Ant-Man: Rated “Pg-13” (1 hours and 57 minutes)
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Hayley Atwell, Corey Stoll, Michael Douglas
Directed by: Peyton Reed
OK, Funnybook fans, here is yet another (Marvel) comicbook film that is now out and in the theaters that you are going to want to catch. And once again Marvel has proven itself to be the leader in producing Funnybook films (36 since 2000 to DC’s 22 — which is odd when you think about it, as DC has been wholly-owned by Warner Bros. for decades). Anyways, Marvel has — with the release this month of Ant-Man, has begun to work its way down from the top tier of its comicbook characters from the primary into the secondary. To be sure, while Ant-Man is not only one of the earliest of the Marvel superheroes (first appearing in Tales to Astonish #27: January, 1962), but was actually one of the founding members of the Avengers (his wife, Janet Van Dyne A.K.A. the Wasp — was the one who came up with the team’s name), but (in the comic) it was Dr. Pym, not Tony Stark, that created the menace of Ultron (more on that later).
As stated, this film is just a tad different than most of the other Marvel films thus far this Millennium, as even though Ant-Man is one of the original heroes of the Marvel U. he is probably largely unknown by the general public, as he simply hasn’t had the kind of longevity of a solo run in the comics as most of the other heroes thus far on the screen. As we join this story (already in progress) we find Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas) spouting off at a trio of SHIELD operatives, angry that they have apparently been attempting to replicate his unique Pym Particles (the stuff that causes him to shrink down to ant size), before severing all ties to the organization (not the brief but pivotal cameo by a (slightly) older Agent Carter (Atwell) in this scene.
Flash forward some 30 years to find a (much) older and semi-retired Pym now looking to (once again) keep his Pym Particles out of the hands of someone who is less altruistic than himself; only this time it is protégée (and current head of Pym’s company) Darren Cross (Stoll). As it turns out, Cross has very nearly replicated the shrinking process and has developed a militarized suit that he intends to sell off to the highest bidder. In an effort to stop him, Pym (along with his daughter and Cross confidant) Hope van Dyne (Lilly), recruits Scott Lang to become the new Ant-Man. Lang (Rudd) is something of a tech-genius himself, only got caught up on the wrong side of the law when he pilfered millions of dollars from his former employer and returned the money to the clients from whom it had been pilfered in the first place.
Now, armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale while increasing in strength, con-man Scott Lang must embrace his inner-hero and help Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will (hopefully) save the world. While this film doesn’t have quite the high-profile budget of Iron Man, Thor or even The Hulk, it is still every bit as action-packed as those films. Needless to say (given the nature of its tiny hero) it is quite a bit more light-hearted in approach than the other hero films (think more Guardians of the Galaxy than Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
So, while we have come to accept that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is significantly different from the comicbook Marvel Universe, we have to say that this depiction of Marvel’s smallest hero is thematically right on target. And yep, you totally want to go out and see it if you are a fan of these films, and want to see more superhero action. (Oh, and not only will you also see a very special cameo of The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and, of course Stan Lee, but stick around through the end credits for both (yes, both) of the Easter Egg trailers. You’ll be glad you did.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web.