Director: Peyton Reed
Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Michael Pena, Bobby Cannavale
Plot: Scott Lang, a cat burglar recently released from prison, gets a second chance to do good when Dr Hank Pym, a scientist who created a suit that can shrink its wearer to the size of an ant, recruits him to pull off a heist necessary to save the world.
Review: In the wake of superhero films made up of a group of super powered beings and the recent release of trailers for DC Comics' upcoming films for next year, it's refreshing to see a film like Ant-Man make a mark.
While it doesn't differ much from most superhero films (there's a hero, a villain and plenty of action), Ant-Man is very much a heist film as well. Our hero, Scott Lang is a reformed burglar who just wants to spend more time with his daughter, but unable to secure a job in order to pay child support due to his prison record. He does one last break-in and steals what he thinks is a motorcycle suit, only to discover it's a special suit that allows him to shrink himself to the size of an ant. Its creator, Dr Hank Pym, impressed with Scott's skills, recruits him and trains him to use the suit and pull off a heist, which involves breaking into his former lab and stealing a suit developed by his former protege, who is obsessed with turning the shrinking suit technology into a weapon.
Director Peyton Reed, taking over from Edgar Wright who dropped out, keeps the film entertaining without a dull moment in sight. It's notable that Ant-Man is hilarious from beginning to end thanks to a great script and lead star Paul Rudd's charisma, but what's also good is the drama and action in it. The drama comes mostly from Hank Pym's relationship with his estranged daughter Hope, who is torn between her love for her father and her business loyalty to Pym's former assistant Darren Cross, the film's villain.
There are quite a handful of action sequences here, two of which stand out the most. The first is a scrap between Scott and an Avenger midway through the film, the second is at the film's climax when Scott takes on Cross in their respective suits. Credit is given to the CGI crew who convincingly make shrinking effects as well as showing how ants can help our hero.
I gotta say, though I'm not a fan of Rudd, I felt that he's the perfect guy to play Scott Lang, a charming and likable everyman who gets the second chance he desperately needs. Rudd makes him easy to root for, which is important in a film like this. Michael Douglas is equally solid as Hank Pym, a man who created something awesome, but knows too well that in the wrong hands it can be catastrophically bad, and is in some ways, a victim of his own ego. Douglas works well with Rudd, and also with Evangeline Lilly as Hope. Lilly gets to do a few action sequences here too, though much less than in the Hobbit films.
The downside to Ant-Man is mostly its villain, played by Corey Stoll. Stoll actually did quite well, but the Darren Cross character seemed too comic book-y, where some of his lines sounded cliched. Michael Pena, while being well suited in the role of the film's comic relief as Scott's former cellmate, deserves better than this. The guy's talent is a tad wasted here.
So should you go watch Ant-Man? Absolutely. I know I would. P.S.: wait for the post credit scenes. There are two. (8/10)