Just released from prison, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is trying to start his life over in order to gain visitation of his daughter. After many failed attempts of finding a job, and even the help of his friends Luis, Kurt, and Dave (Michael Pena, David Dasmalchian, and T.I.), Scott can’t seem to make anything stick. When he decides to rob retired scientist Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), he comes across not money in a safe but a suit. It isn’t long before Scott discovers that the suit has abilities to shrink its wearer to the size of an ant. Instead of turning him in, Pym enlists Scott’s help to take down mad man Darren (Corey Stoll) who has created a new project that could destroy the world. Scott agrees, much to Pym’s daughter Hope’s (Evangeline Lilly) discouragement. The father and daughter begin to train Scott in order to build the skills he needs in order to fulfill the role of the Ant-Man.
Marvel’s new film brings a new superhero that non-hardcore comic book fans may not have heard of (I admit I am one of them). I left the film feeling pleasantly surprised with this one. There is never really a dull moment in the film. The story itself is fairly basic like any other Marvel film, but everything it consists of sets it above that. We don’t get some highly intelligent scientist or some rich man as our hero. We get an average guy who is struggling to start his life over. Paul Rudd plays the role of Scott perfectly. He adds the right amount of charm and heart to the role that makes the character come off as your every day guy. Rudd of course nails the comedic aspects but when it comes to the serious moments, he plays it just the right amount. He doesn’t overdo the emotion, but he doesn’t downplay it either. Michael Douglas provides one of his finest performances in a while as the wealthy man who takes Scott under his wing. Douglas, like Rudd, provides the right amount of skill to the role. He perfects the comedic timing, but he plays the wise mentor even better and we become instantly attached to him and the character. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Evangeline Lilly as Douglas’ character’s daughter. It’s not even just Lilly. The character of Hope is extremely unlikable. For the vast majority of the film, she struts around crabby, whiny, and throws tantrums when she doesn’t get her way. They try to make this okay by making her Scott’s love interest in the most abrupt and cliche way possible. It also doesn’t help that Rudd and Lilly lacked chemistry. Lilly, despite her solid work on Lost, doesn’t bring anything to the role whatsoever. She sleepwalks through the role and just spouts off dialogue without any character thrown in. Corey Stoll also brings in a weak performance as the villain. Of course the character is unlikable, but Stoll is emotionless and wooden throughout the whole thing and hardly looks evil. It’s only when he’s in his Yellow Jacket costume and all we can hear is his voice that he plays the villain moderately decent. Like any other Marvel movie it features many decent laughs, though there are some moments where it’s overdone, especially by the three actors playing Scott’s friends, most especially Michael Pena. There are also some predictability in the story, it is very easy to tell what’s going to happen later on due to the heavy emphasis on certain elements. One of the biggest highlights of the movie is the crossover scene as well as references involving the Avengers, which is a huge pleaser to all Marvel fans, clearly showing Ant Man is in the same world and aware of our band of heroes.
Ant-Man isn’t perfect, it has its flaws, but the pros outweigh the cons in this case. For me I consider one of the better Marvel films I’ve seen in a while. It doesn’t get over-the-top with its action or characters, but rather plays it as an even balance, giving us a fun hero and mentor character, as well as entertaining action and very solid effects and camera work.
NOTE: There are two bonus scene at the end. One during the credits and one after.