Amazing PR strategy and Paul Rudd aside, I tried very hard to keep my expectations for Ant Man low. It was like when you’re 7 and you’ve hinted and begged for that particular Barbie caravan with the fold down BBQ in the back and you’re 98% sure your parents are getting it for you, but you don’t want to start expecting it because then Christmas could be ruined. Even without Edgar Wright as the director (let’s not go into that), my gut told me Ant Man was going to be a winner. My parents didn’t let me down this Christmas!
Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang, an ex-cat-burglar just getting out of a 3-year stint in prison and determined to clean up his act for his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson). After finding it a challenge to keep a job with a criminal record (Baskin Robbins always finds out), Lang agrees to a new job as a burglar. Little does he know that he’s being set up by brilliant scientist Dr. Hank Pym who needs Lang to wear the Ant Man super-suit to help stop his former apprentice Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) from unlocking the atomic secrets that led to Ant-Man in the first place: the ability to shrink down to bug-size, yet maintain strength.
Paul Rudd is perfect for this role. He has a similar ‘every-man’ charm to Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy but with a slightly more mature edge and noble cause (becoming a better father for his adorable daughter Cassie). Michael Pena shows up as one of Lang’s criminal buddies ‘Luis’ and really steals every scene he’s in! Let’s just say he has a real gift for story-telling which is a refreshing delight! Corey Stoll as the villainous Darren Cross was nothing new. A crazy power-hungry scientist who seemingly has daddy-issues and needs to show his mentor Dr. Pym how much smarter he is than him. Even so, Stoll made good use of the character he was given. I really wanted to punch that guy in the face. Evangeline Lily was also an impressive and believable female lead as Dr. Pym’s ass-kicking daughter, Hope Van Dyne.
What I loved most about Hope’s relationship with Lang is that the inevitable romantic interest wasn’t shoved in your eye holes. It was subtle and used with excellent comic timing rather than forced sudden chemistry like some other films *cough* Jupiter Ascending *cough* Man of Steel *cough*. In fact most of the relationships and characters in Ant Man felt suitably ‘fleshed out’ with decent on-going character development (I even started to feel things for those darn creepy little ants).
Whether it be Paul Rudd interrupting a touching family moment or the epic final battle taking place on a Thomas the Tank Engine train set, when it comes to humour, there really is something for everyone! With many instances of perfect comic timing and few cringey one-liners, Ant Man will have the good kind of laughter induced tears springing to your eyes.