Ant-Man overcomes a slow start to grow into a fast-paced, family-friendly and above all, entertaining addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It combines a smaller-scale, more focused story with humor, refreshing set-pieces and more heart than your average superhero movie. It may not be as rip-roaringly fun as this year’s Furious 7 and Jurassic World, but audiences will nonetheless get their money’s worth.
Paul Rudd is a charismatic lead and does his modern-day Robin Hood role convincingly, helping audiences relate to his rise from crook to world-saving hero. Michael Peña provides much of the comic relief to great effect. Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas round out the acting standouts as the father-daughter tension, while cliched nowadays is played off well by the two.
It’s a shame that the film struggles to find its footing during the opening act but thanks to brisk pacing and the light tone the tedium passes by quickly. The antagonist here really isn’t that interesting, coming across as bland in comparison to previous MCU villains such as Loki and Ultron. And while Peña proves to be funny, Tip Harris’ scenes are ineffective and the crew’s hacker is so forgettable probably no one will remember his name.
Ultimately it’s the overall package that matters and that’s where Ant-Man delivers. The trio of Rudd, Lilly and Douglas provide the much-needed believability and the smaller, much more personal story the relatability. Ant-Man’s abilities provide a change of pace from the brute force of today’s superheroes and an expected cameo turns out to be a bigger role that has him going toe to toe with Ant-Man himself.
Marvel seems to be doing the family-friendly thing perfectly these days and Ant-Man continues that streak. That’s what you have to take into account if you’re not decided yet; this is a far cry from DC’s work on The Dark Knight Trilogy and Man of Steel. But if you’re comfortable with kid-friendly material, then by all means prepare yourself for a worthy addition to the MCU.