Movie Review: “Antboy” Is Pure Fun Aimed Squarely At The Kids

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Review by James McDonald

12-year-old Pelle is bitten by an ant and develops superpowers. Aided by comic book nerd Wilhelm, Pelle creates a secret identity as superhero Antboy. When super villain The Flea, enters the scene, Antboy must step up to the challenge.

“Antboy” tells the story of Pelle (Oscar Dietz), a young boy who has never been recognized at school. Even the short kid in his class who gets bullied gets more attention than him. One day while being chased home by two ruffians, he hides in the garden of an old eccentric scientist. While lurking in the bushes to evade the bullies, he gets bitten by a genetically modified ‘super’ ant and shortly thereafter, begins to develop superpowers. A comic nerd, Wilhelm (Samuel Ting Graf), happens to see Pelle accidentally pull a door off its hinges and is convinced he is a superhero. They become friends and he makes a superhero costume for him and Pelle comes up with his alter-ego’s title: “Antboy.”

He begins saving and helping people from bad guys and accidents and becomes a nationwide phenomenon. When Amanda (Cecilie Alstrup Tarp), a young girl whom Pelle adores, from a distance of course, is kidnapped by a super-villain who calls himself “The Flea”, it’s up to Antboy, Wilhelm and Amanda’s sister Ida (Amalie Kruse Jensen) to save her and rid their town of this nefarious criminal. Of course, every super-villain needs motivation for becoming the bad guy that he is and The Flea is no exception. His real name is Dr. Gæmelkrå (Nicolas Bro) and we find out that he worked as a bio-chemist at a company called Exofarm, performing groundbreaking research into a new species of ant.

He found out that the ants had unique antibodies that were capable of killing life-threatening diseases and so he developed a new serum called ‘Hercules’, which could transfer the healing powers of the ants and he tried it on his dying mother, with positive results. But then Amanda’s father, Peter Sommersted, the CEO of Exofarm, announced that there would be company-wide cutbacks and Gæmelkrå’s research was the first to be terminated, thus, him not having any more serum and his mother dying as a direct result. “Antboy” works because of its two charismatic leads, Oscar Dietz and Samuel Ting Graf. They are regular kids who become entrusted with otherworldly powers who decide to use them for good.

Where other superhero movies from Marvel and D.C. Comics have huge budgets and A-list superstars, “Antboy” works because it is genuinely, low-key. Antboy wears a costume and it’s the kind of outfit a young boy’s mother could make so it isn’t too far-fetched. His ‘superpowers’ include being able to scale walls and buildings and those effects are achieved utilizing old-fashioned practical photography, instead of expensive CGI. The movie never panders to its young intended audience, instead, it does something that most movies of its ilk never do, possess the ability to genuinely entertain without scaring and include its viewers on their journey.

In select theaters now

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James McDonald

Film/Theater Critic & Interviewer at Red Carpet Crash
Originally from Dublin, Ireland, James is a Movie Critic and Celebrity Interviewer with over 30 years of experience in the film industry as an Award-Winning Filmmaker.
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