This is Paul Rudd at his comic best. The script sarcastically challenges you to actually like this film. See what you think.
Just when you think that Marvel has pushed the outside of the cinematic envelope as far as possible, along comes the surprisingly enjoyable Ant-Man. As I hoped, Paul Rudd proved that one of a Superhero’s greatest strengths can be a sense of humor.
While a lot of rumors sailed around this film prior to its release, set them aside. Yes, I made sure that I was accompanied by my “cinematic spare tire” by seeing the movie with my two teenage grandchildren, but I must confess that I liked it as much as they did. Furthermore, I challenge you to see any similar film where most of the audience constantly erupts in laughter.
Here, Rudd plays Scott Lang, a confused man just released from San Quentin who is dedicated to reestablishing his relationship with his young daughter. It doesn’t help that his ex-wife (the underused Judy Greer) is engaged to a police detective (Bobby Cannavale), and his attempts to find some type of employment is not helped when he is quickly fired at Baskin Robbins. At least they got the publicity.
Ironically, Rudd’s relationship with an ex-con buddy and his two friends produced one amusing moment after another. As they try to lure Rudd back into a life of crime, Michael Peña’s role as the team leader Luis is flat-out hysterical. If you are saying “Michael who?”, then hunt him down in Fury (2014), Cesar Chavez (as Mr. Chavez – 2014) and American Hustle (2013). Regardless, as I noted, you will seldom find yourself watching this type of film where you consistently have a smile on your face.
Michael Douglas reclaims his position as a quality actor, here playing Dr. Hank Pym. Previously having created the technology to reduce living things to the size of, well, let’s use ants as an example, he now is in a fight to keep a former associate from using the company to sell the technology to questionable Third World countries. I should note that Corey Stoll gives a great performance as Darren Cross/Yellow Jacket, the bald villain in this case, and he makes a suitable protagonist for Ant-Man.
Having been kicked out as the head of his former corporation, Mr. Douglas finds a way to draft Rudd to become his Ant-Man, and the special effects that focus on the latter’s relationship with these small creatures provides the glue that holds this film together. It involves a series of interesting encounters, including several amusing moments involving Anthony Mackie, here again playing the role of Falcon as seen in the earlier Avenger films.
In addition, this film is enormously helped by the performance of Evangeline Lilly, who plays Douglas’s attractive, hard-nosed daughter. She previously proved her worth as the destructive elf in Peter Jackson’s recent Hobbit films, and her disgust at Rudd being selected to wear the disguise that she desired is offset by her continually kicking the crap out of him as she trains him for the upcoming battle.
Furthermore, anyone left with a bit of uncertainty is fully aware that the talented Mr. Rudd has been in some really bad movies, including Year One (2009), Dinner for Schmucks (2010), Wanderlust (2012), This is 40 (2012) and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013). Nonetheless, what he achieves in Ant-Man has been previously seen in such delightful movies as Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), Role Models (2008), Our Idiot Brother (2011) and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012).
In other words, buy a ticket and take a chance. If still uneasy, rent a teenager and take him or her along. Why else do they exist?