To be perfectly honest, I had no intentions of seeing Ant Man in theaters but the lack of other good movies forced me into Marvel Studios’ latest concoction from their extensive cast of obscure characters. I remember reading a small it about Ant Man back in my comic book days and remember not being seriously interested then and wasn’t very interested now. (I was more of an X-Men guy than an Avengers guy.) What we got on screen was something that I wasn’t expecting and that is a good thing.
Ant Man opens with a flashback (of course) showing the audience that the ‘Pym Serum’ has been created by scientist Dr. Hank Pym and some of the board members of his company want to sell it to military groups for profit to the objection of Dr. Pym. Also, Michael Douglas plays Pym perfectly. Just imagine a Gordon Gekko as a good guy and also a scientist. Apparently, he goes into hiding after this incident and his company ends up being taken over by and eventually renamed after his protege Darren Cross. The Pym Serum is a formula that shrinks whatever subject you choose down to insect-size whatever you chose but Dr. Pym figured out how to use it on living organisms whereas Cross just hasn’t quite figured that out…yet.
In the meantime, Dr. Pym who used to don a suit capable of shrinking (with the formula of course) must find a new person to wear the suit since he is getting old and also has some baggage to go along with that age. Also when wearing the suit or some strange earpiece thing, the wearer can communicate with four different kinds of ants who all have unique abilities like speed, strength & bridge-building. No, I’m not making this up. The obvious choice for the new suit wearer is his daughter Hope but because this movie is called Ant Man, Dr. Pym chose Scott Lang, played by Paul Rudd. Lang is a former master thief who just got out of jail for a Robin Hood-like heist where he returned money from a corporation to the everyday schmucks that the corporations allegedly stole it from in the first place. Either way, this creates some tension between Hope and Scott that gets old to be perfectly honest.
Eventually, Cross figures out how to shrink living creatures and it magically coincides with Scott Lang’s completion of his training to wear the Ant Man suit and all hell breaks loose in the form of small people and ants fighting. Some of the fighting scenes were pretty entertaining but overall they were kind of a letdown when you realized it was just Paul Rudd and Representative Peter Russo from House of Cards swinging at one another. Although, seeing a Thomas the Train Engine go from toy sized to full sized and crashing through a house was oddly satisfying in a Stay Puft Marshmallow Man kind of way.
In review, Ant Man was actually really good and not because of what it was but because of what it was not. The last couple movies from Marvel Studios were trying to connect so many dots at once that it got exhausting. For example, trying to keep up with how Captain America’s movie connected with the Iron Man, Hulk, Thor & Avengers movies all at the same time proved to be a little more taxing that entertaining. Ant Man was none of that and you only needed to connect one dot; how did Ant Man end up getting involved with the Avengers? And the movie answers that perfectly as well as tells the story of Ant Man, the suit, Dr. Hank Pym & the Yellow Jacket. I loved that finally we got a Marvel movie that you didn’t need to watch two and three times to catch every nuance and story line. I probably won’t watch this movie again even though I enjoyed it and it definitely brought back some of the feelings that I had when I saw Honey I Shrunk The Kids for the first time only this time there is a hero involved.