"Ant-Man" is possibly the dumbest movie made in 2015.
I say possibly because I obviously haven't seen every movie made in 2015.
And because there's stuff about it that works, too.
But as a whole... eh. Could've been better had they gone fully in the direction of a 1970's 16mm funk-niche ironic-comedy superhero movie.
But they didn't.
However "Ant-Man" DOES have shades of the auteur. Intriguing creative flourishes, bouts of cinephilia, etc.
Where does it come from?
Well, it was originally slated to be helmed by the director of 2004's "Shaun of the Dead" - Edgar Wright.
He's known for his strong, creative cinematic vision.
But due to creative differences with Marvel Studios, he was removed from the project.
He retains a writing credit.
Had the suits taken a chance with the auteur, like they did with "Deadpool" one year later... "Ant-Man" could've been a classic of the genre. Instead, it's just a product.
But it still retains the shades of his influence: some of the music choices, some of the comedy, some of the irreverent action, some of the more vivid stylizations...
And they handed the project over to the director of "Bring It On" (not a bad movie, actually) and other Hollywood romantic-comedies... Peyton Reed.
He's also credited as being a screenwriter on 'The Back to The Future Ride,' which is pretty fucking cool, let's just be real for a second.
Peyton Reed [the director of 'Ant-Man'] is credited (on IMDB) as a writer for 1991's 'Back to the Future Ride' in Universal Studios, Orlando, FL. This was one of my favorite rides / life experiences as a kid, so if I get a chance to mention it (regardless of context) ... I will! :-)
Interestingly, Mr. Reed directed another "Man" movie immediately previous to this one... The movie I'm referring to, of course, is Jim Carrey's 2008 "Yes Man."
Seen from a purely business perspective, Ant-Man's hyphenated escapist-romp could be seen as a Minimum Viable Product for Disney.
Just get the product out there (the product here being "Ant-Man"), without giving too much thought to 'perfection' or 'best quality possible' ...
...see how people react, what people react to, then revise the strategy - and deliver a new product.
Just keep feeding that appetite for big box office, & familiar, franchises. Doing it fast, doing it big. No time to fine tune all of the detail. This is a business, after all.
Watching this movie with hindsight I see the seeds of movies like "Deadpool" and "Doctor Strange" within "Ant-Man." Which, in itself, is interesting.
So, although the movie doesn't merit much autonomous value... as a component in the modern entertainment-media complex, it's a curious artifact.
I could also see how this franchise might contribute to the Hollywood bubble that's on the horizon.
OR: America goes ape-shit for Ant-Man. Who fuckin' knows anymore... Y'never know what the future'll bring.
It's always fun to travel to the edges of reality, especially in mainstream entertainment.
The tone shifts abruptly between mind-numbing & kitsch, so it's hard to fully enjoy it on any level... except, perhaps, as Juvenile-Chic.
"Ant-Man" is also a case study on heavy-handed Hollywood character identification.
The good guy is flawed, yet charming.
He is motivated by the love of his daughter & a budding romantic-love with his mentor's daughter.
He gets the girl, saves the day.
The side-kick is not as good looking, but hilarious.
And the bad guy is bad. No ambiguity.
Since everything is so exaggerated, the contours of the character archetypes are clearly visible.
So many corporate sponsorships.
If: Sex + Comedy + Action = $$$
Then, what does my opinion really matter?
What I'm not going to do, however, is write some long ass hot take comparing "Ant-Man" to "Night of the Lepus" (1972).
Watch both movies - do a double feature - and get a bloggin'.
There's a connection, but really, it's not that important.
More than anything "Ant-Man" is...
A simple story about the loveable, yet flawed, hero (that'll you'll never get to be) vs. pure evil
+ dumb spectacles.
Hero saves the day, defeats evil, gets the girl.