In Marvel’s Ant-Man, Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang, a man who has just been released from prison for breaking into a high security business in which he used to work for. At the same time, Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas), a brilliant mind who invented a suit which can adjust size and strength, finds out his old company is going to use that technology to make a new, dangerous weapon.
As Lang finds himself falling back into his ways of theft in order to make enough money to be a better father to his daughter, Pym decides to give Lang a better opportunity. With the help of Pym’s daughter, Hope, the old scientist mentors Lang to use the suit to steal and dispose of the weapon to create a safer world.
“Ant-Man” had a bit of a rocky road in getting made since the project had to change directors along the way. The result is a movie that for the most part is good, but still had some noticeable areas that felt a bit disjointed.
The best aspect of the film is the freshness of taking a character with a criminal background and grounding the movie by making it a heist tale. Compared to the recent grand scales of monstrous heli-carriers doing battle in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and intergalactic fights in “Thor: The Dark World,” “Ant-Man’s simplified caper story was actually a welcome change of pace.
A major problem holding down “Ant-Man,” though, is its use of clichés. While it was great to see a superhero film in the form of a heist, the origin story tropes are still front and center. From the training sequences to the romance to the final battle, everything feels a bit too familiar, even if it’s going down a different route.
The biggest surprise of “Ant-Man” is Rudd who fit remarkably well as a lead superhero. His comedic delivery worked perfectly in bringing the witty character Lang to the big screen and he pulled off being the unconventional hero.
Douglas was also strong as Pym, playing a mentor role that was reminiscent of “Batman Beyond,” where Bruce Wayne had to train and monitor the missions of a new Batman. The relationship is similar here, and Douglas and Rudd make it work.
Probably the weakest aspect of the film in terms of its characters was Darren Cross (Stoll), the movie’s villain. His overly evil tone from the start of the film make it easy to see how he is going to turn full on bad later. The problem is he doesn’t have the depth to back it up, despite the movie including a subplot of how Pym was once his mentor. It’s simply hard to believe from what the movie shows that the two characters ever got along with each other which makes that aspect of the villain weak.
A few cast additions that worked really well were Clifford “T.I.” Harris, David Dastmalchian and Michael Pena as Lang’s friends. These three provided some of the comic relief in the film and they provided for some good laughs.
In fact, the humor was an area that “Ant-Man” excelled at. Multiple times the movie delivered on comedic notes and made for a fun, humorous ride.
The cliches in “Ant-Man” and the weak villain keep it from being in the upper echelon of Marvel movies, however, Rudd and Douglas are both strong leads, the movie delivers laughs and the heist aspect makes it an exciting picture. High 3 out of 5.