Having just left prison, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) vows to put the past behind him as he looks to rebuild his life and reconnect with his young daughter. But when life on the outside takes a turn for the worse, he is encouraged to do one more job – break into a mysterious vault with something of great value inside. But little does he know that the vault’s owner has something much more important in store for Scott. Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) plans to recruit him to save the world as the smallest superhero on earth – Ant-Man.
Marvel have done it yet again with Ant-Man, a superhero movie that manages to find its own rhythm, yet seamlessly blends in with the existing universe. It may be lighter in tone than what we are used to but this just proves how versatile the Marvel slate is. Kids will love the story, there’s plenty of comedy running throughout and the action is simply breathtaking in places.
The appeal of this movie lies is its ability to cater for every audience – no mean feat when you consider just how many casual viewers aren’t versed in Ant-Man’s mythology. This gives us a brand new hero to champion and Paul Rudd is front and centre of this to guarantee its success. Rudd is effortlessly relatable, charming and capable. Adding an impressive bout of physicality to the role, Scott Lang a character that we can all back, and Rudd excels at leading the charge here. His chemistry with the entire cast also really helps to drive the story home and he deserves kudos for stepping in to help write the script too.
It’s great to see screen legend Michael Douglas show up in a Marvel movie and he brings authority and sheer class to every scene he populates. Douglas has a great onscreen presence and this really gives Ant-Man a solid backbone. Lost star Evangeline Lilly is excellent as his daughter Hope and plays a strong female character that will go onto play a very important and pivotal role in the greater Marvel universe. Speaking of this, make sure you stay until the end credits – there are two Marvel stings (one mid-credit and one at the end) that sets-up some tantalising future stories.
The supporting cast all deliver too. Bobby Cannavale is great as Paxton while the perennially underused Judy Greer impresses once again, this time as Scott’s ex-wife. Abby Ryder Fortson is super funny as Scott’s young daughter Cassie (her reaction to an ugly stuffed toy her dad buys her is priceless). There’s also a great cameo from a familiar Marvel face that goes toe-to-toe with Ant-Man in one of the films best sequences. However, it’s Michael Peña that steals the film as Luis – giving the movie a strong comedic flow and delivering a character that will have you in stitches thanks to his natural exuberance and boundless energy. If there is a downside, it’s with Corey Stoll as Darren Cross – a weak adversary on reflection, but this is more down to writing than performance.
It’s been well documented that Ant-Man has had plenty of behind-the-scenes difficulties when Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish acrimoniously departed the project, citing creative differences. A lot of credit needs to go to director Peyton Reed who fully acknowledges the help and influence Wright and Cornish gave to Ant-Man, whilst still managing to place his own mark on this movie. The end result could have been a disaster but instead, Ant-Man is a very entertaining project that works on almost every level.
Having successfully converted their B-list roster of heroes into undoubted A-Listers (thanks to ten years of Marvel movies) Ant-Man now happily joins the ranks of Thor, Iron Man and Black Widow as big-screen mainstays with huge fan-bases. The film is a joy to watch and sits well between the spectacle of The Avengers and the darkness of Daredevil. All in, Ant-Man provides a great night in and ushers in an exciting new era for Marvel.