Is it a plane? Is it a bird? Is it Superman? No, it’s just an ordinary guy named Scott Lang (Rudd Paul) who stole from some millionaires in a digital, Robin Hood-like way in the past and who can transform into a superhero the size of an ant by using a high-tech suit. This suit was designed by Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and reduces the distance between atoms. Thus, it’s not a spider bite or the exposure to certain radiations that created Ant-man. Is it so super hero-like, say, like Spiderman? Yes and no. I don’t think there’s need for a sequel. The overall content is a bit too … euh … I could say a bit to “little” for that. But the tongue in cheek humor then again was enjoyable. Pretty much a sort of “Guardians of the Galaxy” humor. This was already evident from the beginning with this hilarious excerpt:
“Hey, how’s your girl man?
Oh, she left me.
Yeah, my mom died too.
And my dad got deported.
But I got the van! “
Marvel keeps coming up with new action heroes. That’s no surprise since they have quite a collection after all these years. Besides the well-known superheroes like Spiderman, X-Men, Hulk, Daredevil, Blade, The Avengers and Iron Man, they recently introduced several new ones such as Guardians of the Galaxy and The Fantastic Four. And next year, they’ll add some more : Deadpool (I’m waiting impatiently for this one), Gambit and Black Panther. And now they introduce Ant-Man at the last moment. Although I’m about to succumb to a Marvel-saturation, I’m always keen to see a new super hero at work. The advantage of Ant-Man is that you don’t need to be a real Marvel freak to follow the story. And despite being one of the least-known Marvel characters (plus the critics were quite harsh), the film itself managed to be successful.
Ant-Man’s objective isn’t as grandiose as in most Marvel films. In other words there’s no need to protect earth against total annihilation or subjugation. Hank Pym uses a devious way to put Scott Lang in a dilemma so that Scott is forced to help him with the recovery of his invention. And this because of the fact that it could be used for less peaceful purposes. Not very original as you might think at first sight and yet they knew how to make it an entertaining and action-packed adaptation of a action hero comic book. Especially with the emphasis on the comical aspect. A Marvel movie you shouldn’t take too seriously. Actually, it’s a kind of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, the adult version.
Unfortunately, the storyline is pretty clichéd. Another poor devil who gets no chance in society due to a mistake and is destined to return to his criminal activities. There’s also a rising employee who filches the life’s work of his employer. And then of course there’s the inevitable confrontation between the end products of the two rivals. But Ant-Man is still an excellent film. Especially by the use of the interwoven humor (Michael Pena ensures some hilarious moments) and the superb special effects. The learning process Scott goes through to familiarize himself with the designed suit, is hilarious and splendidly visualized. The acting of Paul Rudd (who’ll always stick in my memory as Mike of the brilliant sitcom Friends) was acceptable. Although he doesn’t look like real superhero material with his puppy appearance, he succeeded in showing an ideal mix of amazement and determination. Even Michael Douglas’ performance was plausible.
Ant-Man is an action-packed, light-hearted superhero movie. Especially the end is breathtaking and filled with scenes that’ll last a lifetime. Also the various references to other Marvel heroes was original, culminating in a confrontation between Ant-Man and one of the Avengers. Whoever thinks the hilarious talking tree from Guardians of the Galaxy would be unbeatable, will have to revise his opinion after witnessing this tiny little figure that travels on the back of an ant.
Ant-Man is available now on DVD, Blu-ray and on-demand.
For more of Peter Pluymers’ movie reviews, check out My Opinion as a Movie-Freak
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television