A film once destined for greatness was dealt a blown after the departure of director and fan favorite Edgar Wright from the project, but despite the negative reaction to the news, Marvel carried on and hired Peyton Reed (Yes Man) to fulfill the companies vision of their long standing character. Ant-Man, the story of a man who can shrink to the size of an ant and fight crime, a gamble at best for the studio, but one, done right, that could introduce another iconic Avenger into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The year is 1989 and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) is a scientist who, at present, works for S.H.I.E.L.D. Pym has created a technology which allows a person to shrink to the size of an ant, a technology many want to get their hands on. Finding out that S.H.I.E.L.D has tried to replicate this tech, Pym, believing the tech is too dangerous even for those who want to use it for good, vows to hide it and protect it as long as he lives.
Present day finds Pym protégé, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), alongside Hank’s daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly), have forced Hank out of his own company. The two have continued the research that Hank had vowed to protect and Cross is close to perfecting a shrinking suit of his own. Knowing he must stop this from happening, Pym decides to take action. This is where Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) comes in. Lang, a convicted criminal and expert burglar, is looking for a second chance in life, a chance that would help him reclaim a place in his daughters life, but prospects aren’t that easy for someone with a record. Ex cellmate Luis (Michael Peña) offers to help get Lang back on his feet with an opportunity to get back into the life he most desperately wants to leave behind.
Lang breaks into a house and cracks its safe, but only finds what he believes to be an old motorcycle suit, which he takes home. After trying the suit on, Lang accidentally shrinks himself to the size of an insect. Terrified by the experience, he returns the suit to the house, but is arrested on the way out. Pym, the homeowner, visits Lang in jail and offers him a proposition, a chance to become a hero, a chance to save the Earth, a chance to be the Ant-Man! Just one catch, he has to revert back to his old life and steal Cross’ tech and help destroy it.
Director Peyton Reed, working with the script written by original director Edgar Wright along with Joe Cornish, Adam McKay and Paul Rudd, plays it safe and sticks with the script as it was meant to be portrayed and never “dumbs down” the dialogue to make it easier to follow. Everything about Ant-Man that works comes from its heart and simplicity. The film never takes itself too seriously and that’s what ultimately helps make Ant-Man’s first venture to the big screen so much fun. Same to say this is the best origin story Marvel has produced since the original Iron Man, unless we’re counting Guardians of the Galaxy as an origin story and then, well…
Paul Rudd is outstanding as the titular hero. Rudd brings so much heart and compassion to this role, which brings a heightened level of believability to the character. Michael Douglas is equally as phenomenal as the elder statesman of the Ant-Man universe. Douglas looks very at home in his first go at a superhero movie and you can tell that the seasoned actor was having a blast bringing this iconic character to life. Evangeline Lilly works equally as well with both Rudd and Douglas, but it is her relationship with the latter that helps add to the heart of the film. My only real issue with the film is the villain, played by Corey Stoll. One of the major complaints with Marvel films is that their villains have been hit or miss, and with this film, the villain is a miss, but not by much. Stoll seems to have the ability to provide a menacing character, so it leads me to believe the studio elected for a more family friendly villains. Sadly the villains doesn’t work as well as it should for my taste. The show stealer however is Michael Pena! That guy is incredible witty and his delivery is spot on.
Overall, Ant-Man is probably not the exact film we would’ve gotten if Edgar Wright had directed it, but it sure is one heck of a film. Take the whole family to see this film, a good time for all! Ant-Man will return!
3 1/2 out of 5
After Credit Scene?
2 ( One during the credits and a stinger at the end)