“Ant Man” seems like a stand alone superhero effort at first, but it fits comfortably in the pegs of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It also introduces us to a wonderful superhero who, by all logic, should not have translated in to such a great film. Surely enough, with a script by Edgar Wright (and various others) and an excellent cast (including a welcome Hispanic presence), “Ant Man” is one of the best adaptations of Marvel’s Phase Two in their Cinematic Universe. Like every hero in the Marvel Universe, “Ant-Man” is just an average man thrust in to great circumstances, and he has to earn his stripes as a crime fighter while overcoming his own flaws and insecurities.
Scott Lang is an ex-convict and once master thief who has finally been released from prison and is hell bent on living a straight life. He is anxious to get back to his long lost daughter and become a part of her life, but is constantly tempted to go on one last heist by his trio of ex-convicts and roommates, all of whom are sure the next big thing will ensure a huge payday. After being fired from a job at Baskin Robbins, Scott accidentally breaks in to the house of Hank Pym, and discovers his top secret suit. Said suit allows him to shrink to the size of an ant. After returning the suit thanks to a horrific experience, Scott is arrested yet again and is told by Pym that his discovery of the suit was by no means an accident. Local scientist and rival Darren Cross is desperate to duplicate the Pym Particle, a top secret fuel that allows its user to become small with the use of high tech suit.
Pym recruits Lang to break in to his old laboratory and destroy all evidence of the Particle, all with the help of his suit, and a large colony of ants. Pym is convinced Cross is going to use the scientific breakthrough for pure evil, and he may not be wrong. “Ant-Man” manages to balance its implementation of science fiction, comedy, and action wonderfully, depicting its hero as a flawed individual capable of greatness thanks to serendipity. Paul Rudd’s turn as Lang is memorable as he plays the character with enough affability to make him charming. Rudd carries the spirit of the character well, painting him as sympathetic and likable, even when getting himself in to trouble. His turn as Ant-Man is also exciting with his experience communicating with ants, and using the suit as a means of conducting his own form of arm to arm combat that allows for a lot of exciting action sequences.
Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lily are also fantastic as Lang’s mentors, both of whom must keep Lang on the straight and narrow, while also confronting their own personal demons in the process. The film is aided by a great supporting cast including Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Pena, and Tip Harris, while Corey Stoll is right at home as slimy Darren Cross whose own aspirations to steal Pym’s technology could result in the birth of another megalomaniac. Peyton Reed’s “Ant-Man” is one of the most unique and off the wall adaptations of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s also one of the most original superhero movies ever made. It functions well as a comedy, and light hearted fantasy, while channeling the spirit of classic Marvel tropes of the underdog, redemption, and the construction of an avenger.