Marvel’s Ant-Man is one of the universes’s lesser known characters. Only true comic lovers will recognize this character. That fact made this film hard to market. However, the MCU is so large and connected, people will see it regardless. The film opened north of 60 million dollars, good for the second lowest of all Marvel movie entries. Think about that for a second. Most filmmakers can only dream of that kind of opening. In Marvel’s world, that is almost a dead last finish. Financially, of course, it is still a success for them in any ways.
Peyton Reed fills the empty shoes of Edgar Wright. Way back in the early/mid 2000’s, this was Wright’s passion project. Last year, he and Marvel didn’t see eye to eye. Their relationship over the years could be a movie itself. He left, and the script was retooled, with Paul Rudd as lead man Scott Lang. Wright is still credited with the story. Michael Douglass plays Hank Pam, original Ant-Man (In the comics, Pym is a founding member of the Avengers, and creator of Ultron). Marvel studios has obviously reworked that. There are countless references to the Avengers and the greater universe, though, and it’s just a matter of time before these characters meet up with the rest.
Evangeline Lily plays Hank Pym’s daughter, Hope Van Dyne. Corey Stoll plays Darren Cross. Stoll is Pym’s protege, and has dedicated his life to recreating Pym’s mythical formula. Of course, he succeeds. Pym needs a successor to become Ant-Man. So, he recruits Rudd’s Scott Lang: a down on his luck felon. Lang was a Robin Hood criminal. He stole from a corrupt company and gave back to the people. Now, released and unemployed, he struggles to rekindle with his estranged daughter. Bobby Cannavale plays her cop stepdad, while Judy Greer plays Rudd’s ex wife. The father daughter strain is a key plot element here. Douglas’s Pym has rocky standings with his daughter Hope as well.
Scott and his cronies, a comical chicano played by Michael Pena, the driver played by rapper TI, and the computer wiz (David Dastmalchian) break into Douglas’s home in search of a score to support themselves. It is all an elaborate set up to start Scott’s transition into the Ant-Man. As he trains, we do get some colorful effects sequences. It is very impressive how Marvel pulled off the CGI to spectacularly capture Ant-Man’s shrinking abilities. Rudd and his quirky charisma work well with this role. There are a fair share of laughs. Douglas seems to be enjoying himself in his role, and it is fun to watch.
The issue here is that Hope feels she should be wearing the suit. She is undercover as Cross’s lover, and wants to take on the mission of stopping him. While she and her father work out their problems, Scott keeps preparing, and eventually we get a nice cameo that was successfully kept secret. When the heist is ready, Scott eventually comes face to face with Darin Cross, now equipped with his Yellow Jacket suit, and Pym’s technology. He had been in conjunction with HYDRA. They fight, and quite frankly, it is highly pleasing. There is a great section where they are shrunken and fighting on a child’s train set. Their mayhem is magnified as chaotic from their points of view, and we comically get the reality from bystanders who can’t see a thing, as toys fly everywhere.
When Scott is forced to save his daughter, he does something he won’t come back from. He goes subatomic, shrinking even further than usual. It is the only way to stop Cross. Pym warns him about this sort of twilight zone of no return. It is where his wife, (Wasp, Ant-Man’s partner) ended up on a mission. He could never forgive himself, and it is a main catalyst for the trouble with Hope. Scott, however, does the unthinkable. He finds a way out. With the day saved, Scott and Hope become involved, and all live happily ever after. Pym tries to get Scott to remember what happened in the unknown realm, but he can’t. Theoretically, his wife could still be in there.
Finally, we are treated to the typical Marvel post credits sequences. I won’t spoil them, but they obviously push the universe forward in many ways, and “Captain America: Civil War” is shaping up to be bigger than an Avengers movie itself. This is an entertaining superhero flick to say the least. It is not great, but it is not bad, like many may expect with such an unorthodox character.