ANT-MAN occupies a minuscule space in the Marvel universe, and not just because of its size. So minuscule in fact that the only recognisable Avengers character that makes an appearance here is Falcon (Anthony Mackie), though watch out for Stan Lee’s cameo.
That is not necessarily a bad thing in a film with modest ambitions, where the superhero is a divorced father of one, and a petty thief to boot, and playing him is the everyman Paul Rudd. However, you keep waiting for that saving-the-world moment, and all you get is an ant squasher.
Each one of the actors, on the contrary, are quietly impressive here. Be it Rudd as Scott, though he still looks too eager to please, Douglas as the genius Hank Pym, and particularly Stoll as protege-turned-greedy villain Cross.
Reed, who takes a giant leap with this film, appears to know the advantages of being small. The first experiences of Scott in the “suit,” reduced to the size of an ant and caught in the middle of a fast-filling bathtub, are stunning. Later, during fights, Reed impressively intercuts between Scott and Cross (in a similar suit) in normal and insect sizes, leaving you closely following the action.
However, Reed doesn’t know how much or how long to deploy these tricks, even as he goes overboard with the ants. With or without the special effects, there are just too many to leave an impression.
And then there is Michael Pena. He has hardly a couple of scenes as Rudd’s criminal partner, but Luis of the fertile imagination and the long tongue shows the one crucial requirement Ant-Man is lacking: fun.
For one brief moment, the preening Cross is zapped by a bug catcher, and you think perhaps this is it. But a zap is all you get.
Director: Peyton Reed
Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll, Evangeline Lilly
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