Just released from prison, master thief Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is recruited by Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglass) after being forced out of his own company by former protégé Darren Cross. Lang becomes the Ant-Man, trained by Pym and armed with a unique suit that allows him to shrink in size, possess superhuman strength and control an army of ants. The miniature hero must use his new skills to prevent the same technology from being used as a weapon for evil.
Ant-Man is very much a heist film and a hysterically funny one at that. The funniest dialogue comes from Michael Peña who plays a member of Scott’s old gang and is only a third of the incompetent criminals who haplessly help the hero plan this crucial job. Still, Rudd is the star here and he does a great job of playing the reluctant hero and queing us into this insanity that enters his life. The first time, Scott shrinks down is a mesmerizing experience that perfectly captures the feeling of being overwhelmed and gives us a terrifying glimpse into the everyday ant’s perspective. There aren’t as many of these moments as I would have liked to see but the scenarios we witness are nothing short of inspired and hands down some of the best visual effects you’ll ever see on the big screen.
The stakes aren’t that high but then again they don’t really need to be as they match Scott’s limitations in the Ant-Man suit, which are perfectly defined. There is a great surprise in store for viewers when Scott is caught breaking and entering by a certain Avenger and has to face him, head-on. The movie does suffer from a few minor issues though. The humor can be laid on a bit too thick. There’s a particular scene towards the end (you can’t possibly miss it) that draws a huge laugh but it comes out of nowhere and is just way too over the top. There are a few references to past movies but thankfully not to the point where it becomes overbearing. The Stan Lee cameo is great and probably one of the more amusing ones to catch. Some exposition in the middle slows down the film as Pym explains the technology and dangers of the suit. There is also the obligatory training montage that Scott undergoes and is oddly reminiscent of the original Iron Man from 2008. However, the movie has some fantastic action sequences including two near the end. One takes place in a locked briefcase plummeting from the sky and the other on a model train set in Scott’s daughter’s bedroom. The perspectives are often switched, making the sequences seem somewhat pointless but also serve to encapsulate Ant-Man’s abilities.
My favorite movie from the studio is still Guardians of the Galaxy but Ant-Man comes dangerously close to giving it a run for its money. It doesn’t matter if you’re invested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or just interested in seeing a fresh and original story. Ant-Man is a hilarious movie that proves superhero films when done right are still engaging blockbusters that will delight and entertain audiences. So go see it this weekend with a big crowd because I suspect Ant-Man will quickly become a fan favorite and will fit right in Marvel’s ongoing story.
And of course most people stayed behind to watch the post-credits scene, which is a good albeit short one that sets up what might be in store for Earth’s tiniest hero.