Movie Review: Ant-Man
Paul Rudd is a bona fide hero.
Not only because he is Marvel's newly minted pint-sized superhero, but because he single-handedly saved this movie from being a run-of-the-mill summer flick.
Rudd is Scott Lang, an tech-savvy ex-con whose superb cat burglary skills are sought after by Dr Hank Pym (Michael Douglas).
The brilliant scientist needs Lang to infiltrate a high-security lab to stop Pym's former protege Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) from selling a top-secret and dangerous tech to Hydra -- yes, that same evil organisation from 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger.
Being fed on a steady diet of Marvel's first-tier pantheon of superheroes such as Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, to have a guy no bigger than a dust mite to save the world seems ridiculous.
Rudd knows this, so he keeps it light, much like what Chris Pratt did with Guardians Of The Galaxy.
Again, Marvel made a wise decision to cast a comedian to be the lead.
Like Pratt, Rudd doesn't take his superhero duties too seriously, which works very well here. His affable charm and spot-on comic timing are the key factors that elevate this somewhat bland origin story, making it fun and entertaining.
Rudd also makes his Lang personable. His Lang is much like Tony Stark, just minus the wealth, ego and smarminess.
Michael Pena is another source of laughter, stealing the scene as Lang's buddy Luis.
Director Peyton Reed kept the vibe playful throughout with the final epic battle revolving a Thomas the Tank Engine train set.
Rudd has a good rapport with Douglas, who seems a little out of place in a comic-book caper.
But his presence lends weight, especially when Ant-Man isn't just about how Lang becomes a future member of The Avengers.
There's a very strong father-daughter subplot between Pym and estranged daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) that gives Ant-Man the emotional heft.
Same for Lang, whose motivation to become Ant-Man is to be the hero in his young daughter Cassie's eyes.
The effects are flawless, though they don't have that wow factor like the other Marvel superhero movies.
Overall, this is a decent start to another franchise, and it doesn't matter whether you like it or not. Ant-Man will be back in next year's Captain America: Civil War.