Free Press Journal

Movie Review: Ant Man – Droll and entertaining 



Cast: Paul Rudd, MIchael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly,Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Michael Pena, Anthony Mackie,Abby Ryder Fortson

Director: Peyton Reed

It used to be that superheroes, in their private avatars, were men of impeccable character and integrity. Only think of Super (journalist) Man and Bat (lawyer) Man. Ant (engineer)Man is a jailbird, an unsuccessful thief,thankfully, a reformed thief with his heart in the right place. In this origins story of Marvel’s miniscule superhero, Ant (Paul Rudd) Man answers to the name of Scott Lang in his workaday life.

Released from prison (much before his transformation into the lilliputian hero with a mighty heart) Scott hopes his electronics engineering degree will secure gainful employment. But alas. (His inability to be a good provider was the reason why his wife Maggie (Judy Greer,) had divorced him in the first place to cohabit with cop (Bobby Cannavale) Maggie even stints on visiting rights with daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) until he finds a steady job. Alack and alas. His post-prison employer, an ice-cream parlour, sacks him on learning of his past.So when small time crook pal Luis (Michael Pena) tells him there’s moolah to be made from a theft, he agrees and decamps with a strange suit and some vials. These, as it turns out, are the property of Avenger scientist Dr Hank (Michael Douglas) Pym who was ousted from his own company by his scheming protege,  Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) with the assent of Pym’s daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly). But  his heart beats for Cassie  for whose sake  he decides to trod the straight and narrow path.He decides to return the booty only to get nabbed again.

But everyone deserves a second chance. Dr Pym puts it even better:” Everyone deserves a shot at redemption.Be the hero your daughter believes that you already are.” With Scott’s assent, he frees him from prison, and shrinks him to lilliputian level to don his invention and thwart  Darren’s dastardly designs to gain world domination. This includes killing little sheep and countering AntMan in a creepy avatar nicknamed “Yellowjacket”. But down in the micro-level depths of existence, Scott is helped by swarms of insects rendered in 3-D.

All of the actors (and insects)  are terrific. Rudd’s self-deprecating underdog is all heart, a might heart in this action-packed narrative about honour,redemption and sacrifice. Director Reed keeps tongue firmly in cheek as he alternates the action between pint-sized magnification  and human levels.There are several laugh out loud moments but the funniest  is the climactic battle featuring bugs and a train set. Droll and well scripted,Ant-Man makes for an engaging watch. I’d have liked the film to amplify the problem of jailbird rehab. Maybe just maybe, the  sequel(s) will do just that.