Ant-Man review: Paul Rudd's tiny superhero is a big entertainer (video)
When you are going to watch a film called Ant-Man that has had more than its fair share of production hassles, it pays to keep your expectations real tiny. You can then let the comic timings of Paul Rudd entertain you, watch Michael Douglas as an anti-Gekko and all-saint, get diverted by Peyton Reed's gag-a-minute direction and genuinely enjoy the few moments that even this spandex-superhero flick offers you.
As its tiniest superhero who will eventually become a part of Avengers, Ant-Man is a worthy addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). In fact, after the hyper Avengers: Age of Ultron, its in-jokes and self deprecating humour are quite charming.
A Meta commentary it is not, instead watch it as a breezy affair that will give you your money's worth for two hours. And to a large extent, the credit for this goes to Rudd who plays Scott Lang aka Ant-Man at a key below what we are used to. As a loser-turned-superhero, Rudd seems to be in on the ridiculousness of the premise and plays it brilliantly.
When questioned about the name Ant-Man, he shrugs and says, "Yeah, I know. Not my idea." Or when he is told that the world as we know it may end and he is offered superhero-hood, Lang's sage advice is, "I think our first move should be calling the Avengers." It is moments like these that make Ant-Man more than just glue that binds the MCU together.
Rudd's Lang is a Robinhood-hacker who used to work for a company which was bilking its investors. He steals from the company and returns money to the poor investors and lands up in jail for his efforts. A reformed thief now, he cannot make a life for himself and loses contact with his only daughter. In steps reclusive scientist-former CEO Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) who once invented a technology that can shrink humans and spent the rest of his life keeping the suit away from prying eyes.
His life's work cannot stay a secret anymore as his protégé-turned-megalomaniac Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) is on to him and wants to sell the tech to the highest bidder (which, by the way, may or may not be Hydra). He offers Lang a chance at redemption -- Pym and his estranged daughter Hope come together to train Lang, help him interact with various kinds of ants that Pym has already trained and throw a punch.
His job is to steal an Ant-Man-style suit that Cross has already developed and suggestively named Yellowjacket. Teaming up with the trio are Lang's crew -- comprising Michael Pena, TI and David Dastmalchian - who are good for more than a few laughs.
For all its comic worth, this is a superhero film at the end of the day and Marvel doesn't want you to forget it. As Pym describes the 'serious science' powering his suit, he terms Iron-Man suit "cute". An Avenger also makes an appearance and, well, gets his backside kicked. Stark Enterprises get more than a few mentions. However, nothing is so forced that Marvel-virgins will have a difficulty following the film.
Reed was a late entrant on the project after the film's original director and scriptwriter Edgar Wright walked out over creative differences. However, Reed manages to offer you a better film than Joss Whedon's mildly disappointing Age of Ultron.
The fact that we are dealing with a superhero and his arch-nemesis who can be swatted away by a badminton paddle keeps things in perspective. An 'ant hero' cuts the superhero imagery to size. Rudd and team are not taking his Earth-saving abilities seriously and neither should you. This one is a summer blockbuster that should be treated as such.