Who said bigger is always better?
In a time when superhero movies have become all about spectacle, it’s fitting that Marvel’s smallest hero, Ant-Man, should be the one that subverts those expectations, bringing us a movie that takes a smaller look at the fantastical world Marvel Studios has so carefully built and woven together.
Now that’s not to say there isn’t that connective tissue that sets up “Ant-Man’s” protagonist Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to play a bigger role in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, because there is and in that vein Marvel delivers in my opinion two of its most intriguing after-credits scenes to date.
“Ant-Man” at its heart is a heist film in the spirit of “Ocean’s Eleven” or “The Italian Job.” Everything that Rudd’s everyman character is put through as he is exposed to a world where a shrinking man is possible is in preparation of “one last job” for the ex-convict.
Lang, who we meet on his last day of a 3-year sentence at San Quentin State Prison, is a thief, but he’s not a typical bad guy.
The crime that landed him behind bars was one of noble intentions as he tried to right the wrongs of a slimy 1-percenter trying to take advantage of his employees, but he has vowed to live on the straight-and-narrow for the sake of his young daughter.
But Lang is lured back into a life of thieving by Henry Pym (Michael Douglas), a reclusive inventor, trying to keep his discovery of a particle that can shrink matter out of the wrong hands. The man trying to weaponize the technology is Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), the man who stole Pym’s company from him.
“Ant-Man” is easily one of Marvel’s most fun movies to date.
Writer/producer Edgar Wright and director Peyton Reed put a lot of personality into this movie and a handful of great performances help elevate this movie even further.
Rudd brings to life not only one of Marvel’s most relatable characters but also one of its most likable. Rudd brings the same sarcastic style of humor to this movie that he has become known for.
Douglas also plays a great role as the wise mentor. Much of the emotional weight of the movie is put on the seasoned veteran’s shoulders and he handles it like a pro.
Evangeline Lily plays Hope van Dyne, Pym’s estranged daughter, and she adds some spunk to the lineup.
Also adding some comedic relief to the proceedings is Lang’s band of criminal friends: Luis (Michael Pena), Kurt (David Dastmalchian) and Dave (T.I.). While each of these characters get a chance to get some laughs out of the audience, It’s Pena who really shines. If not for the strong performances of Rudd, Douglas and Lilly, Pena could have easily been the break-out star of this film.
As far as performances go, the one low-point is Stoll, but it’s not his fault. The villainous Cross just isn’t that interesting. Sure, he’s menacing, but he never really feels like a fully-realized character.
Despite that, “Ant-Man” works. It’s a fun movie that adds a little different spin to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“Ant-Man” is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence. It is currently playing at both the Elite Cinema III located inside the Branson IMAX Entertainment Complex and at the Branson Meadows Cinema.
At the Elite Cinema III “Ant-Man” is playing in 2D at 11:30 a.m., 2:15 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. and in 3D at 4:40 p.m. and 9:45 p.m.
At the Branson Meadows Cinema, 2D showtimes are 12:15, 5 and 10 p.m., while 3D showtimes are 2:40 and 7:30 p.m.