2015 / Directed. Peyton Reed.
Review by Glenn Cochrane
ANT-MAN is my type of comic book movie. It's that quirky blend of action and comedy that bucks the trend and provides much needed alleviation from the saturation of blockbuster pummel flicks. I had low expectations going into it but had positive suspicions all the same based on the promotional art. There is no doubt about it, I had a blast with this one. Yes, I even rubbed my hands with glee at times.
With the same glossy sheen of the other AVENGER-connected Marvel films, ANT-MAN occupies the same world and shares the same threats. Away from Stark Enterprises and the SHEILD corporation lies another tech-industry, founded by a former SHEILD scientiest, Dr Pym (Michael Douglas). For decades he has been developing a suit that shrinks subjects to insect size and doubles their strength at the same time. Aware of the disastrous implications he has kept the discovery secret. Forced out of the company he loses control of the technology's specs and his former protege has diabolical plans to recreate and execute the research. Needing a new man to don the suit he grooms a former cat burglar (Paul Rudd) and trains him to become Ant-Man.
The movie works because of its unconventional nature. Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man is an unlikely actor playing an unlikely hero. The very concept of ANT-MAN is ludicrous and director Peyton Reed knows it. With Edgar Wright (THE CORNETTO TRILOGY) on board as one of the lead writers the script has been injected with a crucial dose of self referential humour. The gags hit their marks and every player delivers each punch line with precision. But they've also taken the subject matter seriously where its needed. The conflicts are important and, as with all good super hero movies, the weight of the predicament is heavy. We're also treated to a character with a strong emotional anchor and this is wonderfully explored with some lovely father/daughter moments. The young girl playing Scott Lang's daughter is adorable and sincere. Michael Douglas also brings added clout with one of the best character performances in years. He is a welcome addition to the ever growing list of notable names in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
What appealed to me most of all about ANT-MAN was its overall atmosphere. There is something inherently classic about it with world it depicts and the adventures it presents. It plays out like clever jumble of THE ROCKETEER and SMALL SOLDIERS, as well as all of the AVENGER-connected films, most notably IRONMAN. To put it simply, ANT-MAN is fun (a lot of fun) and I rate it above all of the other Marvel films, second only to GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. Great stuff.