Ant-Man (2015) - MCU's Littlest Hero is Funny and Smart
Marvel has been something of a must-see-all-the-stuff franchise for me. In fact, I think their R-rated addition may be the first in the MCU that I’m not at all interested in seeing. This is why waiting as long as I did to see last year’s introduction to their newest (and smallest) hero was something of a surprise.
Second chances aren’t something Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is willing to bet his life on. He’s had a few too many chances already and it’s time he cleans up his act. This is driven primarily by the fact that he has a daughter, Cassie, who needs to know she can be proud of the father she loves. As a professional burglar – the best in the business, Scott is working hard to distance himself from that life, but with a record, not many will hire him. Even Baskin Robbins doesn’t believe he’s reformed. Add in the fact that his roommate (and best friend) is also a career criminal and he has an uphill battle ahead of him.
Despite his promise to be done with that life, circumstances corner Scott nudging him to pull the job his friends have been nagging him to join. Only when he gets to the safe that has been promised to be full of cash, there is nothing but a suit. Turns out it isn’t an ordinary suit. After some tampering, Scott discovers it has the ability to turn him into a miniscule human being… which scares the heck out of him and causes him to do the one thing he’s never done: promptly return what he’s stolen.
He’s caught and arrested where he’s offered the chance to wipe the slate clean by Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) who turns out to be the man Scott robbed. Stepping up to be a hero may have risk involved, but it also may be Scott’s only chance at a relationship with the daughter he loves.
If ever someone were to ask which Marvel film was the least “intense” or in a more likely scenario, the funniest, without question the answer would have to be Ant-Man. Perhaps I’m remembering wrong or maybe if I’d go back and rewatch some of the films that I’ve not seen in recent years I’d change my mind. That said, I cannot remember another MCU title making me laugh THIS much. Ant-Man had me in such stiches there were tears streaming down my face. As I’m writing this and thinking back over some of the earlier Marvel movies, perhaps saying this is the most comedic isn’t fair, however to clarify, I DO think this is the funniest while being a script one can take seriously.
The humor should largely be credited to the cast, so we’ll start there as we move through the good and bad of the film. Everyone is sensational in this. From leading man Paul Rudd (whose talent to pull this off I did doubt) to his best friend Luis (Michael Peña) (and their “crew,” all of whom offered a hefty percentage of the giggles), and finally Michael Douglas, and Evangeline Lilly as Hope were also well cast. This role was tailor-made for Rudd (in my opinion) and I enjoyed seeing an Avenger with a family, not to mention the scenes between he and his daughter were darling. Also appearing are Judy Greer, and props to the writers for managing to give Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter a cameo.
Explaining the charismatic appeal of this film is tough to explain. One of the things that allow it to shine a bit brighter is the “littleness” of the character. Because he can shrink (not to mention command an army of ants; yes, this is a thing), the same-old, same-old can be reimaged and experienced in a kind of new dimension. There are still epic fight sequences, only the writers have a lot more play with these because of who the hero is, and there is still plenty of action, it’s just minimized to the untrained eye, which makes it quite funny rather than the normal sense of intensity that would accompany such scenes.
Saying much more about this film isn’t necessary. It’s everything I wanted it to be and then some. Seeing Ant-Man integrate into the Avengers world will indeed be a distinct pleasure. An inkling I have no doubt will come to fruition given the post credits scene of which there are actually two. Fans of Marvel know this; if you’ve not yet seen Ant-Man, you’re missing out. It’s a rarity that a superhero film can be this funny and still hold a good plot, yet as an origins story, this is one of the most memorable.
(Content: There isn’t much content in this one aside from a few minor profanities or some “adult” jokes, and sci-fi like violence. The film is rated PG13.)