Friday, January 9, 2015

'Ant-Man' teaser trailer review

"Second chances don't come around all that often. I suggest you take a really close look at it. This is your chance to earn that look in your daughter's eyes, to become the hero that she already thinks you are." — Hank Pym to Scott Lang 

"Scott, I need you to be the Ant-Man." — Pym 

My silver cybernetic fan-helmet goes off to Marvel Studios for its July 17 release of "Ant-Man," which looks like another potential home run.

What else can you say about a studio that dares to not only make a movie about a hero who can miniturize himself, but puts that same film in the heart of the summer movie season?

Ant-Man (played by Paul Rudd) gets a ride.
In fact, I predict "Ant-Man" could be the biggest surprise of the summer — if not the year. (You might not be the only fan who isn't familiar with the character or his powers. … Don't worry; Screen Rant has a post that's basically "Ant-Man 101.")

Marvel was brilliant when it first released the trailer — by putting out what was called "an ant-sized look at 'Ant-Man.'" Like many fans, I assumed the cutesie language was a reference to the superhero's ability to shrink and commune/communiate with ants and insects … only to discover the images were microscopic!

Luckily a few days later, Marvel unveiled the same footage on ABC after the fun and brilliant pilot of the seven-part "Agent Carter" series. And thank the fanboy/fanboy gods — it was full size! (Keep in mind Disney owns both ABC and Marvel, so that was spot-on marketing that makes everyone happy.)

And your luck continues: Yours truly at Cary's Comics Craze has a review of this trailer — complete with what this footage and quotes from Michael Douglas' Dr. Henry "Hank" Pym and Paul Rudd's Scott Lang might mean …!

At its heart, this footage leads me to believe "Ant-Man" is a story centered around second chances and redemption. (More on that later!) Mostly this assumption is based on Lang, but Pym fits into this possible scenario too.

Lang is either estranged from his young daughter or at the very least, she's lost faith in her father. And Lang's life hasn't gone so well. The cops surround him at gunpoint when he is dressed in a stereotypical, black robber/burglar get-up. Lang puts his hands up to surrender and undoubtedly is arrested. Presumably, this life of crime sends him to prison, where it appears Lang is no model inmate. (Isn't that him in the middle of the bird's eye shot scrapping with other inmates?)

By the time Lang is wearing the Ant-Man gear, he is stroking his daughter's cheek at her bedside and she's smiling (presumably at her father). This leads me to believe Lang is seeking redemption in his daughter's eyes and wants a second chance to being a better dad.

But how does Lang get there?

First, some background: In the comics, Lang is a felon who steals Pym's Ant-Man suit and equipment (which is still likely in the film). But I have a better theory for "Ant-Man" — that brings me to Pym and another second chance.

Michael Douglas in 2013
With 70-year-old Michael Douglas playing Pym, in the words of Murtaugh from the "Lethal Weapon" franchise, he's "getting too old for this s***." To put it simply, Pym has aged out of the superhero business. I'm hoping he's done the Ant-Man gig for years and has retired. That would mean he is looking for a young protégé. The other possibility is Pym recently perfected his Pym Particles and is seeking a man young enough to use his invention. In that case, I have no idea why Pym would have created the Ant-Man identity and gear, but that doesn't matter. …

Either way, Pym finds Lang. I suspect Pym sees the younger man as a pet project — a person whom he sees has the opportunity to not only do good — but more importantly, be good. Once Pym tells Lang "I need you to be the Ant-Man," this leads to the only humor in the trailer when Lang dead-pans to Pym: "One question: Is it too late to change the name?"

As I said in my 2015 genre film preview, the Lang character will be a challenge for Rudd. He's a comedic actor who has been type-cast as the lovable schmuck. As far as I know, Rudd hasn't taken on any dramatic roles of any significance, much less played a superhero. I have no doubt Rudd has great acting chops; "Ant-Man" can be his way of showing the world he's more versatile than we expect.

Dr. Henry "Hank" Pym (Michael Douglas, left)
speaks to Scott Lang (Paul Rudd).
The teaser trailer isn't action-heavy. Sure, Ant-Man throws a baddie through a window, but look out for Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne literally kicking some ass. Whether she's in the middle of a rigorous workout or is attacking someone and/or defending herself is unclear.

Regardless, Lilly rocks a Janet Van Dyne-esque pixie-style hairdo. Does that mean the Wasp is far behind or is that simply an Easter egg-style homage to Van Dyne? (For the sake of adding more to the interconnected Marvel cinematic universe, I sure hope the Wasp comes to the big screen — and I'm sure millions of other fans are with me! Can I get an "Amen" from my fellow fanboys and fangirls?!)

With the trailer footage focusing on redemption as much as it does Ant-Man getting down to the shrinking superhero business (see what I did there?), there also are a lot of scenes set in what appears to be Pym Tech. That makes sense since the Pym character is a genius inventor. And if that's the case, it sets up Pym to be a legitimate contributor to the science and technology fields (not unlike Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark) and not the underrated mad genius as he's portrayed in the comics.
Ant-Man gives a thumbs-up in this shot from the film —just as
Cary's Comics Craze gives the teaser trailer a big thumbs-up!

That leads to more questions: Is Hope Van Dyne one of Pym's researchers or employees? Is she by chance his daughter? Is Van Dyne nicknamed or better known as Janet? Will she become the Wasp — either by accident or by her own decision? If so, would the Wasp eventually become Ant-Man's crime-fighting partner by the end of the film? Would the two be integrated into the "Avengers" films? Will Van Dyne and Lang become a "thing"? Does Lang's arrest come when he steals Pym's Ant-Man gear? Or is it a separate situation? If not, how does Lang know about the equipment? Or does he just stumble upon it during a Pym Tech break-in?

Ahhh … One more question — How long until "Ant-Man" is released? The answer is simple: Waaaay too long. Grade: A-

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