Among all the big stakes and proportions of other Marvel movies, Ant Man is able to feel refreshing due to its smallness both in stature and in scale. Even though there’s no world annihilating event that needs to be prevented, the movie proves to wildly entertaining due to some slick action sequences, creative humor, and a fantastic lead in Paul Rudd. It feels so refreshing, quick, and is able to juggle serious and comical moments expertly to make this one of my favorite standalone Marvel movies.
After the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, we focus on common petty thief Scott Lang who has recently been released from prison and is trying to lead an honest life. However, he finds himself wrapped back into the world of crime and something more when both Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne recruit for a heist that could possibly help the world.
Who knew that Paul Rudd would ever play a Marvel hero, but he slips effortlessly into the role of Ant Man. The hero itself is not taken seriously due to his name and ridiculous powers, and that is what makes Paul Rudd such the perfect fit. He seamlessly is able to portray is charm and wit into the role and deliver laugh out loud moments due to his expert comedic timing. Even then, Rudd is able to handle more subtle moments when Scott has a moment with his daughter making him a sweet and empathetic hero that is easy to root for.
The rest of the cast is also pretty memorable and leaves a lot of room for potential in future movies. Evangeline Lily’s Janet Van Dyne is equally pained and frustrated by allowing Scott to take center stage when she feels she deserves the spotlight. We see how knowledgeable and nuanced she is making her transformation into the Wasp all the more exciting come future movies. Michael Douglas as Hank Pym feels properly burdened and angered with the new age of superheroes which makes the audience yearn for an interaction with Tony Stark in the future. And finally Michael Pena is the scene stealer with his quick delivery and expert dialogue that bring the biggest laughs in the movie.
The movie is pretty conventional in its plot. They need to break into a place and steal something from a huge corporation. Yet it is the way the heist is presented and the build up to it that make it all the more tense and exciting. Seeing Scott train with his powers is wildly entertaining as he learns to shrink quickly or communicate with ants. Seeing the transition from rookie to an average decent hero is not unlike something we have seen before but plays for comedy instead of seriousness which is more welcome here.
Comedy is the movies biggest strength and never its weakness and that is due to the low stakes of the plot. They are not trying to save the world or prevent imminent destruction, just perform a moderate heist. Because there isn’t much at stake it isn’t frustrating when the comedy comes in or something ridiculous happens during a dramatic action scene that is completely played for a laugh. It all flows organically and works effectively to never feel forced or unneeded.
But the stakes do feel real when things are really going down. The action is exciting and the display of Ant Man’s powers are actually really cool. Shrinking really quick to perform a stunt and then growing back up actually proves to be wildly entertaining. The movie gets creative with it and performs some seriously wicked choreography that is equally tense and hilarious in the long run.
Marvel’s long standing villain problem remains in Yellow Jacket, a villain that doesn’t feel necessary to the plot and is more of a means to an end. He is mainly there for there to be a face for the conflict when really taking him out could have made the movie much better. Imagine a superhero movie without a true villain but just an objective. That’s something I thought could have made the movie better.
By the end though, the results feel truly earned as we see each of the characters struggle and come to terms with who they are on this team. It feels organic and properly detached from the regular conflicts happening with the Avengers. There is a genuineness to the character that is crafted that makes him endearing to watch on screen and begs for more to be seen. While there is not a whole lot of depth to the story, it makes up for it in excellent comedy and wicked action sequences. Due to the combination of those two effortlessly blending together, I can’t wait to see more of Ant Man in the coming universe.
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