The next big Marvel film, and the first following Age of Ultron sees Paul Rudd stepping into the Marvel Universe as Scott Lang, a small time thief, who wants to go straight, and see his daughter. He’s joined by Michael Douglas as Hank Pym the creator of the Ant-Man tech and suit, Evangeline Lilly as Hope and Corey Stoll as Darren Cross, the film’s baddie (something the film does rather quickly when it reveals the test subjects he’s using for his tests).
Rudd has always been likable and he seems perfectly cast as Scott. He has a fun Everyman quality about him that serves to bring the audience in and serve as their conduit into the world Pym invites him into. And it’s fun to see him center stage.
Much like the crowd-pleasing Guardians of the Galaxy last year, this title isn’t necessarily one you would expect Marvel to pull from their roster of characters as their next big event film, which these movies have undeniably become. And yet because Ant-Man is a bit of lesser known character, and the fact that Marvel continues to focus on character and story, this one works. Frequently funny, the changes in perspective make for a lot of fun, what could be frightening or action-packed on the miniature scale when Scott shrinks down with his suit, could be priceless when see on a larger scale.
This one continues to do something Marvel still has over the DC films, it’s fun.
There are some nice family dynamics between Scott and his daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Forston), that are mirrored in Hank and Hope’s relationship, and the interaction between Scott, his ex, Maggie (Judy Greer) and her new fiancé and cop, Paxton (Bobby Cannavale). The heart of the story is definitely Scott and Cassie.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of action. Hank recruits Scott to break into Pym Tech, where his pupil Darren is trying to find the secret to his process and sell it as a weapon technology to the highest bidder, no matter who they are.
So, it becomes a bit of a heist film, and also sees Scott having to square off against another superhero, tying it even more securely into the Marvel Universe (especially when he has to break into a rather familiar location, or we see familiar faces like John Slattery’s Howard Stark or Hayley Atwell’s Carter).
And while Ultron didn’t have one, there are two post-credits sequences, one of which hints at the next film Captain America: Civil War.
Ant-Man makes for a fun, and worthy entry into the Marvel Universe, and the audience I screened it with definitely agreed. All of them knew to stay in their seats for both tags, and on a number of occasions broke into applause and even cheers at some points in the film. There are some wonderful moments, as well as some set-up for future adventures with Scott.
So if you were worried about this Marvel film because you weren’t sure what the film would be like, or if you could enjoy a film featuring a lot of ants, don’t worry, this one is very much in the vein of previous Marvel films, interesting characters, enjoyable stories, and set pieces, and nowhere near as grim as DC films feel they need to be.
Marvel has another winner on their hands.