Would you be surprised if I told you that Ant-Man is a comic book character created in 1962 by industry legends Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, and Stan Lee? Would it also surprise you to know that Ant-Man is also a founding member of the Avengers?
You probably didn’t know that based on what has transpired on the silver screen with Marvel thus far. It’s ok, though, really. The prospect of a superhero that plays with ants doesn’t sound like a financially viable project for movie executives to invest in.
However, we got a talking Raccoon in a film, and it made millions.
Ant-Man is a character that really never did it for me. That all changed as Director Peyton Reed’s theatrical interpretation, lit up movie screens in the latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Paul Rudd stars as the down on his luck burglar with a Robin Hood complex named Scott Lang who’s desperate to clean up his act to be reunited with his daughter. Later on, Michael Douglas’ Dr. Hank Pym recruits Lang and offers him a chance at salvation, ultimately saving the world.
This is a heist film that contains the perfect blend of astonishing action, adventure, and comedic features that hit all the right notes and plays beautiful music. Paul Rudd’s casting was a big question mark since he is primarily known for comedy.
However, the idea of a superhero with Hulk-like strength when shrinking to the size of an insect is funny when you think about it. That irony is embraced, and Rudd keeps the laughs coming while knowing when to turn on his serious side.
More and more critically acclaimed actors have jumped on the MCU bandwagon, and besides Robert Redford in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, most of their roles are forgettable.
Michael Douglas fits the bill here as he isn’t here just to collect a paycheck. His presence and performance adds the credibility needed to establish the type of character that knows everything and has been with us the entire time, but we just didn’t know it until now.
It’s ironic that this movie revolves around a robbery because Michael Peña unquestionably steals the show as the bumbling yet efficient and very likable thief, Luis. There isn’t a single moment on-screen where he isn’t making someone laugh out loud, and the way he can’t help but tell “he said, she said” stories instead of just getting to the point borders on being priceless.
Even Peña’s thieving colleague, Dave, played by superstar rapper T.I. has a quick but memorable meeting of the minds with Douglas’ Pym as he with a straight face tells the good doctor, “One could say I let you let me” when responding to Pym after he said he let him rob his house.
Marvel’s plight of great and commanding villains continues as Corey Stoll’s Darren Cross / Yellow Jacket fails to make an inedible impression. Stoll is good in the role, and the character isn’t dull by any means. After a while, though, it was clear that the baddie here was simply a set piece used to help establish Ant-Man as the new hero on the block.
Faithful devotees of Marvel films and casual moviegoers are going to absolutely love Ant-Man. It beautifully ties into the comings and goings of the MCU while focusing its own fun story. This thing was brilliantly cast from the top of the call sheet and all the way Scott Lang’s young daughter, Cassie, played by Abby Ryder Fortson, who was just adorable and made you want Lang to fight for her even more.
There are two post-credit scenes, so you know the drill, don’t leave the theater right away. Both of them are worth the wait to provide insight into what’s next for the MCU. This is now one of my top five favorite Marvel films. Once you indulge in the size-shifting heroics and barrel of creative laughs, there is no doubt that Ant-Man will crawl near the top of your list as well.