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.

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