Marvel’s had a great run of films since Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury met with Downey’s Tony Stark at the end of Iron Man. Since then, Marvel Studios launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe and dominated the box office with each new film that has a connection to the previous film. Iron Man was a risk because he was not a “top-tier” hero but proved to be successful. Other risks such as Guardians of the Galaxy also proved to be fruitful for Marvel Studios.
Ant-Man proved to be no different.
Ant-Man follows Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), an intelligent thief, returning home after a stint in prison as he tries to become better for his young daughter, Cassie. A small heist brings Scott to meet Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), who was the first Ant-Man. Pym recruits Scott to become his successor as he learns his former protege, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), is close to something that could threaten the world.
Paul Rudd gave a charming and hilarious performance as Lang, who is trying to reform in order to remain the hero in his daughter’s life. That proves to be more difficult with his ex-wife (Judy Greer) and good guy but Paxton (Bobby Cannavale When his best friend Luis (Michael Pena, who put on a breakout comedic performance) and his crew find him a small job that could provide him a quick way back on his feet, Lang comes across the Ant-Man suit. After two funny “test drives”, Pym brings Lang in to help him and his headstrong daughter, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly). While training Lang to understand the power of the suit and getting to know his small and resourceful team of ants that help him on his missions (including an Avenger-sized heist), Darren Cross, obsessed and driven to surpass Pym and come out from his shadow, develops a similar but more dangerous version of Pym’s suit, calling it the Yellowjacket. Lang has to discover the hero in himself and with the help of his friends, both big and small, bring an end to Yellowjacket’s scheme and save his daughter.
Like Ant-Man’s power to shrink, Marvel’s latest film of one of the founding Avengers from the comics went small as far as the scale. While it was nice to know the films are still connected with Pym’s comment about the falling city from Age of Ultron, Scott wanting to contact the superhero team when he is recruited, and the opening sequence from S.H.I.E.L.D.’s early days with Pym working for them and even bringing Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter and John Slattery’s Howard Stark. Beneath the main superhero-saving-the-world plot, there was a wonderful sub-plot of fathers seeking to redeem themselves in their daughters’ eyes. A good-ensemble cast and tone of fun and creativity, especially with the quantum realm, helps carry this film.
While I won’t reveal any secrets about the post-credits scenes (yes, there are two!), they set up the future of Marvel’s film with more Ant-Man and a possible Wasp film. The after credits scene reveals two Avengers and it seems the seeds of the Civil War have been planted in this short clip as Phase Three begins next year.