Ant-Man is the latest addition to the ever expanding marvel cinematic universe and one that was not on most people’s radar. The other marvel movie that came out this year was Avengers: Age of Ultron and I was not impressed by the sequel as I have become desensitized to the endless amount of action and world destruction that are expected from these comic book movies. Ant-Man is a departure from recent marvel movie releases as it is in a much smaller scale, pun intended, and the stakes aren’t that high compared to Guardians of the Galaxy or Avengers. This movie is more of a classic heist movie than it is a superhero movie and it is a standout in the marvel cinematic universe because it is absolutely hilarious, more so than Guardians of the Galaxy which was a great success in 2014. In the opening scene, we see a digitally de-aged Micheal Douglas at a meeting about his shrinking tech invention and it’s set in the late 80s. The crew responsible for de-aging Micheal Douglas in this movie are the same people that shrunk Chris Evans in the first Captain America movie and the results are very impressive. Douglas plays Hank Pym, a mad scientist who has kept the secret to his shrinkage formula (The Pym particle) from S.H.I.E.L.D for two decades.
Our main character Scott is played by comedian Paul Rudd and he joins Chris Pratt in the list of comedians who are taking leading roles in comic book movies. Scott is a small time crook who in the beginning of the movie is released from prison and he has a daughter who lives with his ex wife who is engaged to a cop. Hank Pym recruits Scott as the new Ant-Man given his breaking in skills; Hank believes he is the ideal man for the job. Paul Rudd is likable and relatable as a superhero and Micheal Douglas is fantastic as Hank. Evangeline Lilly plays Hank’s daughter and she has great chemistry with Paul Rudd. The villain of this movie is Darren Cross who is played by Corey Stoll who is mostly known for his role in the Netflix series House of Cards and Midnight in Paris, in the later he plays Ernest Hemingway to perfection. The action sequences are fantastic as we see Scott shrink to the size of an insect accompanied by his ant army who respond to Scott’s orders from a controller on his helmet. These action scenes are also funny especially when the camera pans out during the microscopically detailed fight scenes, there is humor in how insignificant and non-existent these fight scenes can look from the perspective of a normal sized human. The attention to detail is incredible, one scene involving a final battle between the hero and the villain happens in a briefcase dropped from a helicopter in which Scott accidentally activates SIRI; Daren says “I am going to disintegrate you!” and SIRI opens a song of the same title by The Cure and it was a fitting score for the battle.
Let’s talk about Michael Pena who plays Luis in the film, he is Scott’s closest friend and ex -cellmate who tries to get Scott back into his cat burglary ways as soon as he is released from prison. The notorious Luis went to prison for stealing not one, but two smoothie machines as he proudly corrects Evangeline Lilly’s character when she mentions his past in one scene. Pena steals every scene he is in and his character was initially a very small part of the film but since the people involved in making Ant-Man loved the character of Luis, they ended up giving him more screen time and he is the unsung hero of this movie. The character of Luis was based on Michael Pena’s cousin; the character is pure comedic gold every time he is on screen and Pena adopts this persona with ease which is impressive for someone who mostly does Drama. The movies in which he stood out before this movie came out were End of watch and Crash, the later went on to win the Oscar for best picture that year. Needless to say this movie has heart and follows a standard plot device through Scott’s relationship with his daughter which later pays off in the third act. Ant-Man is action packed while equally packing the laughs consistently throughout the entire movie, and is one of the best times I have had watching a comic book movie in a while. (8.5/10)