STARRING: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale, Abby Ryder Fortson, Wood Harris, Michael Peña, Tip “T.I.” Harris and David Dastmalchian
Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
Ant-Man has us follow the life of Scott Lang when he just serves his last day at San Quentin State Prison. As he lives with an old cellmate at his apartment, Scott struggles to find a legitimate job to provide child support due to his criminal record. As he takes up his roommates offer to break into a house and crack a safe, he believes it’s an old motorcycle suit and soon learns that it’s not a motorcycle suit at all and is given a proposition by Hank Pym to pull off a heist that will save the world.
After the epic scale we were given with Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man takes us back to basics of a superhero film contained in a small (literally) area. Granted going into this, there were some concerns over the issue of Edgar Wright leaving the directing duties back last summer which left some people believing that the project was in trouble but after coming of the screening I had no problems with Ant-Man. Believe it or not I actually prefer it to Age of Ultron, even though there’s many comparisons going to be made that Ant-Man pretty much follows some similar patterns of the first Iron Man film.
The Ant-Men, as it were, are the most developed of the characters here where we get brief flashback scenes of Hank Pym and then how he takes Scott Lang under his wing to don the suit for a mission due to his particular skill set. The more the film progressed, the more I wondered how much I would enjoy a Ant-Man film with a younger Michael Douglas, he just seems to fit perfectly well with this character in this Marvel Cinematic Universe. We do get a glimpse of that in a flashback scene with a ridiculously well de-aged Douglas alongside a rather old Hayley Atwell. We get a glimpse of Hank Pym’s distrust of S.H.I.E.L.D and also of the Avengers, mainly due to the Stark influence, we also get a glimpse into Pym’s darker nature and short temper, which may please some comic fans out there. What might leave a poor taste in comic fans is the treatment of a certain character in flashback scenes that play a pivotal role in the interactions between Hank Pym and his daughter Hope. What makes this different from the rest of the Marvel films thus far is that Scott Lang is doing this in an attempt to insure that he has a future to reconnect with his daughter, giving the film an emotional depth where some Marvel films before have been lacking. The CGI is well done, in particular when Scott shrinks down in the suit and also interacts with the Ants. Even the fighting sequences are well handled with the particular highlight and crowd pleaser is when Scott goes up against a familiar face. The comedy works well most of the time here, particularly from Scott’s old cellmate now roommate Luis.
Paul Rudd makes a charming hero as Scott Lang, surrounded by compelling performance from Michael Douglas as Hank Pym, a good performance in a role I wish was fleshed out a little bit more in Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne as we got a few moments between the history of Hank and Hope but I wanted more there and Michael Peña, Tip “T.I.” Harris and David Dastmalchian provide the laughs as Scott’s friends/crew. Unfortunately when it comes to complexed villains Marvel still hasn’t found the right formula yet with Corey Stoll in the role as Darren Cross/Yellowjacket. We get the reason of why he’s angry/mean but in truth he just comes off as an adult child of what we’ve already seen before with Aldrich Killian in Iron Man 3 and unfortunately Stoll may come off the weakest here but that’s primarily due to the character being one-dimensional here, though some could argue he’s just a darker version of Hank Pym, he just didn’t work for me. The Yellowjacket suit was cool though.
Ant-Man may just be the most human Marvel film made so far with a really good and likeable performance from Paul Rudd, a compelling performance from Michael Douglas, the effects and the laughs means that this film might surprise a few people. Obviously stay till the bitter end credits to catch a rather interesting scene. 7/10