Ants have feelings too!
Ant-Man was for many years going to be directed by Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010)) before artistic differences led him to leave and be replaced by Peyton Reed (The Break-Up (2006)) just before filming was due to begin. In this movie Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a cat burglar being released from prison determined to go straight this time for the sake of his daughter and prove to his ex-wife Maggie (Judy Greer) that he deserves to be a part of her life. Meanwhile Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) is concerned about what is going on at his former company and the attempts of his successor Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) to recreate his secret to shrinking down objects and people. The two men come together to form an unlikely pairing to stop Cross in his tracks.
The story of Ant-Man is much smaller in scale than in the most recent Marvel films in that for once the World is not at risk. Instead it is a story of redemption and the reunification of families and as such for me borrows heavily from the Steven Spielberg box of tricks. Not only is Lang trying to get closer to his daughter but so is Pym whose daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilley) works with Cross and there is a back story as to why there may be distance between them. The film has the look of a Marvel Universe flick, you get your fix of Avengers references and two post credit scenes so don’t forget to stay to the bitter end.
For me the stand out parts of the film were anytime we see Lang shrink down to the size of an ant and we enter that world with him. It gives a different perspective on the world and makes for some very effective set pieces. It’s fun to see Ant-Man switch between being normal sized and then small to suit the occasion. Paul Rudd is good value in the lead being as funny and engaging as ever although the outright acting award goes to Michael Douglas who is a class act as ever. For all the humour involved not all the one liners land and maybe, just maybe, some of that is the result of Rudd being involved in polishing the script and extra jokes being fitted in where they didn’t belong. As with all Marvel films the bad guy in Cross pales into the background a little – this universe is crying out for a villain with real menace and back story. His motivation seems to run no deeper than being a little ticked off that Pym didn’t hand him his secret formula.
Overall I enjoyed the film although I’m not sure how long it will linger in the memory. With the character established maybe there is an opportunity to widen Ant-Man’s horizons in a future Avengers film. My rating 3/5.