Director: Peyton Reed
Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Michael Peña
Synopsis: Forced out of his own company by former protégé Darren Cross, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) recruits the talents of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a master thief just released from prison.
Lang becomes Ant-Man, trained by Pym and armed with a suit that allows him to shrink in size, possess superhuman strength and control an army of ants.
The miniature hero must use his new skills to prevent Cross, also known as Yellowjacket, from perfecting the same technology and using it as a weapon for evil.
Marvel takes its biggest gamble yet with Ant-Man. Not seen since the days of 2008 with the first Iron Man, Ant-Man is a long shot character who by no means is considered a bankable win. Much like the original Iron Man film, the rest is history. It started the firmly established Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that fans know today. With Ant-Man, Marvel not only decides to take a chance on the smallest Avenger, they do it with a character who isn’t even the marquee original while simultaneously rounding out Phase II of the MCU.
Ant-Man is a retreat to simplicity and the telling of a straight forward story. It still has the bells and whistles like the rest of the films within the MCU, but it stays true to telling the story it’s meant to within the allotted 2-hour run time. Some of the problems with the more recent MCU films, such as Avengers: Age of Ultron, is that they got away from the core story of the film and focused unnecessarily on setting up the next film within the sequence.
With all of that being said, Ant-Man still fits into the wider MCU as a whole. The film is a fresh and re-assuring step back as it tells a story on a smaller scale, while the bigger implications still linger in the background. After seeing the movie, it makes sense that Ant-Man is better as a book end to Phase II rather than kick start Phase III.
With the film going through the production hell it did, being caught up in pre production hell for years and eventually losing Edgar Wright to the project, it’s a miracle that Ant-Man turned out as good as it did. A large part of that has to be credited to both director Peyton Reed and actor Paul Rudd – Two individuals that stepped in to make the story feel like it never misses a beat while ingeniously bringing one of Marvel’s oldest superheroes to the big screen.
The dynamic with Michael Douglas as Hank Pym and Paul Rudd as Scott Lang is excellent. At its core, Ant-Man is a story about the handing of the torch to the next generation of superhero while the older generation steps aside. The fact that it works so well without ever seeing the prior generation on screen is a testament to the writing and direction of the film. Through a few flashback sequences, the audience gets a glimpse at some of the adventures of Hank Pym as Ant-Man, potentially opening a door for a short run mini series similar to Agent Carter if ever desired.
Ant-Man is a refreshing re-start for the MCU and shows that a small individual story can still work in the greater game. The references to past films and adventures, with obvious future set ups, are still all there but not as in your face as some previous films. This allowed Ant-Man to be such an enjoyable movie to watch without all of the fuss and responsibility to pay homage to every single character on the screen.
In the end. when the credits roll, be sure to stay in your set for both a mid credit sequence and after credit reveal into where the MCU is going next.
Ant-Man hits theaters July 17, 2015!