the space between the atoms?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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