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Ant-Man (3D Blu-ray Review)

Ant-ManMarvel, the Studio who brought you “The Avengers”, now brings to life one of the original Avengers — Marvel’s Ant-Man. Bring home the epic heist as Ant-man embraces his inner hero and harnesses the unique ability to shrink in scale to save not only the world, but his daughter. Full of both humor and heart, Marvel’s Ant-man is the perfect gift this holiday on Blu-ray and Digital HD. Get it early on Digital 3D, Digital HD, and Disney Movies Anywhere November 17 & on 3D Blu-Ray™ Combo Pack, Blu-Ray, DVD, Digital SD and On-Demand December 8, 2015!

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Film 

The next evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe introduces the newest member of the Avengers: Marvel’s Ant-Man. Armed with the amazing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang joins forces with his new mentor Dr. Hank Pym to protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from ruthless villains! With humanity’s fate in the balance, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a daring heist against insurmountable odds. Filled with humor, awesome special effects and exclusive bonus features, this action-packed adventure takes you to new levels of pulse-pounding excitement!

With all the hub bub about Phase 3, The Avengers: Age Of Ultron and the constant character announcements of Captain America: Civil War…Ant-Man seemed to get lost in the fold.  It was the final film in Phase 2, but came in this weird in between spot, playing more as an epilogue than additional chapter.  The film also saw a controversial changing of the guard when popular geek director Edgar Wright left the project due to Marvel’s insistence that it tie into the rest of the universe.  Peyton Reed was brought on and Adam McKay and Paul Rudd did some rewrites on the film.  I guess, it had some people sketchy going in.  It didn’t matter though, as the film did half a billion worldwide and as a whole was more successful than Thor and Captain America’s first outings (Cheaper to make, too).

From where we currently sit in the Marvel Universe’s storyline, Ant-Man is a nice breath of fresh air, with a smaller, more personal journey that doesn’t find our hero trying to prevent the entire world from being destroyed in its final act.  He’s just trying to save, himself, his friends and family and a deal from being brokered.  The film doesn’t try to act like its inventing the wheel, just that its trying to make its own version of it.  And honestly, thematics of the “becoming a superhero” gist aside, Ant-Man is kind of a unique tale that we haven’t seen done this way before.

First off, this movie is actually very funny.  Its got a silly superhero with a silly concept and it knows to keep its tone in that favor.  Paul Rudd is the perfect actor to play Scott Lang.  He’s so terrific in this that I’m excited to see how he mixes it up with the other Avengers when he comes to play.  However, we do have a scene stealer here in the form of Michael Pena.  Pena is in rare form, as he tells his little stories and makes a big play in embracing a not so intelligent character.  I also enjoy Evangeline Lilly playing some strong support and am thrilled we are going to get to see the Wasp take flight in the sequel (A character Joss Whedon has been trying to include in a movie since the first Avengers).  Michael Douglas brings the “classing it up” role to the forefront, but he more than shine here with his dramatics and humor.

Where I think impresses and hits the mark the most in the film is in its action and special effects sequences.  The film really gets it just right.  This is in terms of fully realizing what they’re able to do here.  There is some left on the table and I’m sure future installments with our hero will continue to push boundaries, but there isn’t really anything that you’d feel is left on the table.  They take what is basically a superhero slugging match (akin to Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk finales) and make it feel new, interesting, different and fun.  It carries both thrills and the humor that the film had built upon to this point (The Thomas the Train gag still gets me).  There’s plenty more to explore, but they did a really fine job of establishing the vision here in this first outing.

I really enjoy Ant-Man quite a bit.  While, when making a preferential order of all the Marvel films we have now, this one probably lands somewhere in the middle, that just goes to show how quality of a product the studio is constantly putting out.  All the right players behind the camera and in front seem to be in place, it’ll be very interesting with Ant-Man and The Wasp to see how they craft a picture that is their own complete vision from start to finish.

