The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a very large place, and now it’s getting an unusually small hero with Ant-Man.
When Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a con man and small time thief, is approached by the enigmatic Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) for a top secret mission, he is given the opportunity to embrace his inner hero by safeguarding the ‘Ant-Man’ technology, while also pulling off a high stakes heist that will save the world.
Marvel’s Newest Hero
Director Peyton Reed was given the opportunity to bring a brand new superhero to the screen, and he does a stellar job with career criminal Scott Lang – a very different character who, at least on the surface, initially comes across as unheroic. Many of Marvel’s heroes have the fortune of super abilities, infinite resources, and godly powers; however Scott is just a regular guy struggling to find his way after some bad choices.
While we have been introduced to everyman characters such as Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) in previous Marvel adaptations, Rudd fully realises this trope through Scott, who faces insurmountable odds yet steps up to the plate when the going gets tough. Scott’s transformation from normal guy to superhero is made easy by Rudd’s affable personality, and as a character he doesn’t take himself too seriously, allowing for plenty of comedic moments. Rudd leaves a memorable impression, ultimately proving Scott Lang’s worth in the MCU.
All in the Family
Enlisting Scott to superhero service is the father-daughter team of Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas) and Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly). While Pym believes in Scott and his abilities, and spurs him to redemption, Hope is somewhat of a pessimist, not knowing if Scott will actually be able to pull off their crazy plan. While they might be working together, there is a genuine rift felt between the two of them.
The relationship between Hank and Hope marks an important theme in the film: the role that fathers play in the lives of their daughters. This concept is also explored through Scott and his young daughter Cassie, who he wants to be a hero to instead of a disappointment. Like Rudd, both Douglas and Lilly shine in their roles, with Douglas bringing an old school elegance, intelligence and charm to Hank Pym, while Lilly channels a very clear and defined independent woman who believes that she has just as much right to wear the Ant-Man costume.
Ant-Man also has a terrific supporting cast with the likes of Michael Pena and T.I. Harris throwing out some serious hilarious moments. Corey Stoll is particularly wonderful as the crazed and obsessive Darren Cross – a corporate titan who will go to extremely dark lengths to obtain what he desires.
But it’s not just the compelling characters and spot on comedic timing of Ant-Man that make it so enjoyable. Director Peyton Reed creates some truly ground breathing action set pieces, and the use of Ant-Man’s shrinking abilities is awesome to watch through both the combination of enhanced visual effects and cinematography.
Ant-Man may be Marvel’s smallest hero, but he definitely makes a big impression in what is a worthy close to Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Now go and meet Marvel’s newest hero for a guaranteed good time.
Ant-Man is released in cinemas on July 16.