“Ant-Man” is the twelfth production from Marvel Studios and is considered by many to be the riskiest project to date. The movie stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang who becomes the titular character of Ant-Man. He is a former criminal who hopes to redeem himself by helping Dr. Hank Pym, played by Michael Douglas, the former Ant-Man, with a heist. This movie is directed by Peyton Reed who took over from Edgar Wright after he departed the project.
Right off the bat, Ant-Man is probably the lightest Marvel Studios movie to date. While there are stakes at hand and there are some dark moments, it never loses it’s light tone. That is not a detriment to the movie as it is a welcome change especially in counter to the Marvel Studios movie that proceeded it, “Avengers: Age of Ultron”, which had a darker tone and was a stuffed movie.
The plot of the movie is pretty standard as it is a hero origin story mixed with a heist movie. As noted, Hank Pym recruits Lang to help him take down his former protege, Darren Cross played by Corey Stoll, who has seized control of Pym’s company and wants to harness the miraculous Pym Particles for nefarious purposes. The Pym Particles is what makes things shrink and grow. They are joined by Hank’s daughter Hope Van Dyne played by Evangeline Lilly and members of Lang’s thieving crew which includes Luis played by Michael Pena. The story is basic and it seems without the talents of the cast, the movie would also feel the weight of that.
Rudd is the highlight of the movie. While he is mainly known as a comedic actor, he does have dramatic credits to his name an he is able to handle the movie well. Douglas certainly brings a gravitas to his role that probably would have come off as generic in lesser hands. Lilly is frankly just there in the role as Hank’s estranged daughter. While she does get to stretch every and then, there was something off about her character. There is an instance at the end between her and Rudd’s characters that does not feel earned. Stoll as the main antagonist is also a cliche in himself. One gets the impression that there was not much there for him to do and in fact, there is a whole chunk of the movie that he wasn’t on screen and I completely forgot he was in the movie. He does the best with what he’s given but Marvel Studios does have a problem with its antagonist in their films and he is a good example.
The special effects is where the best parts of the movie comes. It is pretty amazing to see things from a microsized perspective. The final action set piece is where this truly shines as well. While recent Marvel Studios have relied on a certain formula of the final action set piece occurring high in the sky and with many things exploding, this is the total opposite. Instead mainly taking place within ordinary household items and using them to their advantage, it is a welcome change of pace.
Since this is a Marvel Studios film, expect their to be many references to events and characters throughout the film. While a film such as “Iron Man 2″ was laced with them to its detriment, this finds a good balance. There are many references to the Avengers including an appearance from one, it is never too distracting.
Overall, “Ant-Man” succeeds in more ways than it doesn’t. There is a good time to be had in the film.