Antboy: Revenge of the Red FuryBerlin Film Festival 2015
Superheroes seem to be at the cornerstone of every multiplex in today’s cinematic age. Their posters litter every wall, pop-ups greet you as you walk through those magical doors and they hog the trailer spots relentlessly. Are we in the Golden Age of Cinematic Superheroes? We might just be.
The idea of a superhero has become dissected, scattered and refigured an obscene amount of times over the last 15 years, but the idea of the kid version has now arrived. He is a prepubescent, high-pitched, bumbling child who lives the split life of a costumed deviant, while worrying about getting home before his bedtime has finally arrived. He’s Antboy. Not the miniature version of Marvel’s newest spandex warrior, Ant-Man, but a wide-eyed, Danish 13-year-old who possesses supped-up powers and fights crime in the fictional town of Middelund. If he remembers to eat some chocolate.
Based on the Danish comic’s similar take on Spider-Man’s backstory, Pelle (Oscar Dietz), bitten by a scientifically-engineered ant, develops the powers of super strength and super pee, which director Ask Hassalbach toys with relentlessly, as we’re treated to shot after shot of toilets being destroyed.
Aided by his likable sidekick, Wilhelm (Samuel Ting Graf), Pelle takes to the streets and becomes Middelund’s celebrated guardian. Hassalbach’s sequel to 2013’s Antboy starts off well, brimming with exciting sequences and refreshingly providing meta references aplenty to Marvel’s dominatrix structure. The cinematography keenly observes clichés of the genre but there is a distinctive Danish level of noir to proceedings that elevates the production standards.
The introduction of Maria (Astrid Juncher-Benzon), a scorned fan of Antboy, provides an interesting element, as her Red Fury creation sparks of an on-screen dynamic with Pelle that actually eclipses the audience’s interest in Antboy. Despite a fun, easy-going narrative, there is a distinct lack of bite in its final third and the omission of imposing villain, Flea (Nicolas Bro), from any large role, causes the film to suffer as the conclusion feels flat in comparison to it’s fast-paced build up. The acting is mostly passable, although the casting of love interest Ida (Amalie Kruse Jensen) sorely misses the mark.
It’s a strong picture for its target audience of pre-teens, but it suffers from a mishandling of characters and poor third act, despite a strong beginning and a winning score.
Antboy: Revenge of the Red Fury does not yet have a UK release date.
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Watch the trailer for Antboy: Revenge of the Red Fury here: