Ex-con Scott Lang is looking to change his ways, he wants to lead a clean life so he can be a part of his young daughter's life. But former superhero Hank Pym ropes Scott back into the heist business to become the Ant-Man and steal a piece of technology that has the potential to cause worldwide chaos.
Ant-Man is the latest hero to join the MCU and the character brings a whole new element into the universe. In his glory days, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) invented the Pym Particle, a formula which when used can shrink objects, even humans. Ant-Man has the ability to shrink in size and increase in strength, which makes for both humor and very inventive action scenes.
Paul Rudd (Anchorman), best known for his work in comedy fits perfectly into the Marvel Universe as ex thief turned superhero Scott Lang. He of course brings a lot of wit and humor to the character but also grounds him. The most interesting part of Ant-Man is the relationship's between many of the characters, most notably the mentor-mentee relationship between Scott and Hank. Hank recruits Scott after learning of his thieving skills and uses him for a very dangerous and potentially world saving heist.
An ex-mentee of Hank's who now runs Pym Technologies has developed a formula much like the Pym Particle and plans to integrate this technology to warfare. The hugely talented Corey Stoll (House Of Cards) plays Darren Cross who later becomes the villainous Yellow Jacket. Stoll does well with what he's given but unfortunately what he's given is the weakest character in the movie. From the get go, Cross is evil and to a maniacal level, there's no development to his madness. Marvel always has trouble with their villains with a couple of exceptions, and Yellow Jacket is unfortunately another throw away foe in the Marvel pantheon. My main issue with Yellow Jacket/Darren Cross is that his motivations were seemingly non-existent, he was evil for the sake of being evil and it's such a waste of talent from Corey Stoll.
Michael Douglas (Wall Street) is excellent as Hank Pym, he approaches the role with the same amount of respect as he does a serious dramatic role and his performance is all the better for it. Evangeline Lily (Lost) plays Hank's daughter, Hope, one of the strongest female characters Marvel has ever created in the movie universe, her character has so much more to do by the end of the film and I can't wait to see where she'll pop up next. The father-daughter relationship between Hank and Hope is one of the film's strengths and brought up a surprising amount of emotion.The actor who surprised me the most was actually Michael Pena (Fury), he plays Luis, one of Scott's most trusted accomplices and he is hilarious in the role. Pena's character is used as comedy relief but he never falls into the annoying realm which he so easily could have, every word out of Pena's mouth was comedy gold.
As many of you probably know, Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs The World) was originally supposed to direct Ant-Man but left the project due to creative differences with Marvel. The movie went through a variety of different directors but finally we landed on Peyton Reed (Yes Man, The Break Up) a director primarily known for comedy. Reed felt like an odd choice for a superhero film but he manages to impress. At it's core Ant-Man is a heist film and it ticks most of the right boxes. Reed nails the comedy, action and tone but rushes a few aspects of the film. Many of the relationships felt underdeveloped and some of the set-up feels quite rushed.
Ant-Man introduces audiences to a whole new world, battles take place within very small areas and a Macro-Photography style was used to make us feel like we're running through carpet fibers or flying on an ant named Anthony with the shrinking hero. The movie has incredible fun with it's protagonists' powers and will often cut away in a heavy action scene to the perspective of a normal sized human which is one of Ant-Man's funniest tools. One battle actually takes place within the confines of a suit case and it's very impressive.
The film ties in nicely to the larger Marvel Universe and it's easy to see where Ant-Man can go next. The style used for Ant-Man's abilities will be interesting to see when used by a different director in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War which Ant-Man makes an appearance in.
Marvel's Ant-Man is an endlessly funny, incredibly inventive and welcome addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a hero I want to see much more of in future installments. Seeing a smaller film with much smaller stakes in the Marvel Universe was refreshing, not every movie should be about the literal end of the world and Ant-Man recognizes that. If you're a Marvel fan, Ant-Man is a must see!
Have you seen Ant-Man? If so, what did you think about it? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @JamesPorter97