By Marc S. Sanders
Peyton Reed not only capitalizes on Edgar Wright’s interpretation of Marvel’s Ant-Man, but also on the first chapter of the MCU, Iron Man. The similarities in the two films are so familiar that Ant-Man seems a little boring and redundant. You’ll turn to your seat mate midway through and say “We’ve seen this.”
Nevertheless, Reed’s film is saved thanks to a likable Paul Rudd, a welcome Michael Douglas and a scene stealing Michael Pena. Evangeline Lilly is here but she’s as useful as Gwenyth Paltrow has been. Corey Stoll is the bald villain, like Jeff Bridges before him, and well… LOOK!!! You just needed to find someone to be the villain; the guy interested in stealing technology to use for making a lot of money and other nefarious purposes. You’ve seen it all before.
Pena is given the best stuff to do as Reed takes advantage of visually recounting a “telephone game” story of what he and then what she said and then what he said after that. Michael Pena is a really funny guy who deserves more work. He’ll likely get a lead in an ABC family sitcom one day called Pena or Michael!, let’s say.
Rudd has fun with the stupidity of his superhero name and abilities. Let’s face it. Controlling the minds of ants is not as flashy as Batman and his gadgets or Spider-Man web slinging through the city. Rudd smirks through all of it. So, I felt okay to smirk as well.
The film suffers from a lot of exposition and a few too many characters. In a flashback 80s scene, Douglas’ character (the original Ant-Man) breaks some SHIELD agent’s nose. What’s so special or offensive about this guy? I don’t know. Also, Bobby Cannavale is a pain in the ass cop for Rudd to deal with, but more or less you’d have the same film if he was excised from the final cut.
Reed saves his movie with a really fun ending consisting of a battle involving shrinking and enlarging and shrinking again aboard a Thomas The Train Engine toy playset. It’s Rudd as Ant-Man vs Stoll as Yellowjacket (very cool looking and not used enough). As well, you can’t help but smile when you see a fifty foot high toy train crash through a house.
This is a scrappy little film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and not much seems original, but you got a cast that’s likable and an ending to be entertained by.
Nothing special, but nothing terrible either.