Scott Lang: Is it too late to change the name?
Beware: Spoilers may follow.
Perhaps the silliest name and idea for a superhero would be Ant-Man. Thankfully Marvel proved us 100% wrong. With the help of a stellar cast, good characters, a simple but well-told story, and a great deal of creativity with its main hero, Marvel gave us a movie that may be small in size but packs a big punch.
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is an ex-con who has been released from prison. He wants to be a part of his daughter Cassie’s life. However his ex-wife refuses to let him spend time with her unless he can provide child support. He tries to get an honest job but is overshadowed by his criminal background. He comes across a scientist named Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) who was once working on a high-tech suit that has the power to shrink down people to the size of an ant but give the user incredible strength years ago. However, he shut it down due to the dangers it possessed to its bearer. Present day however, his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and his former assistant Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) have voted him out of his own company. Cross has succeeded in replicating Hank’s technology and is intent on selling it to the villainous organization known as HYDRA in hopes of revolutionizing warfare, as the world knows it. Hank and Hope fear that this technology is in the wrong hands thus they recruit Scott to help break in, steal the suit, and destroy it by using his own version of the suit.
The movie has smaller stakes than previous Marvel movies but it works to the movie’s advantage. It gives us time to get invested in these characters and see them develop. I like it how they explained away why the Avengers weren’t called in for this mission and the reason comes across as perfectly valid. The movie has elements we’ve seen before in other movies such as the ex-con who wants to do right by his family, the father who doesn’t want to lose his daughter, the daughter who is closed to her father, etc. but the performances the cast gives are so compelling they breathe new life into these elements making it feel like you’re hearing this for the first time.
All the technology the Ant-Man suit provides is also very fascinating to see. They take full advantage of both the technology and the situation. Scott has the power to control ants, he can shrink and enlarge himself and other things around him. The movie takes full advantage of the ability to shrink and enlarge by using things such as toys, key chains, and other things; the suit also gives him super strength. And when you see all these things it truly is a sight to behold and leads to a lot of funny moments and intense action. The final battle is on a Thomas the Tank Engine train set. By all outward appearances that should be horrible for a superhero movie but they succeed in making it both intense and funny at the same time.
Paul Rudd gives an excellent performance as Scott Lang. As is with most Marvel superheroes, he has a great deal of humorous moments both inside and outside the suit. He isn’t just an ex-con without the suit. You still see how smart he is and how he applies his brains into various moments throughout the movie. The movie doesn’t shy away from some of the heartfelt moments with him either. The bond he shares with his daughter is genuine and you see how it drives him in both doing right by her and being the superhero. Despite the fact that he’s an ex-con, you still find yourself rooting for him and you want to see him make his daughter proud.
Michael Douglas as Hank Pym is also well done. The CGI used to make him look younger in the opening flashback is fantastic. Despite the fact that he locked away the Ant-Man technology he’s still very passionate about his work he’s achieved with it. Whenever he talks about the features that the suit provides you believe in what he’s saying. When he talks about the past with his company and his relationship with his daughter you do feel for him. Whenever he talks it doesn’t just feel like pointless exposition. Douglas’ delivery of his dialogue gives his role a lot of weight.
Evangeline Lilly as Hope gives her role a great deal of weight. The movie tries to give a romance between Hope and Scott but it feels rushed. Everything else about her character however is shown well. She’s very blunt and snarky towards Scott and his friends. She does however recognize potential in Scott when she sees it and does show respect for him.
Michael Pena as Scott’s former cellmate Luis is absolutely hilarious. Whenever this guy is on screen he is guaranteed to give you at least one laugh. Like Douglas just the way his dialogue and the way he delivers it makes his performance.
If there is one real problem with the movie, it’s the villain. Even though he looks cool in the yellow jacket suit and Corey Stoll gives a believable performance in showing just how ruthless this character can be in creating the technology, he just feels like an average Marvel villain. He just feels like someone created merely for Ant-Man to fight.
Ant-Man showcases that Marvel can take even the most laughable of ideas, and still make it work. It has a great cast and compelling characters and performances to drive it. The movie not only succeeds in getting you invested in these characters but also leaves you wanting more. It makes you want to see this guy join the Avengers and work off of them. It just proves that the biggest superheroes can come in the smallest of sizes.