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REVIEW: Ant-Man – A New Kind of Hero for Marvel?

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Marvel mines one of the more obscure characters for their latest movie, Ant-Man.

Paul Rudd, probably best known for his roles in the Judd Apatow comedies and Clueless, applies his charming everyman vibe to the role of Scott Lang, the good-hearted thief in retirement who is recruited to become a suit wearing hero.

Basically, Rudd trades his dad bod for one that is lean, agile, with the requisite patented Marvel 6 Pack.  Why mess with a winning formula? His hero is realistic, his physique reflects his the skills needed for his ill chosen career. At 46, he’s the oldest first-time lead for a Marvel movie. Photo: superherohype.com

Michael Douglas is Dr. Pym, a former Shield scientist, who took his inventor’s home when he wasn’t happy with some of the decisions coming from the bosses. Douglas is heartfelt and delightful as the man forced to pass the mantle onto the younger generation. Evangeline Lilly, as Hope van Dyne, is a collaborator of Dr. Pym’s and serves as Scott’s trainer. She comes off as another uptight female trope, probably because there are so many characters to introduce in this first outing.

The treat with Ant-Man is that most of the cast are character actors, so a fantastic actor like Corey Stoll imbues his role as the super villain Yellowjacket with some humanity. Michael Peña steals his scenes as Scott’s dimwitted roommate, Luis.  

In addition to starring in the film, Rudd is also one of the writers, along with Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, and Adam McKay. Wright, the director of the Cornetto British comedic genre films, was originally slated to direct, but dropped out over creative differences. The tone of the film is in the irreverent vein of the smash Guardians of the Galaxy. Peyton Reed took over the directing helm, and did a great job, making great use of some visual gags (particularly at the end of the movie). The special effects are great, and do a wonderful job showing the world reduced to an ant’s point of view.

Reed lets the story unfold at a nice pace, spending time showing Lang’s world (as well as his relationships). The training sequences allow Rudd to showcase his wit.  The plot is a bit simpler than some of the other Marvel films. This is a wise choice, given the fact that the audience may not be as familiar with this story.

Keep an eye out for appearances by some of the fan favorites. Grab your friends and get good seats, because Marvel has done it again.

With a PG-13 rating, this film is definitely family friendly entertainment. There is some mild swearing, and violence, but the tone is definitely lighter than the latest Avengers outing.

Contact Diane Cooney at dcooney@philly2philly.com

 

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Photo: superherohype.com