Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
After a troubled production that led to original director and screenwriter Edgar Wright making way for the lesser known Peyton Reed, there was an expectation that ‘Ant-Man’ may be the first Marvel film to ‘flop’ in a number of years. Thankfully, a combination of inspired casting, a perfect balance of humour and action and a novel ‘superpower’ have led to ‘Ant-Man’ becoming one of Marvel’s most purely enjoyable films in a while. In the comics, the titular Ant-Man is Hank Pym, played here superbly by Michael Douglas, but the film leads us down a different path as petty crook Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) becomes the superhero, albeit with a great deal of involvement from Pym.
Paul Rudd’s easy going charisma makes him a perfect fit for Scott Lang, and his background in more comedic roles provides the grounding to make Lang a hero we want to root for, even when the material with his family feels a bit formulaic. Apart from the novel premise of ‘Ant-Man’ and his shrinking superpower, the film isn’t particularly fresh or original, but director Peyton Reed and his cast bring a light touch to proceedings that helps to overcome the limitations of the material. Alongside Rudd, Michael Douglas is excellent and the mentor/mentee relationship that is formed between the two helps to delivers some of the film’s strongest moments. There are some fun supporting roles for the likes of Michael Pena and Evangeline Lilly, with Pena in particular playing the comic sidekick character well, and a neat cameo from an established Marvel character. Faring not so well is Corey Stoll’s villainous CEO who feels a bit underdeveloped with a motivation that doesn’t help to distinguish his character from previous Marvel corporate villains.
The effects are pretty good and perhaps surprisingly the novelty of the shrinking action doesn’t wear off, with the train set sequence the highlight (albeit shown heavily in the trailer). The film is not without its faults, namely the revelations about the fate of Pym’s wife, which leads to some heavy exposition about the dangers of the suit which is clumsily developed. Alongside this, I saw the film in 3D IMAX (unfortunately on the 3D aspect), and the 3D was extremely poor, particularly at illuminating the background of scenes which were overly blurry.
Overall, ‘Ant-Man’ is a terrific comic book adaptation with a strong cast and a fresh take on well worn material, and I enjoyed it a lot.
Directed By: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Michael Pena, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Anthony Mackie, Wood Harris and Martin Donovan