Ant-Man is Marvel magic at its best
★★★ ★★ Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly Director: Peyton Reed 117mins
It’s a familiar story – from wobbly beginnings a hero arises, one that learns to wield his powers for the greater good, and win against the odds.
Wait, you think I’m talking about Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man character, Scott Lang? Yes, I suppose that fits. But in this instance, I’m referring to director Peyton Reed ( Bring It On), stepping in at the 11th hour when Edgar Wright left the project.
Whatever vision Wright had is no longer relevant, apart from what remains from the story he and Joe Cornish concocted, because Reed’s Ant-Man is such an entertaining watch in its own, er, right.
Reed’s filmography lends itself to the colourfully cartoonish elements seized on here, both in the staging of the film’s many miniaturised action sequences and the unforced easy-going comedy that’s also something of a Paul Rudd trademark.
We can all accept Marvel are masters of casting at this point, so Rudd’s lack of action movie pedigree is nothing to take exception to.
Here he’s a familiar Rudd persona, sassy but sensitive, capable of emoting without going full Bale brood.
And as with Robert Redford’s appearance in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Michael Douglas is a suitably serious elder statesman on hand to sell the seriousness when required.
Freed from world-destroying stakes and the delicate mechanics of ensemble casts, this is the most straight-forward and fun Marvel movie for ages.
Yes, there’s not too much to the villain, and Ant-Man’s relatively uncomplicated plot still isn’t short on holes, but it’s a more satisfying introduction to the character and a new visual world for Marvel, as well as comfortably slotting into their larger universe.
Paul Rudd is sassy but sensitive in the title role in Ant-Man.