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By Matt Fleming and Jarrod Jones. This is the ANTI-MONITOR podcast, where we believe it’s not the size that counts, but blah blah yada yada. This week, the boys discuss ‘Ant-Man’, Paul Rudd’s dimples, Marvel Studios’ propensity to gamble with our emotions, and its ceaseless deluge of forgettable villains. But before they go subatomic, Birdy and Jonesy discuss the year that’s to come, and all the exciting new projects that come with it. (‘Ghostbusters’! ‘Legends of Tomorrow’! Waugh!)

As always, be wary for spoilers throughout, and please enjoy. 

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ANTI-MONITOR — MATT: 2015’s Ant-Man bears the fingerprints of Edgar Wright, the man whose passion and creativity drove this project to fruition. Unfortunately, his unique style proved to stand out a bit too much for the studio brass at Marvel and his vision was ultimately swept aside for a more saccharine, formulaic interpretation of the incredible shrinking hero. Even with Wright’s replacement, his effect is obvious, and Ant-Man nearly breaks the studio’s mold as an off-kilter action comedy.

Ant-Man is decidedly fun, though unnecessary sentiment gets shoehorned in where story would suffice, and the framework seems to be cut from a “how to Marvel” template. That leaves the film exciting on the surface, but feeling like an all too-familiar cash-grab. Paul Rudd leads a game cast, but the finished product simply leaves one wondering what could have been had Marvel taken a chance on Edgar Wright’s interpretation of an Avenger nobody ever imagined seeing on the screen to begin with.

ANTI-MONITOR — JARROD: “Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man is a nice tall glass of ice cold chocolate milk. It’s sweet like it’s supposed to be, harmless in small doses, and it leaves you about as quickly.

That is to say, there’s nothing exceptionally bad about Ant-Man. It operates quite like it’s supposed to, that being a pleasant, uninvolving detour in-between Marvel Studios’ increasingly out-there Avengers movies. It’s a perfectly acceptable franchise starter and an appropriately flashy vehicle for aspiring leading man Paul Rudd, and both the film and the actor work overtime to make sure neither rock the boat. What I’m trying to say is, Ant-Man is like a weekend with your grandparents.” (From my review last year.)

CONSENSUS: As tantalizing as vanilla ice cream and as harmless as a Care Bear plush, Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man is an unqualified success by inches.  — 6.5 out of 10

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