(Editor’s Note: This comes to us from Aggressor Scott Muchow, who has been generously writing us reviews of the various Disney previews shown exclusively at the park. Thanks again Scott!)
Tonight, Disney opened up a 3D extended preview screening of Ant-Man at Disney’s California Adventure park. It was initially limited to Annual Passholders, but starting Friday morning, it will be open to all park attendees.
I’m a Marvel guy…mostly, and by that I mean I grew up reading Marvel Star Wars. Sure my time was peppered with the occasional superhero book, and I really dug Iron Man, but they just didn’t hold my imagination like that galaxy far far away. Obviously the landscape has changed and now that Marvel has established a blisteringly successful and awesome cinematic universe, I am more a fan than ever.
That being said, Ant-Man, for me, has not yet grabbed my attention. Maybe it’s that I never read the right books as a kid, or maybe it’s just the characters “powers”, but I have just been meh about this superhero and film. In fact, I have been more interested in the film’s production woes than what they were actually producing. I know, take away my geek card and whether this is good, bad or otherwise, it was how I approached tonight’s extended preview.
The preview opens to a disheveled Scott Lang looking at himself in the bathroom mirror, a shot we have seen in the official trailer. But, this time we get to see the eight or so minutes that follow. Now, this preview could have been edited for time, but it appeared to flow quite well and not leave anything out. I would guess this bit of film to be somewhere toward the end of the first act.
Anyway, Scott looks down to the floor by the sink where there sits a regular looking backpack. Scott’s voiceover says “Why would anybody lock this up?”. We then see him unzip the backpack and start pulling out all the various parts of the Ant-Man costume. He looks a bit bewildered, analyzing each piece of the suit and obviously trying to figure it all out. He messes with of the belt attachments and ejects a vile filled with red liquid.
The next shot shows Scott with all the parts spread out around the bathtub, some of which are hooked up to a charger while he is huddled over a separate pice working on it. This cuts immediately to Scott in the full suit, standing in the bathtub. Just then his friends come through the front door and Scott pulls the shower curtain closed. Looking at the buttons on his hands he starts clicking them, and thats when it happens, ZAP, Scott is shrunken down and takes a long fall to the bottom of the tub, just as his friend walks in looking for him. This friend pulls back the shower curtain and, not seeing Scott, decides to turn on the tub water… ok, I know, don’t ask, I have no clue why, maybe he wanted a midday bath, but, it provided the much needed peril for our new micro-hero.
We then hear Hank Pym’s voice talking to Scott as the bathtub tsunami envelopes him. Hank explains that he has remotely activated the suit and this is basically a test. Scott flies over the edge of the tub, avoids getting crushed, falls through some cracks in the floor, bounces off water pipes the bursts through the ceiling of a dance club landing flat on a spinning record. This provides the first sight gag as a spread eagle Scott is spun squarely into the turntable needle, between the legs, causing him to fly off to the dance floor where he must avoid getting stepped on by a multitude of different dancing footwear.
He falls into a floor heater vent (which makes so much sense at a trendy dance club) to land in another apartment, on the carpet, next to a Lego block, about to be swallowed by a vacuum cleaner. He is sucked up into the vacuum which immediately gets plugged by the Lego block. We see the maid turn off the vacuum just as tiny Scott shoots out through the side of the vacuum bag, across the room and well, I believe into an adjacent room or closet, it was hard to tell.
Here on the dark side of the wall Scott is confronted with an ROUS. The rat sees little Scott, growls and gives chase, and I mean growls, it sounded like a lion, I almost laughed. Anyway, Scott runs, jumps on a mousetrap which activates, launching him through the air, out the window and down to the street landing on the roof of a car. We see the driver sitting there as a tiny dent appears on the roof inside. The final shot shows Scott zapping to full size while laying on the roof of the car. He pops off the mask gasping for breath while we hear Hank Pym tell him to keep the suit, and that he’ll be in touch.
We are then launched into a full trailer. This trailer is mostly comprised of the stuff we have already seen in the official trailer with a few new cut scenes that flesh out the story a bit more. There is some focus on voiceover and shots of Scott’s training, like “OK, now you are going to learn to fly” while he rides a flying insect through traffic.
There is a scene where Scott shows his three buffoon friends the power of the suit with his mentor Hank in the room and another where Scott is prepping his friends for a heist of some kind. It’s a lot of fast paced eye candy, a lot. There is even one shot that shows Scott riding his flying steed through some kind of computer mainframe, basically a bunch or wires going all directions, and all my Star Wars brain saw was the Millennium Falcon-Death Star run in Jedi.
So, did the Disney/Marvel marketing machine change my mind about the film? No, not really. I left feeling just as meh as before, and I don’t like that, honestly. I wanted to be blown away, I wanted this preview to make me a fan. I like all the actors involved and hopefully we see more of their character’s personas and less whiz bang in the full film.
It’s weird, a lot of things about this film are new, different powers leading to things we haven’t seen before, yet, it all felt tired and old. It felt like it had been done before and not in an awesome allusions to or homage kind of way, but in a formula lead-you-by-the-nose origin story way. I will say it looks fun, it looks popcorn, heck some of the crowd cheered and clapped… it doesn’t look Winter Soldier, I’m not even sure it looks Iron Man 3. I’ll see it in the theatre at some point, but I’m not making any plans to be there opening weekend. I think Ant-Man will make a great Avenger, and his addition to the team and those movies will be super cool, I just don’t care much how he gets there.
Walking out of the theatre a ten year old girl was next to us, leaving with her dad, she jumped up and down excitedly and exclaimed “now I really want to see the movie”. And alas, there it was, I realized that, surprisingly, we might not be the target audience this time around.