Marvel’s comics first introduced Hank Pym/Ant-Man in 1962. Pym became Ant-Man after discovering a chemical substance -The Pym Particle which allowed him to alter his size and possess superhuman strength. With the development of another of Pym’s technologies, Ant-Man also has the ability to control armies of ants. In this film, we are introduced to master thief Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) as the present-day Ant-Man, who is recruited by Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). After being armed by Dr. Hank Pym with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, Lang must embrace his inner hero and help Pym protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world!
The opening of the film introduces us to the situation at hand in a very well scripted and set-up scenario, so we fully understand Scott’s psychological weaknesses and reasons for taking on the hero persona, plus there is some great self-deprecating humour to keep you amused and interested. Of course, no hero would be complete without a nemesis, in the form of Dr. Pym’s previous business partner turned baddie, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) and then a little romance for good measure, in the form of Dr. Pym’s daughter Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), who used to work for the baddie Darren Cross, but has realized that her father sees the dark side and how to stop dark forces from ruining the world. Plus there is the complication of the hero’s ex-wife and the young daughter that he misses and loves so much, so motivation is not hard to come by to succeed in the Ant-Man suit because of this.
Paul Rudd is a revelation after many of his previous roles and gives just the right amount of straight delivery mixed with dry humour that makes you love this hero a lot. Michael Douglas is also very strong, playing a classic scientist whose scientific property has been expropriated by his protégé. Evangeline Lilly is another surprise in the film since she led quite a main role in TV series <LOST> and delivers a great performance with her bewitching eyes and striking hair style, plus petulance in her actions due to her father trying to keep her in the dark about her mother’s death (for reasons that can only be explained by going to see the movie....especially during the credit rolls at the end of the film). It is a great all round cast that deliver some great lines and action that begs the question, when will Ant-Man II be made, as quite clearly this is the beginning of another great franchise.
The scripting is very taut, without any cheesiness, leading to some very funny visual gags and spoken humour – think a giant Thomas the Tank Engine and some rogue giant ant coming out of your house……need one say more? Scott’s friends turn out to be worth their weight in gold when it comes to Ant-Man saving the world, the film shows that embracing good and people’s bad habits can create positive change to help save the world. The themes of fatherhood, mentorship and abandonment play a big part in the relationships of the lead characters in Marvel’s “Ant-Man.” With the story of the film centering on Hank Pym and Scott Lang’s newfound partnership and relationship, the characters are grounded as they struggle with the everyday challenges of being a good father and mentor. To quote President of Marvel Studios and “Ant-Man” Producer Kevin Feige who explains why Marvel has continued its unprecedented box office success within its ever expanding universe of characters, “at Marvel its always been about the characters and making sure at the core of the film it is about being able to relate and connect to these amazing but flawed individuals”. We couldn’t agree more, as this film seems even more grounded in realism than the other science fiction story lines, so it makes it easier to embrace and enjoy the ride and it is one of the funniest Marvel films to date. You will also learn a lot more about different species of ants, so it is more than just fun and games on screen, but with the humour for levity.
For those of you that are not into the original comic books, Ant-Man is one of the founding members of the Avengers (they are referenced in the film). There is also a great mentor-pupil dynamic between the characters of Dr. Hank Pym and Scott Lang and this shows in the chemistry between Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas. Another big surprise is that Paul Rudd was also a script writer on this film. “Ant-Man” comes across as completely original and fresh and it is a big thumbs up from us and we can’t wait to see the next installment! Be prepared for the ride of your life, as this movie is a pleasant surprise in the sea of comic book driven characters and spectacles.
Rating : 4/5