Ant-Man is possibly Marvel’s biggest gamble to date. Guardians of the Galaxy had that honor last year, and went on to become one of the most beloved movies in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). Even though it contained a group of characters the mainstream audience was not the most familiar with, it took place in space, and easily drew the interest of pure science fiction fans. Ant-Man, on the other hand, simply looked kind of stupid. Thankfully, it wasn’t at all.
There are two reasons I was anticipating this movie. First, I am a big MCU fan. Second, I am a big Paul Rudd fan. Going back to the first time I ever saw him in anything with Clueless back in 1995, I don’t think he’s ever been involved in a project that I’ve seen and didn’t enjoy. For two decades, he has proven that he is a comedy powerhouse, with the unique ability to turn in just as solid of a dramatic performance when needed. He truly was the perfect choice to play Scott Lang/Ant-Man.
The basic premise of the movie is a story of redemption for Scott Lang. He is fresh out of prison, serving his time for getting caught being a high-end burglar. The original Ant-Man, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), takes Scott under his wing (pun 100% intended), wanting to pass the torch to a new generation. His daughter, Hope (Evangaline Lilly), is resentful of not being chosen for this honor, adding a fun dynamic to the mix. The goal of this all is to stop Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), former mentee of Pym, who is working on his own shrinking technology that he wants to weaponize.
Ant-Man manages to merge a story of redemption with a heist film premise. It has a very Ocean’s 11 feel to it, meaning you are getting solid action and solid comedy as well. Rudd is funny as always, but the true break-out comedy source of this movie is Michael Peña as Luis. If he shows up in a scene, he steals it.
Finally, I want to talk a bit about the ants. They could easily come across as a gimmick, but don’t. There are multiple types of ants used, and they each have their own unique personality. Overall, they play excellent sidekicks to Lang.
Ant-Man is by no means the best Marvel movie. At the same time, it’s far from their weakest effort as well. It plays well as a stand-alone movie, with just a couple minor pieces that push the overall MCU story forward. Honestly, I enjoyed it more than Avengers: Age of Ultron. With the concept being a tiny hero in a big world, I think it’s worth seeing on a big screen as well. I don’t regret paying full price for it, and hope you won’t either. As always, stay through the ENTIRE credits sequence. The post-credits stinger is a good one.
Ant-Man is now in theater.