Ant-Man (2015)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 5/5/21
Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Anthony Mackie, Michael Peña

"Baskin-Robbins always finds out."

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a cat burglar who just got out of jail and is trying to get back on his feet. He's also a brilliant electrical engineer, but no one will hire him because of his criminal record. This causes tension with his ex-wife because she doesn't want him visiting their daughter until he cleans up his act and is living a respectable life again. As his situation worsens, he finally breaks down and agrees to participate in a burglary set up by his overly talkative friend, Luis (Michael Peña). This leads to a run-in with Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), who has created a special suit and formula that allows the wearer to shrink to a height of several inches, thereby becoming the fabled "Ant-Man." Recognizing the danger of such an invention, Pym locked it away and refused to hand it over to his employers, but his protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) is close to replicating Pym's results. Even worse, Cross wants to weaponize the technology and sell it to Hydra, so Pym recruits Lang to wear the suit and destroy Cross's research. Ant-Man also tangles with Falcon (Anthony Mackie) of The Avengers for a nice MCU tie-in, which is one of the highlights of the film.

It's a wholesome and thoroughly entertaining film due to its lighthearted action and likable cast. It adheres to the Marvel formula to a fault, which makes it overly predictable, but that's not necessary bad. It's a good formula and it hits all of the right notes, but the structure doesn't allow much room for originality. Paul Rudd is charming as Steve Lang, and you can't help but love him, flaws and all. Michael Douglas is great as a grouchy old scientist and works well with Rudd. Evangeline Lilly plays Pym's estranged daughter Hope, who has daddy issues and also wants to take out Cross. She does a great job, even though I'm not a fan of her. Corey Stoll makes a superb villain who also had daddy issues. He's smart, suave, intimidating, and highly psychotic, which makes him a great adversary for Lang, Pym, and Hope. As you would expect, it's a great looking film and the visual effects are excellent. The action scenes are fun, fluid, fast-paced, and a joy to watch. However, the film's biggest problem is its complete disregard for consistency. The basis of Pym's research is that even though Ant-Man can shrink, his mass remains the same, so he can still throw a punch with the power of a 200 lb. man. And yet, he can jump on someone's head and they won't even notice. The physics are constantly changing to match the needs of the action, which is fine as long as you can turn off your brain and don't think about it. On the plus side, the action is so fun to watch that it's easy to ignore the flaws in logic and just focus on the characters.