Action Adventure

'Ant-Man' Blu-ray Review: Marvel's tiniest hero packs a big punch

December 8, 2015Ben Mk





FEATURE: 
According to comic book canon, Ant-Man is one of the founding members of the Avengers; but in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he's only now joining the well-established ranks of the big screen's most prominent superhero team. Now it's time for the tiniest Avenger to take his place alongside the likes of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye. But first, we have to get the origin story out of the way.


In Ant-Man, Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang, an electrical-engineer-turned-cat-burglar who was imprisoned after blowing the whistle on the misdeeds of his employer, Vista Corp. Oh, and he might have also hacked into the company's servers, leaked their financial records, and returned millions of dollars in fraudulent profits back to customers' pockets. Now Scott is being released from San Quentin State Prison, and he's looking to make good by redeeming himself in the eyes of his young daughter. But with a criminal record, he finds it difficult to get a job and get his life back on track.

Enter inventor Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). Thirty years ago, Hank discovered the Pym particle, a chemical that enabled him to shrink down to a mere 3.5 millimeters while retaining his full-size strength, transforming him into the Ant-Man, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s smallest and most secret Cold War weapon. But after the death of his wife, Hank resigned from S.H.I.E.L.D., taking his trademark technology with him. Now Hank's former protégé, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), is on the verge of duplicating his mentor's revolutionary work. Not only that, he has plans to sell his militarized version of the Ant-Man suit, called the Yellowjacket, to H.Y.D.R.A.

What follows has Hank and his estranged daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly), recruiting a reluctant Scott to help them steal the Yellowjacket before it falls into the wrong hands. And the result is another bona fide win for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yes, Ant-Man is fun, but it's certainly not dumb. Viewed as an origin tale, it's more or less comparable to Iron Man, only filtered through the tongue-in-cheek lens of Guardians of the Galaxy. And while this first big screen outing for the pint-sized hero keeps the scope of the adventure relatively small, given Marvel's current track record you can be sure that even bigger and better things lie ahead.

AUDIO & VISUALS: 
Ant-Man's exceptional 1080p transfer makes a huge impression on Blu-ray, delivering a level of clarity and color depth that is impressive for objects at their ordinary scale, but even more so when it comes to the film's macrophotography sequences, revealing the most minuscule of details in close-up views of everyday objects like bathtubs and carpet fibers. Likewise, the movie's DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix renders dialogue and music with excellent fidelity, but it really shines when it comes to the sound design for sequences set in the macro world, where a bathtub faucet can sound as imposing as a raging waterfall and the rapid fluttering of a flying ant's wings can sound like a military helicopter zeroing in on its target.


EXTRAS: 
Available as both a two-disc 3D Blu-ray and a single-disc 2D Blu-ray from Disney, both versions of Ant-Man include an iTunes digital copy, as well as the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Making Of An Ant-Sized Heist: A How-To Guide (14:34) - A look at the making of the film, from the characters and the set-piece action sequences to the Ant-Man costume, Rudd and Lilly's training for their roles, the visual effects and the appearance by a certain future Avenger played by Anthony Mackie.
  • Let's Go To The Macroverse (8:06) - A glimpse at the macro-photography technology, the motion-capture techniques and the CG visual effects used to bring the world, the characters and the action of Ant-Man to life.
  • WHIH NewsFront (9:12) - Four WHIH NewsFront sequences relating to the events of the film ("WHIH Promo," "Vista Corp Heist," "Darren Cross Interview" and "Scott Lang Live").
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes (8:39) - Eight scenes, playable with optional audio commentary by Peyton Reed and Paul Rudd ("Fixing The Cable," "Hank Vaults The Suit," "Paxton and Gale," "Qubit Defense Matrix," "Scott And Cassie," "Wish Fulfillment," "The Future Of Pym Particles" and "The History Of Ant-Man").
  • Gag Reel (3:25) - Goofing around and silliness from the set.
  • Audio Commentary With Peyton Reed and Paul Rudd - An engaging commentary between the director and the star, where they talk about the visual effects, the cinematography, the production design, the performances, the homages, shooting various scenes and more.


Ant-Man is available from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment as of December 8th, 2015. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Audio tracks. Subtitles are presented in English SDH, French and Spanish. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 57 Mins.






* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on July 17th, 2015.


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