Ant-Man inserts yet another Marvel character into its ever growing stable of superheroes. Paul Rudd — who helps write — stars as Scott Lang, a most-excellent and just released from prison cat burglar desperate to find work and reconnect with a daughter who adores him.
He can do neither, which leads him back into crime and a shot at a one-time safe-cracking killing. The heist — it turns out — is a set-up. Michael Douglas’ Dr. Henry Pym — the original Ant-Man from an era gone by — admires Lang’s criminal skills and needs Lang to break into his former company’s headquarters.
The goal is to stop a former colleague and friend from perfecting his invention and using it for military purposes and, ultimately, evil.
Rudd (TV’s Parks’ and Recreation) helped co-write Ant-Man with Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish and Adam McKay who between them helped pen Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, Shaun of the Dead, The Adventures of Tintin and Get Hard. It’s a talented lineup that produces a laugh-filled, tongue-in-cheek script that let’s director Peyton Reed ( The Break-Up) have some serious fun with the characters and the special effects.
Equally good is the casting. Few actors are more charismatic or easier to like than Rudd. He’s surrounded by an equally excellent supporting cast. Douglas is Rudd’s straight man and he shines. Sharing the straight man duties is a dark and lovely Evangeline Lilly ( The Hobbit) who plays Pym’s daughter and confidant who has ties to Corey Stoll’s (TV’s The Strain) even darker and ultimately dangerous villain.
Comic relief comes from Rudd and his Ant-Man training from Lilly and Douglas’ characters and Reed’s clever and believable animated ants, and Michael Pena, T.I. and David Dastmalchian, who are Lang’s bumbling criminal associates.
Ant-Man may be a small character, but his movie looms large and ranks with Iron Man as one of the best-ever Marvel movie offerings. Unlike the seemingly two-dimensional movie offerings of his superhero cousins, Ant-Man is a warm, witty, three-dimensional, big-screen introduction of a fascinating character.
Even better, no cities, countries or planets are destroyed in the process. A few bugs bite the dust, but nothing is easy in a bug’s life.