Ant-Man is Jam-Packed with Small Pleasures
- Christa Banister Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2015 15 Jul
DVD Release Date: December 8, 2015
Theatrical Release Date: July 17, 2015
Rating: PG-13 (for sci-fi action violence)
Genre: Comic Book/Sci-Fi
Run Time: 117 min.
Director: Peyton Reed
Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll, Evangeline Lilly, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Abby Ryder Fortson, Michael Pena, John Slattery
I'll be the first to admit that I thought Ant-Man, despite offering the very likable Paul Rudd (Anchorman 2) as the lead, might be the rare Marvel film that doesn't make a gazillion dollars.
Not only is Ant-Man himself pretty low on the superhero coolness scale, but the trailer wasn't exactly selling it as must-see entertainment for the non-geek contingent. Simply put, it looked a little dumb—especially when compared with the feistier likes of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Black Widow. Even the rag-tag Guardians of the Galaxy had more in the way of obvious charms, but Ant-Man? Not so much.
But every once in a while, a movie actually winds up being far more than you were expecting. And in the case of Ant-Man, the razzle-dazzle has little to do with elaborate action sequences overstuffed with CGI trickery. Rather, Ant Man succeeds in the art of smaller pleasures, namely a light, consistently-funny tone and a winsome protagonist you can't help hoping will land on the right side of the law for good.
Because before he becomes the world's tiniest superhero, Scott Lang (Rudd) is just a skilled pickpocket. Recently released from yet another jail stint (he's apparently a master thief, but not so masterful in the art of not getting caught), Scott is determined to go straight for the sake of his young daughter Cassie (adorable newcomer Abby Ryder Fortson). If that wasn't enough motivation to do the right thing, his ex-wife Maggie (Judy Greer, Jurassic World) won't let Scott see Cassie until he's got steady employment. Trouble is, not many companies are interested in hiring a guy with a long rap sheet. So when his current boss at Baskin-Robbins gives him the heave-ho after learning about his past, it's not surprising that Scott is desperate for a job. Any job.
In what's a very funny set-up, Scott's buddy Luis (Michael Pena, American Hustle) tells him about a lucrative new opportunity that's not exactly above board. While Scott resists initially, his lack of promise money-wise leaves him with few other options. After cracking a safe and the sophisticated security system behind it, Scott finds nothing more than a few mysterious vials and a weird looking suit with an equally weird helmet to match. Chalking it up to yet another speed bump in his unlucky life story, Scott doesn't give his findings much thought until Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas, Last Vegas) shows up.
In the grand tradition of superhero movies, Dr. Pym is a brilliant scientist who happened to pick the wrong guy to mentor. After "seeing a little too much of himself" in his young protégée Darren Cross (Corey Stoll, Non-Stop), Dr. Pym was eventually forced out of his own company by the very man in whom he'd invested so much. Opportunistic to the max and more than ready to sell some game-changing weaponry to the sort of men who wouldn't use it for good, Darren is well on his way to getting exactly what he wants. But if Dr. Pym and his double agent daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies) have anything to say about it, Darren won't be able to make good on his promise.
While the narrative itself isn't all that different from so many movies of this ilk, and the science doesn't make much sense, it's the fast-and-loose approach to the storytelling that makes Ant-Man such a delight. As a madcap spirit breathes new life into the action sequences, a likeable cast with impeccable comedic timing throughout helps make Ant-Man the rare summer movie that doesn't rely on big, loud, popcorn theatrics for success. In other words, it's a refreshing change of pace packed with plenty of Avengers references that should please the Marvel faithful, too.
CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers):
- Drugs/Alcohol: Social drinking depicted.
- Language/Profanity: Pretty mild when compared to your typical PG-13 fare. Words including sh--, da--, he—are used occasionally. A couple of misuses of God's name.
- Sex/Nudity: No sex or nudity, just a couple of innuendos and a crude reference to female anatomy. Scott and Hope share a kiss.
- Violence: Your standard superhero sci-fi action scenes, but Ant-Man isn't nearly as violent as, say, The Avengers or The Dark Knight. Darren vaporizes one of his co-workers into a goo before flushing him. Also if you're someone who gets squeamish about bugs, there are no shortage for the duration.
Publication date: July 15, 2015