In the new Ant-Man movie starring Paul Rudd as Ant-Man/Scott Lang, we are handed a Marvel superhero/heist/comedy film that but that's really just window dressing, it's fairly easy to see what this film was about. Fathers and daughters.
For the Marvel Cinematic Universe fans, we get Michael Douglas as the legendary Dr. Henry 'Hank' Pym, a former superhero, and SHIELD scientist and agent. With an opening flashback set in 1989, we get him leaving SHIELD, while getting to tell Howard Stark, played by John Slaterly, where to stick it, and giving Mitchell Carson, portrayed by Martin Donavan, complete jerk and weapons guy a near broken nose experience, while resigning. We get to see the pattern played out for SHIELD set forth by the TV series, as well as previous movies. Hayley Atwell's Peggy Carter, gets involved as the only one of the then directors who gives an support to Dr. Pym.
After the heist elements are introduced via Paul Rudd's Scott Lang, and his trio of criminal buddies, Luis (Michael Peña), Kurt (David Dastmalchian), and Dave (T.I.), we get back to super hero shenanigans courtesy of Lang and the Pyms, Hank and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly).
Unlike the normal training montages/origins we normally see in comic book movies Lang's training ranges from getting his tail handed to him by Ms. Van Dyne to learning how to talk to and control ants of different species to work with. By careful pacing and interplay of special effects stunt work , and comedy these elements are made to move along like a scenic roller coaster rather than a amusement park tourist train.
Also, rather than trying to overload the scope of the film with another super hero via Hope Van Dyne, we are treated to the first legacy hero in the MCU. A brilliant move by the director and the studio to ensure proper attention for her in upcoming films. We get to see a competent, established woman who can kick tail in the boardroom and in the gym, without ever having to don the tough gal, insect themed togs of the agile arthropods.
The payoff for this leads to some terrific super hero action, combat involving insects and someone with growth change abilities, and an extremely clever final combat scene between Lang and our baddie, Darren Cross/Yellowjacket played by Corey Stoll.
Our aforementioned heist part of the movie comes before and during Lang's transformation from the cat burglar with a conscience to the Astonishing Ant-Man. We first meet Lang on his last day of prison, locked up for committing a Robin Hood style heist against a corporate goon whom had destroyed his employees savings and salary. While attempting to walk the straight and narrow, Lang finds that the pull of a new heist, offered like forbidden fruit by his trio of criminal buddies. The heist involves a theft from our hero, Dr. Hank Pym. After showing his cleverness in obtaining access to the safe containing the Ant Man suit, Lang gets a very hard introduction to Dr. Pym. After training as the Ant-Man and needing a component fro their final heist, Lang heads to upstate New York from California, hitching a ride in a 747 along with his family of Formicidae, wind up at the Avengers compound. After taking on Anthony Mackie's often under rated Falcon, Lang comes out the winner but just barely.
And now we get to the heart of the movie, fathers and daughters. Despite all of the heroics and hype, the passion of this movie is the strained relationships of Hank and his daughter Hope, and Scott Lang and his daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson). The Pym's problems stem from the death of Hope's mother, which has driven an emotional wedge between father and daughter; and the Lang's due to distance caused by Lang's incarceration, and his ex wife's remarriage and new family dynamic. Both situations drive Pym and Lang to emotional extremes and to make choices that test their personal boundaries and sense of fatherhood.
Finally, second only to Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man delves into a sense of family and belonging, that other Marvel films, including the Avengers movies haven't came close to. From Lang's trio of misfit fellow larcenists to the failed familial bonds between Cross and Dr. Pym to new family fetters forged by fighting the fiendish between the Pym and Lang families. This film hits it out of the park.
All in all, this take on a comic book hero has taken what could have been a silly train wreck of a movie and turned it into a fun filled, family driven, popcorn escape of a Thomas the train wreck movie.