It’s a shame that Spider-Man is Marvel’s most recognisable character because ants are by far my favourite insect. Huh? What’s that? Spiders aren’t insects? Bah, shut up. No one likes a smart aleck. Anyways, for those of you who don’t know Ant-Man (Hank Pym) is a superhero that can shrink in size and command bugs to do his bidding. Back in the eighties Pym retired from public life, as he feared that the tech responsible for his powers could fall into the wrong hands. Twenty years later Pym gets word that his protégée Darren Cross has designed a suit capable of turning soldiers into deadly Lilliputians. Cross plans to sell his invention to some unsavoury characters, so it falls on Pym to steal the suit before the transaction can be finalized. Hank is however too old for this shit.
Like an elderly Bruce Wayne passing the mantle of Batman to Terry McGinnis, crotchety Hank Pym needs to find some new blood to don his Ant-Man jumpsuit. He sets his sights on a thief named Scott Lang, who has previously served time for breaking into Vista Corp’s high security headquarters. Making the protagonist a common criminal may be controversial, but the writers succeed in portraying Lang as a charismatic rogue. Not only is Scott a loving father, but it’s also revealed that the heist he committed was justified. Like a modern day Robin Hood, Lang broke into Vista Corp to refund monies that the company had been covertly siphoning away from unsuspecting clients. Man, where was this guy when Barclays pickpocketed my account with sneaky bank charges?
The movie’s final act sees the new Ant-Man infiltrate Cross’ empire with the aims of pilfering his prototype Yellow Jacket suit and purging all research data pertaining to the project. Before that Pym coaches Lang in the intricacies of height manipulation and ant warfare. The training montage in question is rather humorous, even by Marvel standards. No surprise given that funny man director Edgar Wright was the chap who championed an Ant-Man live action film in the first place. Wright didn’t helm the movie himself though, after severing ties with Marvel over creative differences. That’s the same reason a furious Ed Norton cited for leaving the role of Bruce Banner. Don’t make Norton angry. You wouldn’t like him when he is angry.
My rating for Ant-Man is a four out of five. Despite focusing exclusively on superheroes I like how Marvel Studios make their movies feel distinct. Ant-Man for example is more of a heist caper than a traditional costumed vigilante tale. Much of the film’s comedy revolves around the banter Hank and Scott share. Paul Rudd (Lang) delivers the wisecracks whilst Michael Douglas (Pym) plays the duo’s sarcastic straight man. Thanks to Ant-Man’s stature altering talents the action sequences are like nothing I have ever seen before. One showdown takes place inside a briefcase for instance and the movie’s finale sees Lang trade blows with Cross atop a Thomas the Tank Engine toy. Gripes! I don’t think the Fat Controller would approve of that behaviour.
Speaking of Darren Cross, the follicly challenged villain lamentably fits into the underdeveloped Marvel antagonist mould. The writers do however succeed in making Cross a despicable prick that you want to hate. Not only does he experiment on cute lambs, but he also murders a beloved sidekick later on in the film. Corey Stoll wasn’t given much material to work with, but still did a decent job playing the bald evil entrepreneur. Where was this guy when Lex was being cast in Batman versus Superman? Anyways, overall I had a great time watching Ant-Man. Not bad given that a hero who talks to insects sounds goofy. If they made this work maybe Aquaman, who talks to fishes, will be okay too? You must admit that communicating with dolphins is a lame power. Huh? What? Dolphins aren’t fish? Grrr. What did I say earlier about being a know it all?