Not to be mistaken for the much anticipated Ant-Man that should release next year from Marvel, Antboy is the latest import out of Denmark that shows that the worldwide box office is becoming a more level and diverse playing field. For the longest time foreign films were a thing that belonged in art house cinema and found in a tiny section at the mom-and-pop video store. Now in a generation of the internet and most notably Netflix, the wide range of foreign cinema is being made available, and in my opinion this is a great thing.
For the parents out there worried about their kids having to read subtitles, no worries, the film comes with a dubbed track that is the default option on the DVD. As for the film itself, I’ll be honest, from the cover art I set my expectations low and prepared for the worst. Thankfully my concerns were quickly alleviated.
Antboy follows the paradigm of just about every superhero film that’s been released in the past decade. Not that there is anything wrong with sticking to a format that works, but the plot is easy enough to follow that I’d expect most 8-year-olds could follow. That’s fine, because this film isn’t made for adults, but for kids who will watch the film again and again. Pelle is a 12-year-old boy who lives a school life that revolves around solitude filled watching and fantasizing from a distance; he’s the kid who always gets picked on and last to be picked when playing sports. But all that changes after he’s bitten by a rare Hercules ant that has been scientifically engineered, and in that bite a toxin is released that in turn gives Pelle special powers.
Confused about his new-found powers, Pelle goes to the one person he feels he can trust with his secret, Wilhelm. Wilhelm is not much different from Pelle; you’d imagine they would already be instant friends due to the fact they both are the target of bullies, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. Pelle goes to Wilhelm due to the fact that he seems to be the town expert on superheroes, and Pelle believes Wilhelm may be able to help him out with this new adjustment. With his help comes the design of a costume, and quickly the two go out to fight crime together.
For those who read comics or have at least seen a superhero film, you know that no superhero can be complete without having a super-villain. As for Antboy, his nemesis is none other than The Flea. It’s cheesy and convenient, but most importantly the film keeps it fun, and that’s what matters most.
While watching this, parents, or random viewers, please don’t spend time trying to find reasoning behind the decisions characters are making here. The film really doesn’t try to follow the rules of logic; whenever there is a problem, the characters simply shrug and just continue about their business. The most notable revolves around Antboy’s accidental imprisonment while trying to rescue someone. Instead of going for dramatic effect or staging a great escape, the villain decides to go a different route. Why would the villain do such a thing? Seriously, don’t dwell on these matters; it’ll save you a headache.
With a running time of only 77 minutes, the film moves along a quick pace, and despite its major plot holes, it still goes on to be a fairly enjoyable film. The film sets itself up for a sequel (it’s good to see even foreign countries have sequel fever) and considering Antboy is the basis for a young-adult book series, you can bet that this is a franchise that has some staying power. For those parents who have kids who are superhero-crazed, then this is a film worth picking up. For those with kids who are getting into their teens, perhaps they may be a bit old for this, but nevertheless, it’s a film that the whole family can actually enjoy.