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ANTBOY (review)

Review by Stefan Blitz
Directed by Ask Hasselbalch
Produced by Birgitte Hald, Eva Jakobsen, Lea Løbger
Written by Anders Ølholm
Story by: Torbjørn Rafn and Nikolaj Arcel
Based on the books by Kenneth Bøgh Andersen
Starring Oscar Dietz, Nicolas Bro, Samuel Ting Chart, 
Amalie Kruse Jensen, Lark Winther

Antboy is a Danish import that takes the general Spider-Man concept, copies it, and imprints it on the young tween set.

Dubbed in English, the film offers nothing new, but manages to be one of the more charming superhero films in recent memory.

12 year old Pelle (Dietz) is an outsider in his own life.  He’s not picked on, but rather overlooked by his classmates, his parents as well as Amanda, the prerequisite girl of his dreams.  After getting bitten by a genetically modified ant, Pelle gets superpowers which include wall crawling, enhanced strength and senses, acidic urine and the ability to chew through anything. 

Fueled with a stomach full of sugar, Pelle teams with comic book obsessed classmate Wilhelm to design a costume, test his powers and adopt the secret identity of Antboy.

And every superhero has an arch nemesis, in Antboy’s case, it’s the Flea, an angry grudge-filled adult who has not only taken Amanda’s CEO father hostage, but who has a showdown with Antboy in his school.

The film is definitely an oddity.  The Flea is a bit of a strange antagonist, as an angry grown man fighting a child.  It might not seem strange in a comic, but on screen it’s more than a little awkward.

The effects are serviceable (several of them seem to be available on a phone app I have), but Antboy is definitely a low budget movie, and at times it shows.

It’s derivative, unoriginal and the acting is pretty wooden (even dubbed), but tremendously entertaining.  Comic book films take themselves too seriously, but Antboy has fun with the tropes and effectively charms throughout.

A must see for kids, and a charmer for adult comic fans as well.

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