“I believe everyone deserves a shot at redemption. Do you?” asks Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). “Absolutely. My days of breaking into places and stealing sh*t are over. What do you want me to do?” replies Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). “I want you to break into a place and steal some sh*t,” answers Pym who has just helped Scott sneak out of jail by using his old, very special suit in the science-fiction action film, Ant-Man.
Scott Lang is a talented burglar attempting to start fresh and go straight after getting out of prison. His motivation: to be a real father to his young daughter. Unfortunately, no companies are willing to hire Scott with a felony on his record. He does manage to get a job at a Baskin Robbins, but when his manager finds out about his conviction he lets him go. Desperate to make some money fast so he can get his own place (and finally get visitation rights), Scott teams up with his old buddy, Luis (Michael Pena), to pull a burglary job. Successfully getting into an old mansion where they believe the owner is away for a week, Scott is able to break into both a sealed room with a lock which can only be opened with a finger print of the owner and a very old safe. To Scott’s surprise, all that’s in the safe is an old weird-looking suit and helmet.
The next day, Scott is playing with the suit, tries it on, and shockingly ends up shrinking himself down to the size of a bug. He hears a voice inside the helmet telling him this is a test and it will be interesting to see how he does. Scott manages to avoid drowning in a bathtub – which is where he accidentally shrunk himself – fends off a rat, and finally manages to bring himself back to his normal size. It turns out that the whole heist was planned by Dr. Pym who needs Scott to help him and his daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly), stop Hank’s old protégé from creating a newer and deadlier version of his original suit for mass production and sell to the highest bidder. With the use of the suit Scott can shrink down in size while increasing his strength. That allows him to control ants and use them as his own little army to help in the heist. It’s up to Scott, with Pym’s mentoring and Hope’s training, to master the suit and the ants and pull off the biggest heist of his career to help save the world from certain chaos.
Funny and creative, Ant-Man is surprisingly entertaining and has some true laugh out loud moments. Paul Rudd is perfect as Scott, the burglar with a heart of gold who not only wants to be a good dad to his daughter but deep down wants to be the hero she believes he already is. He brings to the role a solid mixture of humor and likability. Michael Douglas shines as Dr. Hank Pym, Scott’s mentor and creator of the original suit who fears in the wrong hands his secrets and technology spell certain doom for the world. He brings both an emotional depth and feeling to the film as well as still being as cool as ever. Evangeline Lilly, best known for her role as “Kate” in Lost, is lovely and tough as Hope, the distrustful, judgmental daughter of Hank’s who would rather be wearing the suit and doing the heist herself instead of training Scott. She and Rudd have solid chemistry as she at first beats him up in training sessions and finally, after realizing he’s in for the long haul, begins actually teaching him how to fight and command the ants.
However, the real scene-stealer in the film is Michael Pena as Luis, Scott’s best friend and the second thief with a good heart. He’s comic relief in a film which already has plenty of laughs, and he upstages everyone including Michael Douglas. His scenes during the big heist are hilarious and he raises the film up to an even higher enjoyment level.
The action and special effects are top-notch, reminiscent of the effects in the Honey I Shrunk the Kids films but improved. Ant-Man also has the most original train fight scene put up on the screen. With solid laughs, fun action scenes, and a little bit of heart, Ant-Man is a worthy addition to the Marvel movie universe and shouldn’t be missed.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence
Running Time: 117 minutes
Directed by: Peyton Reed
Theatrical Release Date: July 17, 2015
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