Producers: Marvel Studios, distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Runtime: 117 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13
EE Critic Score: 8/10
Ant-man is the final installment in the second phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is by far the funniest of the MCU movies, and overall one of the better ones.
The main plot of the movie is that retired ’80s super hero Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) is pitted against his protege (Corey Stoll), who attempts to use Pym’s growing/shrinking technology in military applications, which would destabilize all world governments. Pym enlists the reluctant help of his daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and of cat burglar/electrical engineer Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to keep this from happening.
Lang is an ex-con trying to live lawfully and live up to the heroic image his young daughter has of him. He is roped into Pym’s plan when Pym sets him up to steal the Ant-Man suit from Pym’s basement safe. This scene foreshadows the movie’s development into possibly the first superhero heist movie.
This is to be the MCU’s last origin story. Spider-man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, the Inhumans–all of these are simply going to be introduced as existing in the universe. We get a taste of this idea in Ant-Man, which, while dedicating the better part of the movie to Scott Lang’s becoming Ant-Man, simply presents Hank Pym’s history as Ant-Man as a historical given.
The performances given, even those of minor characters, are quite good. Michael Douglas’s Hank Pym is the first realistic performance of a scientific genius-type superhero I’ve seen on the screen: not a stock nerd nor a wealthy playboy with more money than apparent intelligence. I could tell, though, that this movie changed writers mid-development when I watched Rudd and Stoll as the main hero and villain. Scott Lang is portrayed as either a career cat burglar or an engineer who committed a single revenge burglary against his boss, depending on the scene.
Stoll’s Darren Cross seems motivated to please his mentor by bringing his technology to market, despite Pym frequently voicing his wishes that the tech stay dead and buried. In fact, Cross is another in a long line of rather boring Marvel villains. (Fox owns Doctor Doom and Magneto, which doesn’t help. Hopefully Norman Osborne will be put to good use in the upcoming Spider-Man films.) But those are complaints I only had while thinking back to find complaints. They are nit-picks. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, as did everyone sitting in the theater. Unless you specifically dislike the Marvel Franchise, I would recommend it to you.