Ant-Man

2015, Walt Disney Studios

As a piece of filmmaking, Ant-Man actually works pretty well, mostly because it doesn't take itself too seriously, as so many superhero films do. It's not necessarily an outright comedy, but it has light comic touches that don't detract from the story it tells, creating an enjoyable balance. Paul Rudd has a disarming charm that's not too goofy, and Michael Douglas manages a subtle self-parody, giving his throw-away role much-needed substance. Technically speaking, the film is relatively lean (in contrast to many bloated CGI extravaganzas) and well-structured, with a consistently breezy pace, decent performances, and top-drawer special effects, as one would come to expect from a modern big-studio production. Overall, it's more satisfying than I'd expected given its absurd premise.

     

 

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Ant-Man and the Wasp

2018, Walt Disney Studios

In a rare twist, here's a sequel that's (somewhat) better than the original. Pulling in Evangeline Lilly as Paul Rudd's full-time partner provides loads of opportunities for clever banter, keeping the mood light and the pace swift. While it has some extraordinary set pieces, it does get bogged down in a messy, too-complex, technobabble-laden ending, but if you turn off your brain, you'll make it through just fine. A decent two-hour light show, if nothing else.

     

 

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