Ant Man is bursting with charm and personality but gets a bit lost
THE latest offering from Disney’s Marvelverse is Marvel lite — a movie centred around the personality of its characters rather than any epic storytelling.
When you’ve got Paul Rudd in the superhero outfit, and a scene-stealing Michael Pena in the wings, that’s no bad thing. This charismatic duo and a fine supporting cast make for great company, even when the story is lacklustre.
The story centres on the transformation of Rudd’s character into Ant-Man, and his involvement in a heist which has major implications for the safety of humanity.
He plays Scott Lang, a convicted thief anxious not to go back to prison so he can develop a better relationship with his daughter.
He comes under the radar of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), a former SHIELD agent who became the original Ant-Man in the 1960s after developing a chemical substance (Pym Particles) which would allow him to shrink to a minuscule size while maintaining super strength.
When Lang robs the Ant-Man suit from Pym’s home, the older man decides he’s a perfect candidate to take over from him as the new superhero.
He makes this decision despite the protestations of his daughter (Evangeline Lilly), who has designs on donning the suit herself.
Pym’s got other ideas — he’s dismayed at the direction his company has taken under the control of Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), who is trying to replicate the suit and find the magical combination to make his own Ant-Man.
With his reasons for doing so remaining a secret, Lang is tasked by Pym to break into the lab and steal the suit.
The lack of back-story, often done ad nauseum in other superhero tales, is actually refreshing. This Ant-Man is not full of angst or despair — he’s just a guy tasked with taking on a heist for the good of his family.
He’s portrayed in an easy, charming way by the affable Rudd, who is perfectly cast here. But Rudd has to share the spoils with his hilarious sidekick Luis, brilliantly played by Michael Pena. The US actor has long been great in support and is finally getting his due here.
But what the movie has in personality it lacks in direction and scale. You’re left wondering what could have been if director Edgar Wright, who departed the movie to be replaced by the solid but less flamboyant Peyton Reed, had seen out this project.
Ant-Man (12A) 3/4 STARS
THE VERDICT: A lightweight but fun addition to the Marvel universe.