Ant-Man (2015) by The Critical Movie Critics

Movie Review: Ant-Man (2015)

Ant-Man is an engagingly decent entry into the Marvel/Disney Studios lexicon, fitting comfortably between “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Thor: The Dark World” and with the hero’s inclusion in the upcoming third Avengers picture, should build its status immeasurably. It also allows another actor with no action status, Paul Rudd, to cut his teeth on such a genre (after all, who remembers Liam Neesom before “Taken”).

Here, as directed by light-hearted, comedy specialist Peyton Reed (“Bring It On,” “The Break-Up,” “Yes Man”) from a script credited to Edgar Wright, Adam McKay, Joe Cornish and Paul Rudd (who also stars as the title character), the tale is told of Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas, Academy Award winner for “Wall Street” who is seen as his current old self and as a Photoshopped 1980s stud) and his protege, Scott Lang (Rudd, “All is Bright”). Well, not exactly your typical protege, in that the two do not really know each other, but Pym needs the super cat burglar to retrieve miniature technology developed by Pym’s actual former protege, Dr. Darren Cross (Corey Stoll, “Non-Stop”).

Evidently, shrinking oneself to the size of an insect has some bad side effects which Pym alludes to, but never really explains (except for the fact his wife keept shrinking until she became “sub-atomic,” whatever that means). So, to stop Cross, he persuades Lang to put on his old suit (which the latter cleverly steals from an unbreakable safe), break into Tony Stark’s laboratory (the first of many Marvel/Avengers allusions) and finally to steal Cross’ very own super suit technology.

Lang agrees to this nonsense because he’s down on his luck to the point where he has spent time in prison, sees his ex-wife, Maggie (Judy Greer, “Jurassic World”) marry a gruff cop, Paxton (Bobby Cannavale, “Spy”), loses every job he has and cannot even see his cute-as-a-button daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson). Of course, since he has no action hero experience, a super montage is necessary with Pym’s estranged daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”), doing the honors and beating the snot out of him at the same time. You see, she’s ticked because she wanted to don the suit and save the day, but she’s a girl, so . . .

Lang is also aided by three idiots, Luis (Michael Peña, “Fury”), David (T.I., better known as Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr., “Get Hard”) and Kurt (David Dastmalchian, “Prisoners”), who help in his “Mission: Impossible”-like heist activities. While trying to retrieve these entities, Lang, or Ant-Man by now, gets to battle minor new Avenger, Falcon (Anthony Mackie, “Avengers: Age of Ultron”) and then Cross’s alter ego, Yellowjacket. And since miniaturization is the whole schtick of Ant-Man, we get to gee Marvel’s famous and often seamless special effects, this time dealing with the world of bugs the size of elephants, carpet fibers like great stalks of corn and an army of various ants that help Lang defeat as many bad guys as possible. There is also a repeated tactic of him shrinking and then enlarging all the while having the strength of 50 ants or 50 Paul Rudds, whatever, and battling the forces of evil to a relative standstill.

He even gets to ride on a flying model he names, “Antony” (get it?!), but the children in 1988’s “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” were the first to accomplish that feat. This film also gets revisited when small objects are enlarged if nothing if not for comic value (a stuffed animal, a Thomas the Tank Engine, among others). As for our hero, he isn’t given a lot of situations to poke fun of. He’s a pleasant enough hero, though, registering confusion, amazement and other emotions when circumstances require them, but his charisma gets lost in the suit and drowned out in the noise of the plotlines.

Does he achieve his objective, does Pym keep this particular technology from destroying the known world, where does creator Stan Lee make his long-awaited cameo, do Lang and Hope fall in love? Well, you will have to see Ant-Man for the answers, but do not expect anything beyond an okay soundtrack and a mid-Marvel hero all the while primping for more interesting movies to come. (There is the closing credit tease in which Falcon says to Capt. America, “I know a guy,” which sets up the inevitable “Avengers 3” preview).

Ant-Man is not bad at all, it’s just nothing to write home excitably about, although it may make one feel a little guilty about all of those poor ants one may have roasted with a magnifying glass all those years ago.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
4 Star Rating: Good


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The Critical Movie Critics

I have been a movie fan for most of my life and a film critic since 1986 (my first published review was for "Platoon"). Since that time I have written for several news and entertainment publications in California, Utah and Idaho. Big fan of the Academy Awards - but wish it would go back to the five-minute dinner it was in May, 1929. A former member of the San Diego Film Critics Society and current co-host of "The Movie Guys," each Sunday afternoon on KOGO AM 600 in San Diego with Kevin Finnerty.

'Movie Review: Ant-Man (2015)' have 18 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 20, 2015 @ 9:56 am 2authoratative

    Marvel should add a role for Michael Pena in the rest of their movies going forward. He was a scene stealer!

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 20, 2015 @ 10:12 am Original Dancer

    So is anyone else burnt-out from the torrent of superhero movies yet?

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      July 20, 2015 @ 12:09 pm CapriSon

      Nope. I love seeing characters from the comics I read as a kid come to life on the screen.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      July 20, 2015 @ 3:43 pm Opulant

      I may sing a different tune if they start turning out Spiderman 3 or Fantastic Four Silver Surfer bad but I’m loving them now. This is prime superhero time and Ant-Man is a prime superhero!

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      July 20, 2015 @ 8:16 pm Dave

      No. I want more of them.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 20, 2015 @ 10:20 am keresy

    I really enjoyed it. Good mix of action and fun.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 20, 2015 @ 11:14 am GCarter

    My expectations are bested. The trailers had me thinking bust all the way but once again the boys at Marvel delivered an entertaining movie. Everyone should go see this.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 20, 2015 @ 11:44 am hashedout

    The movie was so good. Douglas, Pena and Rudd was great in it. Stay for the the end credit scene, you’ll love it.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 20, 2015 @ 12:22 pm Gomma

    Marvel needs to rethink their villains. They put all this effort into their heroes and developing a cohesive framework for their universe and yet they continually put out weak villains. Red Skull, Iron Monger, Whiplash, Malekith, Mandarin, Ultron and now Yellowjacket are all boring characters that follow the same mould.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      July 20, 2015 @ 8:57 pm just_drink_it

      Corey Stoll is a good job with Darren Cross. He had a good reason to turn villainous and came across pretty menacingly.

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 20, 2015 @ 12:30 pm shanikqua

    Give it up for the Latin flavor!

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 20, 2015 @ 12:53 pm Timchi

    Shower me more with comicbook movie goodness

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 20, 2015 @ 1:34 pm Cooler than Coal

    I thought the shrinking and enlarging was impressive.
    Darren Cross/Yellowjacket made for a good villain. Not Loki good though.
    Michael Pena was hilarious.
    Michael Douglas cgi was damn good.
    I love Evangeline Lilly.

    Antman surpasses all the others except Guardians of the Galaxy.

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 20, 2015 @ 2:05 pm Splay

    This was SOOO much better than I expected. With the questionable casting of Paul Rudd, loss of Edgar Wright and it being an unknown hero who could say they went in with high hopes?

  11. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 20, 2015 @ 5:28 pm 1000000$

    I avoided this over the weekend purposely because I was afraid it was going to be terrible.

  12. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 20, 2015 @ 5:50 pm SnoopChamelion

    Nice review.

  13. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 21, 2015 @ 12:01 am jacobj

    Standard super hero flick. Entertaining, dumb and highly predictable.

  14. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 1, 2015 @ 9:57 am Studio19a

    Ant-Man aka “Honey, I Shrunk the Superhero.”

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