Just because you’re a superhero doesn’t mean that the villain you’re up against wants to take over the world. Sometimes, they just want to take over a company.
Scott Lang (Rudd), just released from prison, struggles to hold down a job due to his criminal record. Desperation kicks in, and he accepts a job to break into the house of Hank Pym (Douglas), finding seemingly nothing valuable expect for an old motorcycle suit. Trying it on, he discovers the suit helps him shrink in size to become the titular “Ant-Man”.
Let’s get the big stuff out of the way first. I will never watch this movie and not think about what could have been, had Edgar Wright stayed on as a director. Perhaps one of the most popular directors currently working, he left the project due to “creative differences”, which was incredibly disappointing, particularly to the likes of me.
Luckily, production troubles don’t always signify a bad film, and this chapter of the MCU is actually pretty darn charming. As much as Captain America: The Winter Solider was a political thriller, this movie is a heist film, with Lang recruited by Pym to steal a suit from villain Darren Cross (Stoll), who plans to militarise the technology. The sub-genre of heist fits well with this particular superhero, as his shrinking provides inventive ways for him to infiltrate various locations.
And visually, it is very inventive. One scene sees Lang run across a model of the company he is currently in, whilst two guards shoot their guns. The bullets create a massive amount of debris for the tiny sized man, and it looks great (not to mention the Quantum Realm that Scott is later sucked into).
Rudd is an incredibly likeable screen presence, and it’s perfect casting for the titular role. Somebody as sweet and charming as Rudd can get away with robbing a house and we’d still like him for it. The film would probably be a lot more difficult to get through, without him and the some of the other cast members (Peña’s Luis, in particular, gets the biggest laughs).
Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky. Michael Douglas is there to spew exposition, with having little to nothing to do himself, and Evangeline Lilly, playing his daughter Hope, fares little better. She’s there to help her father get the suit, although he won’t let her steal it, and winds up being a last-minute love interest for the hero.
And then, of course, there’s the villain. Many villains’ motivations in the past have been simply to obtain power and keep it forever, as is the case with this. But it’s no longer enough for a villain to want to be and end all, we need to know his motivations. Corey Stoll is far too good an actor for what he’s given in this movie, and it’s a shame the character is not more well-developed.
It is, perhaps, unevenly paced; although off to the races at the beginning once Lang has the suit, it lags somewhat in the middle, as he needs to go through (what else?) a training montage to get to grips with it and although oftentimes funny and enjoyable, you can’t help but want more from it. Luckily, Rudd’s natural ease with the character helps to make a pleasant, if ever-so-slightly forgettable, solo film.