Saturday, January 9, 2016

Movie #347: Ant-Man

Ant-Man is a comedy/superhero/heist movie starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll, Michael Pena, Bobby Cannavale, and Abby Ryder Forston. It is, of course, part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Hank Pym (Douglas) used to be a superhero called "Ant-Man," using his Pym Particle to shrink down to ant size (by, like, mucking with space between atoms or something, it's not important). But over the years, he's been forced out of his company by his protege Darren Cross (Stoll) and his estranged daughter Hope (Lilly). But now Cross has figured out the whole "how to shrink shit" thing, and is ready to release the tech to the highest bidder.

Meanwhile, Scott Lang (Rudd) is released from prison for stealing from a big corporation and giving the money back to the people they fucked over, and is trying to go straight. His ex (Judy Greer) is now married to a cop (Cannavale) and has custody of Lang's daughter Cassie (Forston), and all Scott wants is to get back into her life.

Unable to hold down a normal job, even a fast food gig, Lang agrees to his roomie Luis' (Pena) suggestion to burgle old rich guy. He winds up stealing the Ant-Man costume, and therefore getting roped into Pym's scheme to take down Cross. Along the way, he has to do battle with Falcon (Anthony Mackie) in order to grab a piece of tech Pym needs and therefore comes to the attention of the larger superhero universe.

I think this movie was a gamble for Marvel, if only because most of the buzz I heard ahead of the first trailers was "seriously?" Edgar Wright was initially attached to direct, but left the project, I can only assume because he wants such tight control over his movies that Disney said, "yeah, no." (Which is good, really, because the MCU only works with some oversight, and you can't maverick directors going and screwing with things too much - that's what happened with Age of Ultron.)

Rudd is nicely goofy and out of his depth as Lang, and Douglas is fun and crotchety as Pym. I really like Lilly in this movie, though, because she so obviously wants to follow in her father's (and her mother's, as she learns) footsteps and do some actual heroics. And, we do kinda get a payoff for that - at the end, she gets the new Wasp suit, and has the appropriate response: "It's about damn time."

Personally, if that had happened during the middle of the movie and we'd have seen Scott and Hope kicking ass as Ant-Man and the Wasp, that'd be fine. But apparently we get that in the next movie, so that's good.

I also really love Michael Pena in this movie. He's fun and excitable and kind of badass when necessary and y'know, I like enthusiasm.

My Grade: A-
Rewatch value: High

Next up: Black Swan