Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Action, effects, story, main characters
Cons: Plot and character arcs fairly predictable but still fun
The Bottom Line:
Ex-con gets new chance
By putting on shrinking suit
“This is Not the Andy Griffith Show. No Whistling.”
As Marvel continues to release movies, I am realizing how few of their characters I’d even heard of. For example, Ant-Man hadn’t even crossed my radar until I heard the film was in development. But, since I’ve been enjoying the Marvel movies and knew it would be part of the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, I planned to watch it.
Our hero this time is Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a man with a past. Specifically, we meet him on the day he gets out of jail for time he spent after stealing money from a former employer to give back to those who had lost money with the company. This brands him as a hero to some but still makes it very hard to find a job that pays enough to live on and pay the child support he needs to pay in order to be in his daughter’s life.
Which is why Scott finally gives in and joins his former cell mate Luis (Michael Pena) on a robbery job. However, when he gets into the vault, he just finds a strange costume. He decides to try it on and next thing he knows, he’s shrunk to a very small size.
It turns out the suit was created by Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), who wants to recruit Scott to use it to help him stop Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) from using the technology for evil. The two team up with Dr. Pym’s daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), who isn’t sure this is a good idea. Can Scott learn to use the powers of the suit before it is too late?
Honestly, I must admit I wasn’t sure what to think about this movie before going in. A man who shrinks to the size of an ant? Yes, ants are powerful, but is it really that great a power? Turns out, it really is. This movie is a lot of fun, and they use his powers to great advantage over the course of the film. The science of it all is probably questionable, but it sounded logical enough to me when I was watching it, and I don’t care about the rest.
Ant-Man isn’t just because Scott shrinks down. Ants are a regular feature of the movie, and I actually like how the various types of ants are incorporated into the film. If you don’t like bugs, you will find this a little creepy, but for the most part this is enjoyable as well.
Because of the size adjustments that Scott goes through, we get even more special effects than normal for a superhero film, or at least different types of special effects. I actually enjoyed seeing the world from an ant’s perspective, and I found all the effects completely believable. The size differences actually make for some fun and creative action scenes that I really enjoyed.
The acting is strong as well, with the cast doing a great job of bringing their characters to life. The main trio of Scott, Dr. Pym, and Hope are wonderful characters. While their story arcs are fairly predictable here, I still got caught up in the story rooting for them. Scott’s relationship with this daughter is wonderful, and makes a great motivation for his character.
Unfortunately, this movie does fall into the first movie of a superhero franchise trap. It spends so much time on the origins and we know all those beats already. Granted, since I don’t know the characters at all, I did need to know what we learned here, so it’s a very hard line to walk. I definitely did feel that the villain was short changed; he’s a very two-dimensional character.
On the other hand, the references to the Avengers was a lot of fun, and a great way to tie in to the larger movie franchise. There are also some great one-liners that made me laugh. This sense of fun is one reason I keep coming back to the Marvel movies.
Now that I’ve met Ant-Man, I’m anxious to learn more about him. I’m looking forward to seeing him pop up in more movies and even getting his own sequel in a couple of years. That’s pretty big stuff for such a small guy.