Ant ManThe latest addition to the Marvel universe comes from a comic I didn’t expect them to make into a film with the addition of Ant-Man. I collected this one as a kid too and enjoyed the adventures of Ant-Man and Wasp, so this film was a pleasant surprise when I heard it was being made. The film turned out to be a solid superhero film with some great action, a well written story and tight performances from the cast…

Dr. Hank Pym (the original Ant-Man played by Michael Douglas) is retired now and has passed the reigns of his company on to his protege’ who has less-than-honorable motivations for the future. Pym has kept his shrinking technology that gave Ant-Man his power a secret because of what he fears it could unleash in the wrong hands. Darren Cross (portrayed by Corey Stoll from House of Cards) has discovered some of Pym’s notes and has tapped into the technology with the hopes of selling it to the highest bidder, which in this case turns out to be Hydra. So yes, Ant-Man is tying in with the rest of the Marvel universe with references to the Avengers, Iron Man and Captain America along with an appearance from Falcon.

The story is entertaining and well written with one of the writing credits going to Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, etc.) who was also supposed to originally direct the film as well. Word has it that Wright’s vision didn’t line up with Marvel’s so he decided not to stay on the film which is a shame as his style would’ve really been interesting to see applied to this movie. Peyton Reed directs and does a fine job but doesn’t have the flair that Wright does so Wright stepping down was a bit of a disappointment for me.

The effects and design are great. The miniaturizing scenes are well-crafted and look believable even when Ant-Man is leading a charge of an army of ants during his various assaults. Among the things that make this film entertaining are the battles between Ant-Man and nemesis Yellowjacket (aka Darren Cross) when they’re both shrunk down and interacting with the scene around them. The scenes are full of action but with some comedic moments thrown in that make this movie a lot of fun to watch.

The acting is tight. Paul Rudd is the lead as Scott Lang whose smarmy style of acting fits the film and the character well. Evangeline Lily turns in an intense performance as Pym’s emotionally distant daughter while Stoll does a fine job as the menacing Yellowjacket. It’s good to see Michael Douglas in pretty much anything he does. The talented cast is rounded out by Judy Greer, Michael Pena, Hayley Attwell, John Slattery, Anthony Mackie and Bobby Cannavale.

If you enjoy superhero films, take a look at Ant-Man.

reviewed by Sean McKnight