Possible spoilers ahead!
The film takes us back about 25 years, to a time when a brilliant scientist named Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). has already made a once-in-a-lifetime discovery called “The Pym Particle.” The discovery allows a person to shrink the size of organic matter without sacrificing density or strength.
After a tragic accident involving his wife Janet, Hank Pym retires from his days as a costumed soldier for S.H.I.E.L.D., cutting off the organization’s access to the dangerous Pym Particle research.
Cut to present day where Dr. Pym’s greatest fear ia about to become a reality: his former protegé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) has discovered the research Pym tried to bury for years, and is close to replicating it in full in the form of the The Yellowjacket.
With the help of his daughter Hope, (Evangeline Lily), who working undercover for Cross, Hank puts together a plan to infiltrate his former company and steal The Yellowjacket armor, a deadly suit that would be transformed into a veritable WMD by Darren Cross.
However, Hank is too old to don the Ant-Man suit, and he won’t even consider letting Hope take over the role, despite her many pleas. But Dr. Pym has another plan, and soon he places his faith and training in a new recruit: Scott Lang (Paul Rudd).
Scott is a recently released convict cat burglar with a Robin Hood complex, who has an estranged young daughter he’s desperately trying to reconnect with. With the Pym’s help, Scott embarks on a wild adventure to become the Ant-Man.
Due to the chaos during pre-production, I had very low expectations for Marvel’s “Ant-Man.” However, I’m happy to report that this movie was a pleasant surprise. And while Ant-Man may be Marvel’s smallest hero, he definitely has the biggest heart. But here’s a tip if you go see this movie, this is something I learned as I watched “Ant-Man”:
Don’t go to the theatre wondering “What If?” Edgar Wright hadn’t left. That ship has sailed, and its time for us to move on. Peyton Reed is now at the helm, and fortunately for us, Reed makes “Ant-Man” a fun cinematic experience in his own style. The director uses some wonderfully creative ideas and wisely relies on the chemistry of the cast to carry the story in between action sequences.
In fact, the best moments in “Ant-Man” come when the “Marvel way” of doing things is put aside in favor of the “Peyton Reed & Paul Rudd comedy show.” Rudd shined when he’s bouncing banter off Michael Douglas, or Evangeline Lily. Most of the supporting is solid too, with Douglas actually given something to do for the entire movie.
I only wish the movie gave us more Evangeline Lily goodness. Don’t get me wong, she’s in the movie plenty, but I would have loved to have seen her in the Wasp suit just once. I mean come on, instead of a tank it couldn’t have been a Wasp suit in there? (those who saw the movie know what I’m talking about).
Paul Rudd’s trio of sidekicks consist of Rapper T.I., David Dastmalchian, and Michael Peña. Its Peña in particular is the film’s main scene-stealer as Scott Lang’s prison buddy/fellow crook, Luis. His way of telling Scott Lang stories is priceless, and one of the movie’s best bits (especially the one story at the end of the movie).
The only problem I had with the movie was the villain played by Corey Stoll. Far too often, his Darren Cross blurred the line between mad scientist and Joel Schumacher camp. I never felt like he was a major threat to Scott or the Pyms. It was poor casting in my opinion, but maybe the script didn’t do the man any favors either.
To some, “Ant-Man” will be nothing more than a formulaic Marvel superhero origin tale. But Ant-Man gets a major boost from a good ensemble cast and its overall fun tone. This is not your typical superhero movie, it’s about family, and I liked that. And I have to give director Peyton Reed credit, because he managed to weave in a few MCU connections, while also managing to introduce the Phase Three that is to come.
“Ant-Man” final score: 8