“Pick on someone your own size!”
There is a part of me that fears 2015 will be the beginning of a sustained saturation on the part of Disney, as they set their sights on a constant barrage of Marvel and Star Wars movies in the next few years. But after watching Peyton Reed’s fun and harmless stocking-filler Ant-Man, I can’t help but feel that as long as the quality continues, which often comes from the variation and rotation of directors and actors, they can carry on churning these out in their sleep if it means the cinema is worth going to. Anyway, I digress, on to the movie…
What I liked…
Nearly anonymous as the ant itself, the hero squeezes itself nicely and quietly into Marvel lore without upsetting the apple cart. it copes with covering a few expanded universe topics within its tiny frame well.
Filmed more like an Oceans Eleven crime caper than a superhero movie, with Michael Peña’s performance as Rudd’s partner in crime an absolute show-stealer. Shame he is underused really.
Reed dives straight into the comedic side of Marvel and pulls off some hilarity at just the right moments. The quipping gets stale, but the trio of new actors into the universe freshens things up nicely.
Although it takes a while to get to, the action scenes are a big highlight. Not only is the fight with the Falcon fairly amusing, but the final battle on the train track is nothing short of genius, as it jumps between the small scale and large in inventive ways.
What I didn’t like…
So generic that sometimes you feel a bit robbed of the film experience. In fact, its lack of mobility within the Marvel framework is so obvious that the script even parodies itself on that account.
Distracts itself with some fairly tedious sub plots and spends twenty minutes too long within the trio of Rudd, Lilly and Douglas. Because of this, it becomes slightly repetitive instead of episodic like it needed to be, even to the point of repeating jokes near the end.
I really liked the villain, but the overall threat is hard to feel tense about when you just know the film is simply an introduction. The inevitable “bad guy version of the suit” a la Iron Man is soooo predictable.
Verdict: Painfully generic for most of the film, but fun, fast paced and becomes admirably ambitious in playing with the science near the end. A satisfying slice of Marvel pie that everyone can enjoy. 7/10
“Chappie no crimes!”
After the relative disappointment of Elysium, Neill Blomkamp’s next movie was never going to be particularly highly anticipated. Nevertheless, many eyes turned towards Chappie, another South African movie that looked cool on the trailers and had the potential to be another allegoric master-stroke like District 9. But to put it bluntly, it isn’t anywhere near.
What I liked…
Chappie. The impressionable robotic youth really grows on you after a while and by the end you are rooting for his cause as he hands Hugh Jackman a new one by throwing an office tantrum.
It’s actually surprisingly funny. The movie’s saving grace is that it leaned more towards the comedic aspects of science-fiction, with Chappie himself especially adding to the general levity.
What I didn’t like…
Constantly borrows from other films in a slightly perverse rather than respectful way. Classic films like Short Circuit and Robocop are dug out of their graves and dressed up for the sake of referencing. I know it’s a pet hate, but it’s still unnecessary and shameful.
I like Die Antwoord, I really do. And I commend Neill Blomkamp for giving them a shot. But let’s face it, from the get go you know the acting is poor and it really prevents any sense of drama and tension being created. Esepcailly Ninja, it really is painful.
Verdict: I really hope Blomkamp doesn’t fall down the M. Night Shyamalan hole here. After District 9’s quality script and fantastic acting, I can’t help but feel he has fallen foul to believing his own hype. Let’s face it, if Chappie didn’t have the amazing looking robot and high production value, it would be borderline awful in terms of script and plot. 5/10