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ANT-MAN is a deceptively large Marvel Comics movie…

Posted on August 3rd, 2015
Posted on August 3rd, 2015

by Coop Cooper

Like “Guardians of the Galaxy” before it, Marvel attempts to introduce viewers to one of its more obscure properties with “Ant-Man” and although it sounds just as silly as movie starring a gun-toting, wisecracking raccoon, it’s also just as fun.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a former electrical engineer turned criminal for exposing a company’s unethical practices, is released from prison and immediately runs into trouble after stealing a mysterious superhero suit from inventor and former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). The suit has the power to shrink its user to the size of an insect and the ability to control all species of ants. Pym sees potential in Lang and recruits him steal this technology back from his corporation which has been usurped by his unethical protege Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) who plans to sell the shrinking tech to the evil organization known as Hydra. Trained by Pym’s daughter, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), Lang attempts to master the powers the suit gives him while trying to salvage his relationship with his estranged daughter. Meanwhile, Cross wisens up to Pym and Lang’s attempted heist and plans to thwart them with his own deadly ‘Yellowjacket’ supersuit.

The best part about “Ant-Man” is how such a silly power is presented to show just how powerful and thrilling it can be in the right hands. Because the technology compresses the atoms of the user – or some such nonsense – it makes them stronger, and faster when they shrink down to micro-size. The process also takes less than a split second and can reverse itself just as fast, and this becomes part of the hand-to-hand combat as Lang shrinks to avoid attacks and reverts to normal size to deliver them or cover more distance. Lang also has weaponized disks which can shrink or enlarge other objects – but these ‘enlarging’ powers were seldom-used and will probably be explored more in the sequels. The utilization of the different species of ants as an army/transportation also pays off, from the bridge-forming fire ants to the painful-stinging bullet ants. This all adds up to some unique action scenes with a lot of inventive set pieces and tie-ins to the rest of the Marvel Universe. There are a few plot holes and lapses in logic, but it’s all so much fun, it hardly matters. One of the most entertaining scenes happens when Lang’s first field mission results in him unwittingly going up against one of the Avengers themselves.

Paul Rudd was an inspired choice as a superhero lead, especially a semi-comedic one. While he didn’t get to show off the best of his comedic side, he nails the role and will be a welcome addition to the Avengers in future films. It was neat to see an aging Michael Douglas play the straight man to Rudd’s comedic talents but I still feel it was a strange choice to make him a more reclusive, low key version of Tony Stark. In the comics, Pym is a prolific inventor that rivals Stark in most areas, and he continually re-invents himself as a superhero based on his latest scientific discoveries. This is why I hope Lang eventually becomes ‘Giant-Man’ at some point in the future films.

Evangeline Lilly wasn’t utilized the way I hoped but her character’s importance was definitely telegraphed in the closing scene of the film. She will be taking her late mother’s place as ‘The Wasp’ and joining the Avengers as well in upcoming films. Lang’s bumbling team of professional thieves added some extra comic relief, especially Michael Pena as the good-hearted Luis who has knack for knocking people out and has a hilariously creative way of telling stories.

Each Marvel film that comes out surprises me with how well they all interconnect and “Ant-Man” is no exception. This film directly ties into “Captain America: Civil War” which will release next year and marks an especially dark turning point in the Marvel Universe where the Avengers will turn against each other. Ant-Man will make an appearance, but it’s not clear how he will ultimately fit into the Avengers dynamic.

Ant-Man” is a light, fun superhero heist movie for all ages. Both kids and adults will get a kick out of it and it’s not as silly as you think. You’ll be surprised at how cool an insect-sized superhero can be.

5 out of 5 stars

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