The summer time is when we rush into dark theatres blasting ice cold air so we can watch the biggest and baddest actors on the planet duke it out — often against computer-generated foes — for a delightful two hours.
It’s a formula that has worked out well, particularly this summer where it seems no box office record is safe.
But with the release of “Ant-Man”on July 17, we are in store for something different.
Don’t worry, if you like large things blowing up and insane action sequences, there’s plenty of that. But this is unlike most Marvel movies in the way that there’s a playfulness about it that lowers the stakes of world destruction or preventing bad guys from obtaining Infinity Stones.
A lot of that has to do with the actor playing Ant-Man — Paul Rudd.
We know Rudd for his comedy, ranging from the early days of his career with “Wet Hot American Summer” to being one of Judd Apatow‘s go-to guys in movies like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up.”
Rudd has always had an edge to him, but not in an intimidating or offensive way. Even at his most dickish (“Role Models” or “Dinner for Schmucks“), there’s always a redeeming quality that makes us still like him by the end credits.
This summer we’ve seen hunky guys like Chris Pratt dominate the box office in “Jurassic Park,” Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson take on “San Andreas,” and Arnold Schwarzenegger return in “Terminator Genisys” — all engulfing the screen with incredible feats of strength and tenacity. Could Rudd’s persona work in the tough guy mould we expect our summer movie heroes to be?
It does because thanks to rewrites by Rudd and “Anchorman” writer-director Adam McKay, “Ant-Man” still has action and thrills but plays to Rudd’s strengths of witty one-liners and self-deprecating humour.
Some of Rudd’s most memorable moments in his career are when the directors let him and fellow actors rift off one another. With Rudd involved in the writing process, he’s able to throw in a few lines of his own, giving the Ant-Man character something that his fans are familiar with.
This was crucial because if you aren’t familiar with the “Ant-Man” comics before seeing the movie you might not know what the heck you’ve gotten yourself into.
Ant-Man is a superhero who wears a suit that allows him to shrink to nearly microscopic size while still keeping strength of normal size. He can communicate with ants, which he uses as an army to complete missions.
Rudd is perfect in the role because he gives his character Scott Lang — a burglar who tries to get on the straight-and-narrow for the sake of his daughter until he meets Dr. Hank Pam (Michael Douglas) who wants him to become the Ant-Man — the mix of sarcasm and charm the audience needs to ease into the story.
Once you’re in, the Marvel machine takes it from there with incredible references of the universe and a fun comedic tone (looking at you Michael Peña) that hasn’t been found in any of the films from the studio so far (yes, even “Guardians of the Galaxy”).
But all of that is because of what Rudd gives us.
In a season where the giants rule, it’s this regular guy who may be the most interesting.
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