After going through many of the biggies, you had to know Marvel would start to delve into their second-tier of heroes. There is a whole universe of characters and if you come up with the right story and casting, many of them could be untapped gold…err…silvermines. This of course leads us to “Ant Man”.
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a cat burglar who is freshly released from jail. He wants to go the straight and narrow to properly provide for his estranged daughter, but life is tough for an ex-con. After trying to do right, he gets sucked into yet another ‘job’, this involves breaking into a massive vault owned by Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). This vault doesn’t have cash or jewels but an odd-looking suit. Scott takes it and after eventually donning it and pressing a button, he shrinks. Hank speaks to him through the suit and guides him through the experimental suit’s capabilities.
This involves Scott into the work of Hank and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) as they have plans to keep the technology safe from Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) who wants to use it for warfare and personal profit. Of course, there is a bit of a learning curve.
In many circles, Ant Man is a fairly well-known, if often brushed-aside hero. To those who are a lot more casual in our knowledge and enthusiasm of the Marvel universe, this origin is a new discovery. As such, it seems as though a lot of the film is slow to actually kick into gear. Sure, there are a number of scenes where Scott is in danger due to shrinking and encountering unique dangers but as far as establishing a strong villain and getting into the plot, this takes awhile. The second act could have been trimmed a little. Just when you think you’ll have to label the film as ‘lacking in action’ this comes through with a relentlessly propulsive third act.
It’s a good thing that things pick up in the action department, because it also helps to balance the film’s tone. For much of the story, this is fairly lighthearted. Let’s be honest here: there can be an element of silliness to many superhero stories and this one in particular is perhaps even more apt to being handled with humor. The concept itself isn’t far off from other tales like “Fantastic Voyage”, “Honey, I Shrunk The Kids” and other shrinking tales. You can point out that this character was introduced in the early ’60s, but there is no faster way to get a character in the public’s consciousness than being in a movie. My roundabout point is that to separate this from other similarly-themed (and other hero) tales, humor was a good angle to approach this from. Sight gags abound and nothing is taken too seriously.
This is another case of inspired casting in a Marvel film. Rudd was a brilliant pick as a ne’er-do-well because no matter what he does, you can’t help but like him…he’s Paul freakin’ Rudd. Michael Douglas is also great and some early makeup/CGI help literally turns back the clock on the man. Wow. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle Evangeline Lilly’s character (no spoilers, but it’s Marvel, so watch the post-credit scene).
Special features include: a deleted scene.
“Ant Man” is one of those movies that took awhile for this Examiner to see, despite hearing good things. It’s not the most thrilling story or compelling hero, but the film is probably the most effectively funny Marvel film so far and it is very entertaining.
Add an extra half star to this.
Rated PG-13 117 minutes 2015