QUICK SUMMARY: Ant-Man combines comic thrills and creative concepts in a goofy and silly film and that is a good thing.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to bring unexpected heroes to the screen with ‘Ant-Man.’ Directed by Peyton Reed and starring Paul Rudd as the titular hero, Ant-Man plays to the softer side of the Marvel Universe.
Scott Lang, played by Rudd, is a thief fresh out of the clink and ready to begin life anew in hopes of seeing his daughter. That is until Lang gets another heist job from his friend Luis, played by Michael Pena, to break into the home of the original Ant-Man Hank Pym, played by Michael Douglas. It is here he comes upon the Ant-Man suit which can shrink him down to the size of, well, an ant. What follows is a caper with Pym, his daughter Hope van Dyne, played by Evangeline Lilly, and havin g to deal with the villainous Darren Cross, played by Corey Stoll.
‘Ant-Man’ wears the goofy premise of Ant-Man on its sleeve. It isn’t dark or brooding like ‘Age of Ultron’ before it, but is instead closer to being fun in the same vein as ‘Guardians of the Galaxy.’ It indulges in being a fun movie by plating with tropes from other miniscule world ideas. From an elaborate training sequence, the destruction of a model city and a fight scene in the climax that is nothing short of outstanding, it creates a bigger sense of adventure even if it just at five inch nothing.
Further more are the performances. Everyone seems to be having fun. Rudd is always his charming self except now with super powers. He plays well off of the stern grumpy old Douglas who knows what it takes to be km the suit. Their dynamic is the classic mentor/student story, but it does not come off as cheap or hokey. Corey Stoll as Cross and later Yellowjacket is menancing. He is a bastard that has the same charm as Rudd, but more worried about advancing his technology than the well-being of others. He is a perfect foil for Lang and Lang’s personality that when it comes time to go toe-to-toe, the audience is excited to watch these two come to blows.
The humor is quite funny, but can be a bit grating at points. The three comic reliefs including Luis are a bit hit-and-miss, especially Peña at points. He is not as bad as Kat Dennings in ‘Thor: The Dark World’ as he is grounded in reality and not as much of an annoyance. Some lines and quips hit the mark such as the lovely descriptions of where he got the heist info that include wine tasting and neo-cubism art. Others fall flat into groan territory, but Peña seems to be having fun. The other two are useless and serve no purpose including T.I. who is just there to collect some Marvel money.
One issue is Evangeline Lily as Hope. She’s tough girl bland, complains most of the time and is only going with the plan to prove her father wrong. Lily is a fine actress, but the role seems to be one any actress can pull off. Hopefully in the sequel they expand upon her character because a scene gives a hint for what is next for her to tackle and it would be fun to see Lily get into her role more.
‘Ant-Man’ is a nice breather from the ever-growing plot threads of the other films. It knows what it wants to be as a silly film and stands on its own because of it. Despite some moments that miss, its a fun watch to tide any fan over, big or small.
Serg’s Rating: *** out of *****
‘Ant-Man’ is rated PG -13 for sci-fi violence.