Marvel

“Ant-Man” film review

In short, Ant-Man was more enjoyable than I thought it’d be. In fact, it’s excellent. While Avengers: Age of Ultron almost collapsed underneath its sheer girth with all the characters and plot threads, Ant-Man benefits greatly with just four core cast members, all new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It works very well as a stand-alone film, just like Guardians of the Galaxy. There are nods to the other movies and of course its original source material, but they don’t confuse audiences who aren’t a follower of this mega-franchise.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a former systems engineer who just left prison after serving a sentence for petty theft. After he discovers a suit that allows him to shrink in size but also become physically stronger, he becomes a part of a “save the human race from their own demise by stopping a weapon getting into the wrong hands” plot that becomes much bigger than him (ha!). Guiding him is scientist Hank Pym (Michael Dougles), who became the original Ant-Man in the ‘60s after mastering the [INSERT SCIENCEY-FICTIONEY STUFF] that makes the shrinking ability possible. His estranged daughter, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), along with his former protégé, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) have taken over Pym’s company and pushed him out. There are fantastic side characters, but these are the four that matter.

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During this heist movie, arguably the biggest theme is family, especially with father figures. Lang’s wants to be the hero his young daughter thinks he is (she’s currently in the care of Lang’s ex-wife and new fiancé), and Pym has a strained relationship with his daughter and Cross, who Pym once saw as “the son he never had”. Cross despises Pym yet at the same time wants his approval so badly, that he’s willing to revive his mentor’s dangerous secretive technology.
All the personalities are brilliant. You root for Lang, because he made a terrible mistake and wants so badly to make everything right. Cross’s demeanour may be one of the most bloodcurdling in the entire MCU, yet he’s not some crazy super villain trying to conquer the world. Pym’s arc with his daughter becomes the most satisfying in the picture, and both are just bad arse characters.

You may be sick of origin stories at this point, but I doubt most non-comic book fans had even heard of Ant-Man, so watching him learn how to shrink in size, control ants and attack targets so much larger than him is simply thrilling to watch. The script and ideas are on point, and the sight of a vicious fight scene at microscopic size on a Thomas the Tank Engine train set was hilariously awesome. Despite the stakes of the heist hinging on a potential dangerous weapon, the characters are so good you just worry whether they get out alive, rather than if we all do.

Ant-Man is a superb motion-picture. For some, the superhero featured in this film seems a tad lame, but trust me, just go see the movie and you’ll change your mind. A great script, great cast, great action and a running time that doesn’t drag on at all, just go see it.

Rating: 4.5/5.

‘Big Hero 6’ review

Pixar Dreamworks Marvel Oh it’s a Disney film Disney have another hit on their hands. This wonderfully animated, charming, creative, heartfelt and humorous movie is not only perfect for the kids but has that grip to entertain absolutely anyone who enters that theatre no matter what age.

Big Hero 6 is a very loose adaptation of the rather obscure Marvel superhero team of the same name. The grammatically invalid name refers to six characters, none of which have any superpowers, but benefit from the wonders of their own scientific creations. The main guy is 14-year old Hiro Hamada, a genius who spends his time competing in illegal robot fights. Hiro meets his older brother Tadashi’s friends at the robotics lab at his university, GoGo, Wasabi, Honey Lemon and Fred. Tadashi also shows Hiro his creation, Baymax, a personal healthcare robot (a big, lovable and soft personal healthcare robot). I don’t wish to talk too much about the events that transpire, but a changed Hiro ends up forming a superhero team with Baymax and Tadashi’s friends to take down a mysterious masked villain.

The movie is set in…San Fransokyo! Yes it’s a combination of Tokyo and San Francisco, yes it’s the coolest damn thing ever and yes I want to live there now! What I found intriguing…and I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but how the city screams Tokyo at night but feels very American during the day. A simple Eastern/Western culture merge has made the world of Big Hero 6 so much more exciting, with the bridge, the trams and the Japanese scripts.

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This suggests a full-blown superhero movie, but that’s only in the second half. Still, this movie is awesome.

Hiro goes through many changes and development through this fast-paced movie. In the beginning I cheered for his cunning tricks in the robot fights but I definitely enjoyed seeing him live up to his potential as a science student and triumph through tragedy. Baymax will of course be the huge draw to this movie. The innocent robot stands out in every single scene he’s in, and not just with his physical presence. All he knows as a personal healthcare robot is to do no harm to any individual. He looks and feels like a big cuddly marshmallow, and naturally this leads to slapstick comedy. It’s also great watching Hiro try to transform him into a fighting superhero, with hilariously mixed results.

