Marvel Studios strike gold again with Ant-Man
It seems like Marvel can do no wrong at the moment. Following the success of Avengers: Age of Ultron earlier this year (the third-highest-grossing film of 2015), the studios appear to have struck gold again with the release of Ant-Man.
Armed with a super-suit that can shrink in size, Ant-Man tells the story of con-man Scott Lang, who must embrace his inner hero to pull off a heist with the help of Dr. Hank Pym, to save the world.
The film starts with a flashback from 1989 with scientist Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) resigning from S.H.I.E.L.D. (run by Tony Stark’s father and Captain America’s love interest Peggy Carter) after discovering that they attempted to replicate his “Pym particle” – a secret chemical that makes shrinks objects. Pym believes the technology is dangerous and vows to suppress it.
Years later, after being forced out his own company by his estranged daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and former protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), Pym discovers that Cross is close to perfecting a shrinking suit of his own, known as Yellowjacket, and plans to sell it to the highest bidder – in this case, the evil corporation H.Y.D.R.A.
Too old to wear the Ant-Man suit and stop Cross himself, Pym recruits the talents of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a master thief just released from prison who wants to turn his life around for young daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson). Trained by Pym and armed with a suit that allows him to shrink in size, Lang becomes Ant-Man, the miniature hero who must use his super skills, strength and strategic manoeuvrability to prevent Cross from using it as a weapon for evil.
Lighthearted, funny and highly enjoyable, Ant-Man may not boast the superhero appeal of Captain America, Iron Man or Thor but it certainly entertains. The plot boasts a mix of classic Marvel super-heroism with Mission: Impossible and, understandably, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. As with other Marvel films, there are plenty of laughs thrown into the mix, along with some clever visual gags and nicely conceived sequences. While the story is a little predictable at times, it also boasts a few surprises along the way.
Paul Rudd is excellent as Scott Lang, the intelligent, altruistic burglar and ant-sized superhero. Rudd makes a playful addition to the Marvel universe, playing Lang’s intelligence, humour and self-deprecation with charisma and perfect comic timing.
Michael Douglas’s brings a dignified, albeit stubborn, dignity to Dr. Hank Pym, who like Lang, is hoping to reclaim his relationship with his own daughter.
Evangeline Lilly gives a tough, spirited performance as Hope, Pym’s daughter eager to prove herself. Corey Stoll is equally excellent as the deliciously snide as Darren Cross.
The film boasts a strong supporting cast with Tip “T.I.” Harris, David Dastmalchian and Michael Pena getting the most laughs as Lang’s petty criminal friends.
It’s fair to say that Ant-Man has had its share of behind-the-scene difficulties, most notably the loss of original director Edgar Wright, who chose to step down prior to filming due to “creative differences”. While Rudd and Adam McKay were brought in later to contribute on the script, much of Wright’s pre-production work was still used in the film, and is the disjoint is evident at times. Having said that, the film’s final climatic sequence is arguably the best in the film and will leave you anting more.
Inventive, clever and fun, Ant-Man is a worthy addition to Marvel’s back-catalogue and well worth a watch.
Ant-Man is released in cinemas on Friday 17 July 2015.