Ant-Man is not a character I’m particularly well versed in. In fact, bar a basic knowledge of his history and context within Marvel comics, he has always been the type of character that I have overlooked. Though he is certainly important to Marvel’s history, he simply never became a character that I could relate to in anyway. Sure, he’s a genius, but he’s not exactly alone in that, and the only major story-lines I can remember him playing prominent roles in is the creation of Ultron and the infamous domestic abuse plot thread surrounding it. So, given that Marvel Studios were bringing to a close their ‘Phase 2’ slate of films with this somewhat obscure character, I had to admit I was surprised at the choice. In terms of the film adaptation, ‘Ant-Man’ had been in development for many years. We are all fairly well versed in the story surrounding the ‘troubled’ projects development, with high profile, cult-favourite director Edgar Wright eventually leaving the production. Under these circumstances, it would be easy to expect a ‘flop’. Thankfully, ‘Ant-Man’ is far from that, it’s a very enjoyable romp, that neatly ties together several plot points from previous films, whilst giving us an engaging group of characters and a thrilling heist story that stands just as well on it’s own as it does within the framework of ‘Phase 2’.
Scott Lang is a hard up ex-con, trying to go straight and do the right thing by his daughter. When the difficulties of life outside of prison cause Scott to lose his job, he is tempted into committing one last burglary by his friend and ex-cell mate Luis ( Michael Pena) and his new crew. When the score turns out to be nothing more than an old, odd looking suit, Lang is left feeling deflated until a series of events puts him into contact with reclusive genius Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). Pym, along with his daughter Hope Van Dyne ( Evangeline Lilly) have the perfect job for Lang, breaking into Pym’s former company and stealing some potentially dangerous technology from industrialist Darren Cross (Corey Stoll). It won’t be an easy job to pull off, but thanks Pym’s incredible scientific breakthrough, Lang will have a remarkable ability at his disposal that has the power to redeem himself and turn him into the hero his daughter sees him as..
‘Ant-Man’ is an interesting change of pace from Marvel Studios Whilst all the previous ‘Phase 2’ movies have sought to ‘up the ante’ in terms of the story-telling and spectacle on offer, this movie takes a different approach, focusing instead on the simple story of fathers who have made mistakes in the past and are trying to rectify those mistakes. This serves the film well as it provides a great platform for Paul Rudd to showcase his considerable charm and natural comedic timing. Michael Douglas is great as the cranky Hank Pym and Evangeline Lilly is fresh and feisty as Hope. The stand out performer for me was Michael Pena, who’s sense of fun and positivity provide a real ‘feel-good’ factor to the movie as a whole. The special effects are top notch, and for a director with little experience within the genre, Peyton Reed brought considerable flair to the inventive and exciting action set pieces. They only slight disappointment is villain of the piece, Darren Cross. Corey Stoll is a capable actor as he showed in ‘House Of Cards’ but unfortunately, it feels as if he will join the ranks for forgettable Marvel Studios villains.
‘Ant-Man’ represents a terrific achievement over all. Given the problems that were faced in bringing the character to the big screen, to deliver such a entertaining addition to the Marvel franchise is highly impressive. If you are looking for a great summer blockbuster with bags of energy and charisma, you could do worse then give this tiny hero with a big heart a bit of your time. You won’t regret it!
Final score: 4 out of 5