Ant-Man 1

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 MVC (3D Presentation), MPEG-4 AVC (2D Presentation)

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  Guess what?  This picture is of quite spectacular quality as one would expect from a Marvel/Disney Blu-ray. Detail is like looking through a window, just knowing what the textures on clothing, costumes, technology and surfaces feels like.  The image is sharp and crisp, giving a full but naturalistic looking on its more urban settings and a polished one in its technology lab settings.  Effects hold up quite well and look smooth and part of the frame with its live action elements.

Depth/3D: The 3D work on this film is something to be respected.  Distance and depth work looks terrific in even the most stale, static “talking” sequences and of course looks good in action.  Where Ant-Man has the advantage using this format is during his small sequences, where the technology makes everything around him look so large and vast.  While I’m not one who “needs” or cares much for the 3D gimmick, its really impressive and does enhance the viewing for this particular film.

Black Levels:  Blacks are filthy rich and provide wonderful shading and assist in the definition of objects and characters.  No crushing here at all and the detail work on darker material (Clothing, hair, surface) still comes through very well.

Color Reproduction:  Colors do their best to look bold and rich. Yellows and reds pop pretty good, especially on the Ant-Man and Yellowjacket outfits.  Greens pertaining to nature, like grass and whatnot also have a good amount of tones and are striking.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and maintain their appearance throughout the runtime.  Facial details like stubble, cuts, belmishes, make-up and lip texture all look good and spot on no matter the camera distance.

Noise/Artifacts:  You crazy?  You know this one is spotless.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics:  Like the video, this audio is of demo quality.  The 7.1 track rifles through your viewing area.  Scenes with micro Scott Lang fill the room with large sounds.  The effects are nice and dynamic, with a distinct feel as if every little zip/zap is accounted for.  Balance of the score, vocals and sound effects is very fluid, with none stomping on each others toes and acting harmoniously.

Low Frequency Extension:  The LFE provides a great boost in terms of things crashing down, the enhancement of something like the tub water running when Scott is small and your typical gunfire, explosions and punches with oompf. 

Surround Sound Presentation:  An incredibly active 7.1 track features lasers zapping from side to side and front to back.  The rear channels also provide terrific ambiance for all environments, including hearing ants and such from underground and other “science things” going on at Pym labs.  The front speakers procure each bit of sound with accurate placement and movement as to where an object or person is on screen.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are loud, clear and crisp.  Every word uttered displays every bit of breath it takes to say it.

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Extras 

Ant-Man combo pack is a 2-disc set that comes with the 3D Blu-ray and standard Blu-ray versions of the film as well as an Ultraviolet Digital Copy.

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Peyton Reed and Actor Paul Rudd

Making of An Ant-Sized Heist: A How-To Guide (HD, 14:34) – This is your pretty standard “Making Of” Featurette.  The actors, director, Kevin Feige and others cover things in the production from stunts, effects, costuming, actor preparation and the many aspects of making the movie.

Let’s Go To The Macroverse (HD, 8:06) – Focuses on showing us the inner workings of how they filmed all the scenes and environments with a shrunken Ant-Man.  There are discussions on deciding the aspect ratio for the film, what kind of ants to use and what they do and their research/ideas on the quantum realm.

WHIH Newsfront – News clips from the world of Ant-Man.  Its neat that it brings back Leslie Bibb to reprise her role as Christine Everhart from Iron Man 1 &2.

  • WHIH Promo (HD, 1:21)
  • Vista Corp Heist (HD, 1:49)
  • Darren Cross Interview (HD, 2:36)
  • Scott Lang Live (HD, 3:25)

Deleted & Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary (HD, 8:36) 

Gag Reel (HD, 3:25)

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Summary 

Marvel succeeds once again with Ant-Man.  Another adventure into an obscure character that is another very good film.  This one plays more comedy than the others, and it works quite good especially with a strong performance from its lead and supporting players.  This Blu-ray presentation is nothing short of outstanding with the best in video and audio.  The extras are the usual average mumbo jumbo we come to expect from Marvel at this point, but its right in line with the other movies (I kinda miss those One-Shots).  You know you’re going to grab this one, and you really should as its not only an awesome little movie, but its an awesome little Blu-ray.

Ant-Man-Blu-ray

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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