TALES TO ASTONISH!
Where Avengers: Age of Ultron was a big movie with sweeping scale, Ant-Man, the final film in Phase 2 of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, reins the story in – and not just because of its hero’s size. And it’s better for it, offering a superhero tale that stands alone and offers a fresh face rather than another Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Spider-man, Wolverine, Batman… I could go on. Not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with seeing more of these characters, but it really is refreshing to enjoy something new executed on the big screen and brought to life with the marvelous polish that we’ve come to know and love.
Peyton Reed (Yes Man) has done an incredible job, stepping in for Edgar Wright (The World’s End, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) to direct the picture. Wright still receives co-writer’s credit, and his knack for comedic timing still shines through the witty dialogue and clever story turns. The plot centres on Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), an ex-con who is trying to go straight to rekindle his relationship with his young daughter. Struggling to keep an honest job however, Lang is headhunted by inventor Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to take on the mantle of Ant-Man in order to perform a groundbreaking heist.
Pym wants Hank to steal a new and dangerous technology from Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), Pym’s former protégé who has replicated Pym’s own ‘Pym Particle’ – which powers the Ant-Man suit and allows the wearer to shrink in size and simultaneously increase speed and strength. Pym fears Cross, who is mentally unstable and plans to sell the technology with his ‘Yellowjackets’, modern versions of the Ant-Man suit, to the highest bidder.
Driven by his desire to be seen as a hero by his daughter, and steered by Pym, Lang is trained by Pym’s daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) to become Ant-Man. At the same time, Lang enlists the help of some former associates in planning and executing the elaborate heist. It all builds to a thrilling climax where the fate of the world, for once, doesn’t hang in the balance. This is a story that takes place on a smaller, more personal level – and not just because of the size of its hero. It ultimately works wonders in separating Ant-Man from the bombast of his peers, even if it does take 20 minutes or so to kick into gear.
A welcome addition to the Marvel universe, Ant-Man features likeable, memorable characters and a story that stands alone while containing a number of seamless tie-ins to the wider Marvel mythos. With broad appeal (it’s great fun for families!), expert comedic timing and genius action and gags that take full advantage of its hero’s size-changing abilities, Ant-Man stands tall.