Marvel continues to add characters into its cinematic universe, this time from the Ant-Man comics. Old meets new as Scott Lang learns how to use the power of Pym Particulars and how it can change his life.
Paul Rudd plays the titular Ant-Man a Robin Hood type felon who gets a second chance when the eccentric Dr. Hank Pym offers him an offer he can’t resist. Eager to reconnect with his young daughter, Scott takes a mission to save humanity by wearing a suit that allows him to shrink and grow at will. Working with Pym and his daughter Hope, Scott must sneak into a top secret lab that has recreated the Pym Particle and has used it to create a weapon. With the help of variety of species of ants, he must steal the formal and the prototype suit made by the evil scientist.
The movie is funny but it tries to hard to be. Jokes are thrown in at odd moments, last a beat too long, or fall back onto stereotypes. Scott’s criminal buddies are pigeonholed into their respective races/nationalities with the Russian even making cracks about gypsies. While Michel Pena is funny, I hated to see him reduced to that caricature. Many of the best gags were given away in the trailer which viewers have seen many times. By the time I actually saw the movie, the Thomas Train Engine scene was no longer funny.
But the movie does have its strengths. Michael Douglas is a brilliant actor and he plays well off Rudd. It is not Douglas’ fault that the majority of the plot is predictable (at one point, my friend asks me if I had seen the movie before as I was saying lines as they came out of the actors mouths;I had not). But he did add the right amount of eccentricity, humor, and seriousness to Pym that was greatly needed.
Rudd was cast to give an everyman, human vibe as the character and he does that well. I was bothered that they made him get six pack abs for a 30 second shot of him shirtless. Rudd has never been that and that was part and his charm and why women love him. That picture clashed with the wise cracking family that he plays so well and didn’t have to be included in the film.
The best sequence revolves an encounter with a certain avenger. This scene is fun, action packed, and the essence of Marvel films. It’s over too soon but it will have long running repercussion for the movie franchise. It also deals well with its treatment of the past including the true origins of Ant-man instead of rewriting them.
Overly dependent on humor, Ant-man combines a familiar story with the dire straits of having to save the world. Ant-Man will be a great support character in the Marvel universe but he needs less time devoted to his own adventures.