Director: Peyton Reed
Cast Headliners: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Corey Stoll
Original Release Date: July 17th, 2015
It’s been a while since the Marvel cinematic universe has had a classic style origin movie. The kind of movie where an average guy gets incredible powers that the must learn to control to save the day. But these people never really end up being that simple, whether they’re a billionaire or an orphan in world war 2. Ant-Man manages to break fresh ground in a different direction for the MCU and offer a surprisingly fresh experience.
In this case the movie sets up a world where Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) has created the Ant-man suit and been the hero before (shown via some surprising flashbacks. Cameos like these are some of the film’s strongest moments). He entrusts the suit, after a series of events, to burglar Scott Lang ( Paul Rudd) whom he trains with his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) to foil the plans of the villainous Darren Cross (Corey Stoll).
The titular suit allows its wearer to shrink down to miniature size and communicate with ants. This leads to some exciting sequences and moments as unexpected situations are turned into explosive battlefields or acrobatics tests for Scott. The ants are given great characterization too and it will make one be amazed in ways they didn’t think possible.
While the visuals are mostly great this is one of the movies that is on the lighter side of action in the MCU. When fight scenes appear they are short but oh so sweet and once again the surprises are GREAT whether they be big or small.
The film is actually moreso of a comedic heist. The jokes are hilarious and come from great lines by Rudd and especially from his fellow accomplice Luis (Michael Pena). Pena’s abstract performance is definitely a highlight and it can be inferred that he’s working on material that ex-director of the flick Edgar Wright once worked on. Peyton Reed did a fine job stepping in to finish things and the pace is mostly good though the simpler scope makes things feel like so much has happened at once.
The movie does manage to have a solid plot however ramping up from the most street-level life since Daredevil for Scott to its crazy finale. But where one will laugh and be amazed by its wacky world in the course of the movie it cannot be said that they will remember Paul Rudd’s performance. He’s got charisma and laughs but he’s mostly just kind of “there” as a reactionary force. The same goes for Corey Stoll as the main enemy Yellowjacket, who is moustache twirling evil from the first nanosecond he’s on screen.
Luckily, there is a great dynamic between Scott Lang and his mentors Hank and Hope Pym. Douglas gives a performance to outdo everyone else in the feature and has some emotional moments with his daughter. His talent is not wasted here and he makes every scene he’s in enjoyable with his strong characterization which surpasses the main hero but perhaps that makes since for he was the original. Lilly is also great and at one point mentions that it should have been her in the armor suit and I do concur. The rapport is best when this trio is joined by Luis and other friends of Scott for this is a movie where the best enjoyment is gotten from “hahaha” instead of “ dang awesome”.
Ant-Man manages to both be an effective slight twist on a more traditional Marvel superhero origin movie while also offering some great surprises and connections to a larger world. It’s a palate cleanser end to their “phase two” of movie projects and its simple pure fun isn’t going to make cinematic history. Though there’s much more than meets the eye with this small hero who offers big entertainment and is worth the time to a fan of unique laughs and heists. 8.63 out of 10