To say that I was not sold on the concept of Ant-Man when Ben first mentioned the character is an understatement. It took me months to get on board with Guardians of the Galaxy when it was announced, what with its talking raccoon and walking tree. Even with its awesome classic rock-heavy trailers, I entered the theater skeptical, only to leave amazed and giddy. To think that Marvel could pull this off again with a guy calling himself “Ant-Man” seemed ridiculous. Oh, and they’re casting freaking Josh from Clueless as the lead? No, thank you. This was clearly going to be Marvel’s first bomb.
I was wrong. Ant-Man is a fun, action packed romp with a weird sense of humor that I totally dig. Oh, and Paul Rudd totally pulls off being a superhero.
This is, to date, the only Marvel Cinematic Universe film I have not seen in theaters. I wanted to see it out of curiosity, but never got around to actually going. It’s a shame, because this ended up being a really fun movie. Paul Rudd is charming, and fills the fictional Scott Lang’s superhero shoes well. His shrinking super suit lends itself to some funny action sequences (you may remember the model train crash from the trailers), but also great use of CGI as Lang fights baddies much larger than him and explores spaces you’d normally need a magnifying glass to see.
Rudd is more than ably supported by his cast mates, some of which look to feature more in the sequel. I especially am looking forward to more Evangeline Lilly and Michael Peña, both of whom play well off Rudd’s likable sarcasm.
That said, there’s something about Ant-Man that stops me just short of absolutely loving it. It’s fun, it’s witty, it’s charming… but it’s not quite great. I always have fun when we watch it, but it’s not a MCU movie I’d be inclined to watch by myself. There’s no real weight to the story, something I’ve come to love in Marvel’s slightly more serious fare. Still, there’s a place for a movie like this, because we could all use a bit more fun these days.
So here’s a review for Ant-Man, a movie that should never work in theory, but is able to be just the fun addition that Marvel need. The perfect antidote to their more serious action orientated Avengers films. A great cast, led by the ageless Paul Rudd, and insane set pieces create a film that is a blast to watch.
Ant-Man is the story of Scott Lang (Rudd). Lang is a recently incarcerated thief with a heart of gold. He is desperate to be a part of his daughter’s life, but can’t find any employment despite his master’s degree in electrical engineering. Lang eventually falls back into his old ways and is convinced by his friends to steal from a local rich man who has a giant safe in his house, supposedly filled with untold treasures. Turns out the old man is Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), a former member of SHIELD and inventor of the Ant-Man shrinking technology. Pym has been watching Lang and has orchestrated the whole robbery of his house in order to meet him and bring him on board a mission to help stop his old protégé (Corey Stoll) from recreating his technology and selling it to the highest bidder, Hydra. Along for the ride is Pym’s estranged daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly), who is their mole inside.
I’m really sorry I don’t watch this film more. I recently watched every Marvel film before the release of Infinity War, and Ant-Man does end up getting lost in the wave of other Marvel films, which is a massive shame. Ant-Man is so much fun, and outside of Guardians of the Galaxy, the funniest Marvel film to date. Paul Rudd is goofy but proficient enough at being a criminal with a heart of gold. He has terrific chemistry with Lilly and Douglas. I’m excited to see what they have in store for the sequel, which will expand on Lilly’s role, finally letting her become the Wasp. Of course I must also mention Michael Pena. He plays Scott’s best friend and manages to stand out in a movie overflowing with comedy already.
By far the highlight of this film are the set pieces done while Ant-Man is at his tiniest. Two that come to mind are a fight in a suitcase that is falling from a helicopter, and the finale set on a Thomas the Tank Engine play set. Director Peyton Reed has had a lot of fun with the Ant Man’s distinctive powers and the viewer is the winner.