Honey, I Shrunk the Avenger: Marvel's Ant-Man (REVIEW)
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
Sometimes the biggest hero, can come in the smallest package. Marvel’s Ant-Man marks the MCU debut of the incredible shrinking hero. Featuring an all-star cast; including Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, and Corey Stoll. Centered around Scott Lang (Rudd), a down on his luck ex-con with a heart of gold. After getting out of prison, unable to hold down a job, he’s denied visitation to see his daughter and he turns back to a life of crime to score that one big job. This of course doesn’t go according to plan, when this simple job turns out to be an interview of sorts orchestrated by Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas), the original Ant-Man.
Dr. Hank Pym developed an experimental suit that allowed the wearer to shrink down to the size of an insect while still retaining the strength of a full grown man. After Dr. Pym’s company is taken over by his onetime protegé Darren Cross (Stoll) he employs Scott’s help to break in and steal a potentially dangerous technology based on his Pym particles. Helping them along the way is Hank’s estrange daughter Hope van Dyne (Lilly) and three of Scott’s ex con buddies (played by Michael Peña, David Dastmalchian, and hip-hop recording artist T.I.) who arguably have some of the funniest lines among the supporting cast.
This is where Ant-Man stands out above the formulaic superhero flicks. At its core, this is an action comedy. While from the outside looking in, it can seem like a paint-by-numbers heist flick, this is the film’s strongest trait. I love it when a superhero flick can stray from being derivative of everything else that came before. Much like how Guardians of the Galaxy took an inspired take on modern superhero cinema, Ant-Man does the same by being as different from the Iron Mans and Captain Americas of the world.
Straying from the standard three part narrative, Ant-Man does a great job keeping the viewer guessing. The ongoing dynamic between father and daughter is evident throughout the entire flick. Scott desperately wants to prove to everyone that he is every bit the hero his daughter sees in him, and Dr. Hank Pym greatly wants to close the distance between him and his daughter after years of estrangement after his wife’s death. Some of the most heart-warming moments were scenes shared between both generations of father and daughter.
From start to finish, Ant-Man stayed exciting, funny, charming, and incredibly enjoyable. Translating Ant-Man’s incredible shrinking abilities from the pages of comics to live action worked well, and though taking place in the same universe as the rest of the MCU, none of the references to the greater MCU felt forced or contrived. From Dr. Hank Pym’s involvement with S.H.I.E.L.D. to facing off against a familiar Avenger, all those scenes just flowed well with the overarching heist-story of the picture.
Make sure to stick past the credits for some future teases to Scott Lang’s continued involvement with the MCU. Initially, I was a bit skeptical of Paul Rudd’s casting. I love Paul Rudd as much as the next guy, but he never struck me as the “superheroing” type. But hey, if Mark Ruffalo can be a damn near perfect Bruce Banner, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man can work… and work it did. Call me a believer, Paul Rudd is the perfect Ant-Man.