If you’re a big fan of the ever-expanding Marvel cinematic universe, you’ll love the addition of Ant-Man to the mix. If you’re just out to see a movie and pick this one because it sounds weird and the show time is right, you’re in for some laughs but probably won’t be overly impressed by the standard super hero plot.
Following in the style of Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man could be pegged as a comedy, heist, sci-fi, family, or superhero movie. It’s actually more like all-of-the-above. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a cat burglar who doesn’t like violence, pulls one last job after getting out of prison in order to pay his daughter’s child support. Instead of finding money and jewels, he finds a vintage-looking suit. Frustrated, he takes it and when he puts it on…let’s just say the shower hasn’t looked this scary since Psycho but for different reasons.
The suit’s creator, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), recruits Scott to pull off yet one more heist—this time to stop Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), Pym’s one-time friend and colleague gone rogue, from selling his own version of the shrinking suit as a weapon to HYDRA. To prepare for this job, Scott trains with Pym’s daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly). The training scenes provide much of the humor of the film, especially when Scott practices switching from normal size to ant size and back really fast to dive through a keyhole, and when he meets his six-legged allies for the first time.
Superb acting is the glue that holds this movie together. Rudd is the charming ex-con who stumbles across more than he bargained for. Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly play father and estranged-daughter-returned-home with a lot of heart and humor. But it’s Michael Peña’s Luis who steals the show with his gloriously convoluted storytelling and shiny outlook. The scene when he and his henchmen talk about the Titanic movie had me seriously cracking up.
Ant-Man showcases the lighter side of the Marvel universe although the Avengers are not forgotten. Make sure you stay through the credits to get the scene at the very end. The stakes are not as high in this film as in this summer’s earlier Marvel offering Avengers: The Age of Ultron. The smaller scale seems appropriate for a small hero and Ant-Man despite its reliance on the title insects, delivers a big load of action and fun.