Who knew Paul Rudd would make such a fantastic action star?
In Marvel’s new franchise Ant-Man, Paul Rudd and cast don’t disappoint. I saw a screening when I was in Los Angeles in early June and all I kept thinking was “my son would LOVE this movie”. It has just enough action to hold interest without being heavy, enough comedy to make you laugh, and the chemistry between the stars is palpable.
Is Ant-Man for kids? I think so. My son is 5 and i know he’s going to love it. It’s not super scary, there aren’t really any bad words, and there isn’t any gore. Not a speck of blood with the exception of the shirtless-Paul-Rudd scene where he is tending to a wound.
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.
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll, Michael Pena, David Dastmalchian, T.I.
I am not usually one for action films, but Ant-Man is an exception. I found that the story was singular, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing; thinking about it as an introduction to Ant-Man as a character it worked well to have very little subplots. Think about it – the first Iron Man was the same way – an introduction to Tony Stark. I wouldn’t expect the second installment of the series (yet to be announced, but I am sure is inevitable) to have more twists and turns, much like other Marvel movies.
Rudd, Lilly, and Douglas play their roles well. Rudd has just enough comedic timing and humor that it doesn’t play as a comedy in the slightest, there are some great zingers in there though. Lilly is of course beautiful, but looking at her past body of work she is a natural at her craft. As Hope Van Dyne she expertly plays the girl-power “I can do it better than you” (and often does) card right with some great eye-rolls, intense action, and an obvious ability to stand on her own next to Hank Pym and Scott Lang. Michael Douglas – an icon in his field – plays Dr. Hank Pym. It’s hard to see that role going to anyone else. I can’t see Dr. Pym as having anything else but the grainy Douglas voice I instantly loved over 30 years ago in Romancing the Stone. Corey Stoll plays Darren Cross with that bad guy attitude but you can see that glint of a desire for acceptance for his father figure Pym. Like a little boy just trying to please his dad. Supporters Judy Greer and Bobby Cannavale have their own great moments as well.
The ones to watch for? Michael Pena, David Dastmalchian, and T.I.. Watching these three (who call their personas “the antourage”) is like watching a rubber ball bounce around in an empty box – your mind is shooting from one to another because of their great lines and characters. Pena has an eager to help, eager to please look at life, even though his character Luis has been in and out of jail, constantly getting into trouble, he has a puppy-dog-positive outlook. He also shows snippets of his affections when he tells a story (his storytelling is EPIC) – Luis has a penchant for fine wine and art. Dastmalchian’s character Kurt is a polar opposite – deliberately monotone, serious, and wants to do his job which he does well. T.I.’s character David seems like even though he has his own set of skills he is really along for the ride (and the waffles).
The story starts out as Dr. Pym getting pulled out of his own company because many think of his as a “crazy scientist” who created this top-secret shrinking suit than most think doesn’t exist. Darren Cross (Stoll) is his successor and knows that the Ant-Man suit is not a work of fiction and tries for most of his life to replicate it. Although he can shrink things down, they turn to a mushy goo as his formula isn’t perfected. Then it is and he creates the Yellowjacket suit. Pym sees that his intentions are not good and enlists the help of ex-con Scott Lang, an expert burglar, to steal the suit and save the world through an elaborate scheme.
One note – there is not one but TWO after credit scenes. You need to stay until the very end, after all credits have rolled to get a glimpse of the future of Ant-Man. Also keep an eye out for crossed Marvel wires as there are new Avengers story lines in production that are eluded to in Ant-Man.