One of the Avenger’s original member’s finally makes it to the big screen. Ant-Man is the story of ex-con Scott Lang who is trying his best to go straight. However, he is pulled back into the world of cat burglary when he finds himself aiding former hero, Dr. Hank Pym, in safeguarding the mystery of the Ant-Man technology.
This Ant-Man tech allows its user to decrease in size but increase in strength – leaving him literally punching above his weight. Basically ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids’ on steroids. If this device falls into the wrong hands it could threaten the whole world, and inevitably it does fall into such hands. Thus, a heist is planned that will save the world from the impending doom about to be caused by the villainous Darren Cross.
The last three Marvel standalone films have given us more than just a standard superhero story. ‘Captain America: Winter Solder’ was a conspiracy thriller, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ was Dirty Dozen in space, and ‘Ant-Man; is a classic heist movie, herein lies the MCU’s brilliance.
Cast perfectly, Paul Rudd is the criminal with the heart of gold turned action man in training. He’s likable, funny and pretty agile too. Complimenting our reluctant hero is Michael Douglas as Dr. Pym, whose straight-talking approach grounds the wise-cracking thief, (he also shows us that he would have made an amazing superhero himself back in his day). Douglas has a movie pedigree that ensures the audience is secure and comfortable in his performance. He brings a certain old school movie magic to the screen. Michael Peña deserves a mention too as he steals every scene he is in playing Lang’s Hispanic comedic sidekick Luis.
There will be the inevitable questions and issues raised around the depiction of women in superhero movies, and I’m pleased that this film did not fall into any clichéd ‘women in distress’ or cheesy romantic interest storylines. Evangeline Lilly plays Dr. Pym’s daughter Hope. She’s action ready and is strongly set up for future Marvel appearances. Lilly is yet again proving there’s definitely life after Lost.
Marvel films do suffer slightly in the villain department and Ant-Man is no exception. Yellow jacket is no Loki, but Corey Stoll does play Darren Cross with all the insane villainy you could wish for, resulting is some intense exchanges and a good dose of creepy.
Originally Edgar Wright was set to direct this film, and he also co-wrote the story and screenplay with Attack the Block’s writer/director Joe Cornish. As a result, the ‘Shaun Of The Dead’ director’s DNA is all over this project with the jokes coming thick and fast both verbally and illustrated in the brilliant action packed sight gags. The fast-paced fight sequences are hold your breath good while managing some tension-breaking hilarity.
As is a prerequisite for a Marvel film the outstanding special effects take you on a spectacular mini adventure that’ll mean you’ll never look at Ants in the same way again. I never thought I would feel emotionally invested in an insect, but you do get to be rather fond of our miniature hero’s army of tiny buddies.
This may just be my favourite action blockbuster of the year so far, if not one of my top Marvel films. Like the first Ironman, I left the cinema wanting more. Ant-Man might be one of Marvel’s smaller properties, but man does he pack a huge punch.
Ant-Man is out in cinemas and IMAX now.
Reviewed by Ian Wright