The other four members of the group almost felt like peripheral characters rather than part of the main cast, and that’s a shame because they all have likable personalities, brought together by a love for science. Honey Lemon appears at a glance to be a combination of the lovey dovey touchie-feelie blonde, with the fascinated nerd girl, but there’s more to her than that. GoGo is the tough tomboy of the group, but it isn’t beneath her to show compassion.  Fred is a “DUUUUDE” kind of guy, but not of the douchebag variety, while Wasabe is the reserved and sane one without being dull. It’s a refreshingly diverse cast both ethnically and in the female heroes. I hope GoGo’s call to arms, “woman up”, becomes the feminist catchphrase of 2015.

Aside from early on when the friends are introduced, you don’t get to spend much time with them outside of the action scenes. If there’s a sequel (and that’s an if, because Disney’s not a sequel machine like Dreamworks or new-age Pixar), it’d be great to see them develop as they work efficiently and believably as a friendship group bound together by a love of science.

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Speaking of which, the whole movie has a pro-science message, which is drawn into Baymax and the other characters’ powers. The love of science adds to the usual superhero story, by using their brains to make brawns they take down the villain at the end by being clever. It does this without actually boring the audience with scientific content. The twist of the villain’s identity I bet everyone will see coming, but the important thing is his motivations which I thought was handled admirably.

The lack of time to breathe is this movie’s biggest flaw. It does move at a fast pace, which is a strength but also a weakness. Big Hero 6’s short running time did not create something meaningful out of the plot’s shift into a superhero movie. The movie is called Big Hero 6 but it really is Hiro‘s story, with Baymax as his co-star. Now this criticism isn’t a scolding, because who am I to complain about awesome superhero costumes and powers? If a sequel is made, it would be great to explore the other heroes, because they have interesting personalities. In spite of all that, Hiro and Baymax are the heart of the film, and the heart beats strongly.

Big Hero 6 is a really great movie that left me wanting more. No it’s not quite as amazing as Frozen or the best of Pixar, but it’s definitely as great as Tangled or Wreck-It-Ralph. Disney seems to be on another streak of great movies, and Big Hero 6 will be loved by generations, for generations. Go see it!

Rating: 4.5/5.

Even this poster focuses on Hiro and Baymax, rather than the Big Hero 6. Perhaps a more accurate title would be Big Hiro's 6. Also, look how awesome San Fransokyo looks!

Even this poster focuses on Hiro and Baymax, rather than the Big Hero 6. Perhaps a more accurate title would be Big Hiro’s 6, but who cares –  look how cool San Fransokyo is!

“Iron Man 3” review

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If you think they were going to downscale Iron Man after The Avengers than you were wrong! Iron Man 3 is here and it blew away all expectations!

Tony Stark is experiencing post-traumatic stress order after “New York”, which refers to the alien invasion that occurred in The Avengers. His ways of dealing with this stress takes a toll on his relationship with his girlfriend, Pepper Potts.  After his home is destroyed by a huge threat, he sets out to get revenge on those responsible and to protect America from the Mandarin terrorist group that has blown up a series of bombs on American soil.

The beginning was slow. Real slow. We go through a flashback to 1999 to introduce a couple of characters. Maya Hansen, one of Stark’s one-night stands, is a scientist who invented the Extremis, which is a treatment that can regenerate crippling injuries. Aldrich Killian, a disabled scientist, wanted Stark and Hanson in his company, but Stark rejected the offer and humiliated him in the process.

Even after this flashback, the story continues to be a slow starter. Once the action starts, it doesn’t stop. The jokes don’t stop, and I think this has the funniest dialogue of any Marvel film adaptation. This film is over two hours long, and I just did not want it to end. The plot may feel overwrought at times, but it’s not too difficult to follow. Action movies have the ability to make you think in your head “Oh my God, this is just so awesome”. I thought that multiple times, because these action sequences did not let up. Tony Stark did not stop being Tony Stark, which is great because Robert Downey Jr does a fantastic job with the character.

I remember loving Iron Man 1 and The Avengers, but I also remember not liking Iron Man 2 for reasons I can’t recall…I will remember how good Iron Man 3 is for a very long time.

It’s not all perfect; I picked up a few flaws, but almost everything else I overwhelmingly view positively.

Downey Jr once again plays a great starring role as the one and only Iron Man. The film starts off a bit slow, but once we finally get into the swing of things, we don’t look back because we simply can’t resist the awesomeness inhabiting our screen. The only way I possibly couldn’t recommend this is if you have a very strange dislike for Iron Man, The Avengers or superhero movies in general. To everyone else: you should have seen it by now!

Rating: 4.5/5.

I also would recommend you read my friend Pigeon’s review too, he is a film/TV university student, so he knows what he’s talking about!