Make no mistake, “Ant-Man” will not be this summer’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.” But while it may not be Marvel’s finest outing, the diminutive superhero wraps up “Phase Two” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in good form.
“Ant-Man” is a film packed with laughs, fun action sequences and solid performances from the cast.
Scott Lang, played by Paul Rudd, is an instantly likable character. Rudd’s comic timing is spot on throughout the film.
Michael Douglas turns in a reliably genuine performance as Dr. Hank Pym — the original Ant-Man — providing a solid blend of gravity and brevity in all the right places.
Evangeline Lilly certainly has come a long way from her late night “Live Links” dating commercials from years ago — but not far enough to play Hank’s daughter, Hope. Although at times authentic enough, Lilly seems to struggle to find footing in an unexpectedly complex role, and has little on-screen chemistry with Douglas.
Corey Stoll’s turn as the villainous Darren Cross was a refreshingly subtle aspect of the film that didn’t receive nearly as much screen time as it deserved. Instead of seeing Cross’s transformation from profit-driven CEO to murderous criminal, we see a half-cooked villain with all-too-common ambitions — to gain money and power by any means necessary.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the film is the comic relief of T.I., David Dastmalchian and especially Michael Peña as Lang’s “Ocean’s Eleven”-esque heist team. Verging on over the top while not quite going there, the trio elicits laughter from the audience every time they appear on screen.
The honorable mentions in this cast go to Bobby Cannavale and Abby Ryder Fortson.
Cannavale creates some enjoyable moments as Paxton, the love interest of Lang’s ex and a thorn in Lang’s side. Fortson adds extra laughs and heart to the film with an adorable and spirited performance as Lang’s daughter, Cassie.
The special effects in “Ant-Man” are something to behold.
The scenes in miniature put “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” to shame, and director Peyton Reed plays the gimmick to its fullest, creating a number of action-packed and hilarious — although at times predictable — moments.
The action sequences and fight scenes are well done, and meet every expectation that someone coming to see a summer blockbuster might have.
This film was shot in 2D and converted to 3D, and except for a moment here and there, the results are predictable: pricier tickets for 3D are unnecessary.
“Ant-Man” is a comedy masquerading as an action film, disguised as a heist movie, dressed up as a superhero flick.
While this blend makes this film a refreshing break from others in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it also makes it difficult for “Ant-Man” to find an identity.
This could also be a symptom of the glut of writers this movie saw — four are credited and two uncredited, with early scripter Edgar Wright leaving the film mid-production.
While I enjoyed every part of the film, the final product seems to be lacking the kind of flow that made early “Phase One” Marvel films like “Iron Man” and “Captain America” instant genre classics. In comparison to other MCU films, this left a little something to be desired.
“Ant-Man” is a great comic book movie, and just an enjoyable romp in general, and I’m sure I’ll find myself seeing it again before it leaves movie theaters.