Movie Review: Ant-Man
You may never have heard of Ant-Man. A superhero with the power of shrinking and controlling ants is as silly as it could get. But following “Guardians of the Galaxy” last year, Marvel has brought another lesser-known superhero into the big screen and become a part of its universe post-Avengers.
Paul Rudd is Scott Lang, an affable everyman, ex-thief trying to do the right thing after a life of crimes to get back into his little daughter’s (Abby Ryder Fortson) life. When the going gets tough again, he resorts to one last heist with his crew (Michael Pena, T.I., David Dasmaltchian); inept-looking, but does get things done. Little did he know what lies ahead when he tries to rob a retired CEO and scientist’s home, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” “Haywire“).
The first time Scott finds the suit and accidentally shrinks himself, having to dodge things and running for his life, is bewilderingly hilarious. Eventually he’s recruited by Hank, who’s impressed by his ingenuous breaking, entering and stealing skills, which includes bypassing an elaborate security system, fingerprinting lifting method and infiltrating a safe room.
Hank needs Scott to be Ant-Man in order to stop his former protege and current chief of Pym Technologies, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll, “Non-Stop,” “Midnight in Paris“) from proceeding with his ominous plan. Darren has finally figured out the formula of the revolutionary technology of Pym Particle (you’d shudder to see what happened to his test subjects) and realized it in the form of Yellowjacket suit. He intends to sell this to the highest bidder.
Darren is seemingly supported by his colleague, Hank’s estranged daughter, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly). Although you’ll find out soon enough that blood is thicker than water. A martial artist who understands the inner workings of the technology, she helps train Scott to learn how to fight, control the suit’s shrinking power and exponential strength (like a bullet with the strength of a 200 lbs. man), and command an army of ants. And apparently, there are different kinds of ants; crazy ants, carpenter ants, bullet ants and fire ants. The final act is action-packed, including ground and air pursuits by the aforementioned ants and miniature-sized duels in a toy train set. These look much better onscreen that they sound!
The unique visuals take advantage of the novelty factor of things shrinking and growing in scale, juxtaposing the varying impacts between what take place in the shrunken universe and in the real world.
Douglas brings a strong presence of a world-weary mentor and father. Rudd is so likeable in this laidback, ‘aw-shucks’ role that you can’t help but root for him. Pena is a comical sidekick with his hysterical storytelling and mannerism. Lilly is believable enough to have a central role as a female protagonist than merely a supporting character. Stay for the post-credit scenes, which may give you a hint about Ant-Man’s and Hope’s future. And yes, there are cameos by well-known figures here as well.
Ant-Man may not be Iron Man, Thor or Captain America, but good things do come in small packages. This is a straightforward story with nifty special effects and high doses of comedic elements. No complicated plot, serious emotions or grimness. It’s one of those breezy adventures serving up plenty of laughter. Tons of fun! Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
Copyright (c) 2015. Nathalia Aryani
Nathalia Aryani is a film columnist and has a movie blog, The MovieMaven(sdmoviemaven.blogspot.com). Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ant-Man at Comic-Con 2015 (photo by Nathalia Aryani)