Ant-Man, It’s Fun!

I am a fan of all things Marvel. People around me though, have various reaction to my choice of movies. Like one day, inside an office lift, my colleague and I were chatting about the one topic worth chatting in less than a minute, on a Friday – what’s your plan for weekend? I told him Guardians of the Galaxy. He went huh? I skipped Star-Lord (and avoided who?) and replied Rocket Raccoon? He went … a raccoon?! He clearly doesn’t know his stuff and I had an invisible eye rolling moment.

Anyhow, this time round, inside the lift, I replied Ant-Man. My female colleague went, “Huh? It must be a guy thing.” I said solemnly, “Yes, it is a guy thing.”

Ant-Man, a movie.

The fun doesn’t stop here. When I asked my wife out for an Ant-Man movie, her first reaction was, “Will we be able to see the character?” It was her polite way to decline my date invitation. Too bad. Once you are married, any right to say no to a date has been revoked. As before, I have booked the tickets weeks in advance. Due to some technical glitches, only one theater was available for online booking. And the screen was very tiny and I would prefer a large one. When I told that to Dave and Zep – our two Marvel movie buddies – they had a good laugh on that (ants and small screen, yes?). They still do.

Now, onto the movie, I honestly have no idea what or who Ant-Man was had I not played Marvel Heroes the online game. On that note alone, I would think that it could be a pretty tall order for Marvel Studios to pull this off. Let’s first talk about character development, because it is important for a less well known hero.

We have the comedian Paul Rudd as the main character, the soon-to-be Ant-Man. A likeable actor that suits the overall mood of this movie – fun. Then Michael Douglas, whom I presume is the star power behind this movie, as Hank Pym. It is a bit odd to see him on the good side, although in the realm of Marvel Universe, the line between good and evil is often blurred out. Lastly, the charming Evangeline Lilly from Lost who plays Hope, the daughter of Hank Pym. They have done a good job in unfolding the story, just about.

This trio is definitely not your everyday heroes running around on the street of Manhattan saving civilians. Ant-Man is not one of those superhero movies. If the scriptwriters were to stick to the original comic book plot, this movie would have looked something like this as taken from Marvel Heroes the online game website (this also explained one of the ending scenes in the movie).

Though a brilliant electronics expert, Scott Lang had made his share of bad decisions. Having served time in prison for burglary, Scott would return to his life of crime in order to save his terminally ill daughter, Cassie. Stealing the Ant-Man suit from Hank Pym, Scott would use the suit to save Dr. Erica Sondheim, the only doctor capable of saving Cassie from her heart condition. Once he realized that Scott was only trying to do the right thing, Hank Pym not only let Scott keep the suit, but gave him his blessing as the brand new Ant-Man!

So here lies the real challenge with Ant-Man the movie. Stealing a suit to save one’s daughter doesn’t seem as big as a deal comparing to saving the world. How faithful should the script sticks to the original story? Some fans may be even rooting for Hank Pym as the Ant-Man. Fear not. I reckon there will be a Ant-Man Original one day. Another era, another reboot.

Meanwhile, did we enjoy watching Ant-Man? We do. It is fun and entertaining. Just when the scene becomes serious, one actor would crack some jokes and we laughed, in between tears and what not. The visual effect of Ant-Man shrinking and collaborating with his troop of ants is well made. The fight scene that takes place around children toys is hilarious. Just don’t expect Ant-Man as your usual save-the-world kind of superhero movie.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps – A Worthy Sequel

Thanks to Omy.sg, we have received a pair of tickets to watch the world premiere of “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” at our favorite cinema in town – The Cathay.  I can’t remember when I watched the original film “Wall Street (1987)” on rental (I am really not that old) as my memory on the plot was fuzzy.  It would be a good idea to grab a copy and refresh your mind before September 23, when the sequel is opened in theaters.  You may get more kicks from this sequel.

Michael Douglas has won an Oscar for his role in “Wall Street (1987)”.  His return on this sequel as Gordon Gekko comes with great expectation.  I was fully engrossed by his performance throughout the movie.  That fire in his eyes, that emotion.  Some scenes moved me.  British actress Carey Mulligan plays the role of Gordon’s daughter, Winnie.  I love her performance in the award winning movie “An Education“.  And she is a worthy supporting actress for Michael Douglas in this movie – father and daughter in an estranged relationship.  In “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”, Josh Brolin picks up the role as the villain – a hedge fund managing partner.  For some strange reason, I think he has played the role well because his character reminds me of some real life people whom I know and are of that caliber or social status.  In comparison, Shia LaBeouf’s performance as the trader, Jake, may not be as memorable.  But as a whole, the movie has a strong casting.

The beauty of this movie, to me, is the background of the story.  Set during the financial crisis in 2008, the story begins with the collapse of a financial institute that reminds me as part Bear Stearns and part Lehman Brothers, the government’s bail out process, and then the sub-prime crisis that leads to a wider collapse of the banking system.  As someone who is working in this industry and have friends and colleagues who were affected by the financial crisis, this movie captures the sentiment and the background well – the free fall of stock prices, the painful nationalization process.  It relived my memory.  When we now talk about sub-prime, it seems so far away.  But that was only two years ago.

I don’t think that “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” is positioned as a movie primarily to entertain – solid acting aside (although I must say that I was excited by the crisis in the movie while Cynthia didn’t quite feel the same).  And the financial aspect of the story may be challenging for some to follow.  The movie to me is reflective in nature.  For example, through the three main characters – Gordon, Winnie, and Jake – the movie has explored the different aspects of “money does not matter (then what does?)”.  We seem to have a different definition of what money is for.  And there is this concept of moral hazard when no one is responsible in managing money.  The movie also prompts us to reflect upon the economic bubbles that we have created time and time again dated all the way back to the days of tulips (?!).  The movie even attempts to predict what the next bubble would be (wouldn’t it be funny if that turns out to be true?).  The most memorable part of this 133 minutes long movie?  The very dialog that gives forth its title.  For those of you who are going to watch to show, please pay attention to the beginning and ending narration and drop me a comment here on what you think of it for I don’t fully get what the narrator is trying to say.  Thanks in advance!