SYNOPSIS: The next evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings a founding member of The Avengers to the big screen for the first time with Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man.” Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
Above all, Ant-Man proves that Marvel isn't a one-hit wonder, but rather a viable and sustainable entity that seems to churn out hit after hit. This flick in particular is something entirely different from the others before it, but works entirely within that world and realm that Marvel has painted for us over the years. And that's pretty exciting, given that it presents us with all of the common threads of the genre: the hero/anti-hero seeking redemption/retribution, the wacky cast of supporting characters and an intricate plot that isn't overly complex, while giving fans all of the action and humor they have come to expect from the Marvel.
Simply put, Ant-Man appears to be a heist movie on its surface, and at the core of this story is family, specifically fathers and daughters, and the things fathers will do to ensure no harm will come to their children. We get all the snarky and witty one-liners we've all come to expect from “Rom-Com” superstar Paul Rudd (Anchorman 2, 2013) in his Scott Lang portrayal, but his desire to provide for and simply be there for his young daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) is so heartfelt that it demands you cheer for his redemption. It’s not just another comic book-based adventure, but more like a caper comedy masquerading as a superhero flick. It’s one that has the sense to not take itself the least bit serious, though it does treat the material with respect and homage to its comic book roots. I submit that it’s the same approach that made 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” an unexpected and pleasant surprise. Ant-Man doesn’t quite hit the insane heights of Robert Downey’s “Iron Man,” but it’s still refreshingly absurd and smartly done in tongue-in-cheek.
Though there’s a definite passing resemblance to the basic plot of the first Iron Man movie, Ant-Man seems a bit more accessible; Rudd is Robert Downey Jr. without the tiresome flattery, and while Tony Stark may be the billionaire playboy superhero philanthropist whom we fantasize about being, Scott Lang is the scruffy underdog we can all identify with. His awkward triangle with Hope and Dr. Pym lends some gravitas to the story, as does the theme of strained family ties in the form of Pym’s relationships with Hope and Cross, and Lang’s with his ex-wife Maggie (Judy Greer) and daughter Cassie.
Overall, Ant-Man acknowledges its Marvel Cinematic Universe connections in a way that is sure to please fans and newcomers to the genre, alike. It is definitely a must see in theaters and deserves four and a half out of five stars to its credit.
By Movi-Man Stan
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