Tuesday, May 22 , 2018, 2:41 pm | Overcast 66º

 
 
 
 

Cinema in Focus

Advice

Cinema in Focus: ‘Ant-Man’

3 Stars — Thoughtful

The Walt Disney Studios has a rich history of creating and showcasing its own comic genius. Thus, the studio made a wise financial decision 20 years ago when it bought Marvel Studios and acquired its stable of heroes, ranging from X-Men and The Avengers, to Captain America, Iron Man and Spider-Man.

Collectively, these engaging characters bring in a gross revenue of close to $1 billion a year in addition to the $47 billion all of the other Disney financial streams that result from theme parks, movies, cruises, Broadway shows and television networks.

Now comes Marvel’s Ant-Man, starring Paul Rudd as Scott Lang (aka Ant-Man), an aimless boy in search of his manhood who discovers along the way that he has been chosen to save the world by wearing a specially made suit that allows him to be shrunk to ant-size or brought back to full size in the flash of an instant.

The creator of the suit is Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), a brilliant scientist whose secret is now being exploited and sold to the highest bidder by his former protégé, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll).

The story of Ant-Man follows the common-hero comic book theme in which greedy bad guys try to control the world to exploit the gullible in order to become rich and powerful. Dr. Pym, having realized he was being out-maneuvered by this former student, now finds himself put out to pasture from his own company.

Still in the company, though, is his daughter, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), who has an on-again/off-again relationship with the devious former protégé.

Following a predictable plot, Dr. Pym seduces Scott Lang into becoming Ant-Man, convinces him and his equally hapless friends that they have a purpose in life, introduces Scott to his daughter, who has now “seen the light” about how evil her boyfriend is, and together they all save the world, ending in Scott and the doctor’s daughter falling in love.

Despite its predictability, director Payton Reed has crafted together an enjoyable repartee between the players, an entertaining story and great music by none other than Adam Ant!

Like many comic book figures, the story of Ant-Man portrays how an ordinary person is capable of doing extraordinary things, perhaps even saving earth from destruction. Good and evil are clearly portrayed, the good guys are attractive and the bad guys are villainous in appearance, and love wins out in the end. This is a modern day morality play with a happy ending.

The challenging question is, what would we do in the same situation? Are we called into action when we least expect it, and do we heed the call? Rarely do people step up to be heroes. However, it is often a title given to someone who thought they were just doing their job.

Ant-Man is a good reminder to adults that opportunities for greatness might be closer than we think. It is also a great motivator for young people who more often than not mimic the behavior of the heroes they see bigger than life on the screen.

If we want to portray stories to the next generation about truth and virtue, I’ll take Ant-Man over James Bond and Rambo any day of the week.

Discussion

» The ability of the Marvel characters to lift the imaginations of a normal person to hero status speaks to most of us. If you could be a hero, what kind of hero would you be and what evil would you defeat?

» It is unlikely that science would find a way to harness the power of the ant, but if it did, do you think that power rests in the individual or the collective? Why isn’t this about the “Ant-people”?

» Love makes us both foolish and wise. In this film we see both. How has love operated in your life?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is a former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit www.cinemainfocus.com, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >