With Comic-Con rolling along this weekend — and Deadline all over it — what better time for a review of the latest Marvel attempt to hijack the box office with a new comic book superhero? And, as I say in my video review (click on the link above), the company has managed to follow up last summer’s hit Guardians Of The Galaxy with another movie that emphasizes the comic in comic book.
Ant-Man is a hoot, at times laugh-out-loud funny. It never takes itself too seriously like others in the Marvel universe such as Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America. In fact, the film often makes pointed barbs at its comic book cousins. It is supremely stupid and silly fun. That’s why it works as well as it does. The plot is simple. Michael Douglas plays Dr. Hank Pym, founder of Pym Technologies, who has been pushed out of the company by his former protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), who years later now is running the company, announcing it is on the verge of perfecting new miniaturization technology that will revolutionize the power structure of the world. With his tiny and lethal Yellowjacket, he, like any good Marvel villain, can rule the world. Pym, on the other hand, is out to stop Cross and is ready to do it with his successful secret formula involving a black and red suit that can turn the wearer into the size of an ant to lead the world’s most imposing army ever. And in his sights to do just that is Scott (Paul Rudd), an ex-con just out of prison trying to turn his life around and regain visitation rights with his young daughter who adores him but is forbidden to see him thanks to Scott’s ex-wife (Judy Greer) and her current husband (Bobby Cannavale). After losing his job scooping ice cream, Scott returns to a life of crime with some of his ex-prison buddies, notably a hilarious Michael Peña, who is the best part of this gang that couldn’t shoot straight.
At any rate, once Scott dons the magic suit and experiences life as an ant, all hell breaks loose. The battle for supremacy is on, but the fun is in the dialogue and knowing comedic bits this movie generously serves up thanks to an amusing script from Adam McKay, Rudd, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish (the latter two developed the film originally to be directed by Wright before creative differences KO’d their further participation).
You can really see Rudd’s comic sensibilities at work in this version and I have a feeling even hardcore devotees of the iconic comic book will give this one a thumbs-up. And Rudd is perfectly pitched in the title role. He knows this isn’t Hamlet and his light touch, very much like Chris Pratt’s in Guardians, is very welcome. Douglas gives a lot of weight to the role of Pym and seems to be having a great time doing this kind of popcorn movie for a change. Stoll is properly villainous, but the character doesn’t rank high on the movie evil-meter if you ask me, however he looks imposing as a Yellowjacket. You would imagine the special effects to be spectacular and they are. Director Peyton Reed hits the right tone throughout what looks to be another smashing success for Marvel and Disney when it opens on July 17 stateside. Producer of course is Marvel’s Kevin Feige.
Do you have the itch to see Ant-Man? Let us know what you think.