After a troubled production with previous director Edgar Wright dropping out due to “creative differences”, it might have looked like Marvel Studios had spread the superhero goodness just too far.
However despite his pint sized status “Ant-Man” has managed to punch way above his weight in the superhero box office. Eschewing what will no doubt be the post “Deadpool” trend to move ruder and more violent movies, this film skews more family friendly.
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a small time crook serving his last day in San Quentin for various breaking and entering crimes. He is picked up by his friend and the films comic relief “Luis” (Michael Pena). Lang is determined to stay on the straight and narrow in the hope he can reconnect to his daughter “Cassie”, presently living not unhappily with his Mom (Maggie Greer) and new stepfather (Bobby Cannavale).
His daughter already thinks he is a superhero but he fails to live up to the rose tinted billing and ends up having to room with three small time losers, as he attempts to put his life back together.
Meanwhile Michael Pym (Michael Douglas), as part of SHIELD has since 1989 been creating a suit that allows the wearer to shrink themselves to Ant size. Believing his creation to be dangerous, just think of the military applications, he resigned and attempted to kill the project.
Unfortunately his protege Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) has continued his work and is able to display that following some rather explosive early test runs, he has also perfected the technology. Rather than risking his own better qualified daughter (Evangeline Lilly) to don the suit and attempt to destroy the technology, Pym looks for someone expendable schmuck, cue Lang who is easily enticed into a bit of breaking and entering.
As expected the film leverage’s part of the Marvel universe in a battle with “Falcon” (Anthony Mackie) as “Ant-Man” attempts to infiltrate the SHIELD headquarters to steal the usual movie McGuffin.
The effects are state of the art and the film looks and finds humour in many of the situation, juxtaposing titanic miniature battles with a full size overview, showing the humour when a “Thomas the Tank engine” falls off the track i.e. massive and thundering with “whatever”.
Rudd seems comfortable in both his everyman and superhero role, how much any of the actors “really” get to do when suited up is debatable, such is the requirement for CGI in modern films.
Douglas can play these roles in his sleep, interestingly CGI also makes him 25 years younger at the start of the film, a process that is all but seamless.
There is more juice in the tank for the character, hopefully next time out they will also give Lilly more to do, here she gets to look cross and be the eventual “love interest”, despite having all the martial arts moves.
A good fun movie that does not take itself too seriously, part of the Marvel stable but able to stand quite successfully on it’s own two tiny feet