By: Opinion Editor Grace Dong
Hitting the big screen for the first time, Marvel’s size-shifting superhero delivers plenty of laughs and tiny punches in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s newest live action film, Ant-Man. The movie combines thrilling action scenes, stunning special effects, and well-placed comedic relief to create a charming story about redemption and burglary heists.
The film features the first two incarnations of Marvel’s Ant-Man, scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and ex-burglar Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). Pym, developed the PYM Particle, which allows users to alter the distance between their atoms to manipulate their size while keeping their density. After working as Ant-Man for many years with S.H.I.E.L.D, Pym retired and vowed to hide the technology in 1989 to keep the agency from using it to revolutionize war weaponry. Fast forward to present day and Pym’s ex-protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stall) is dangerously close to replicating the tech with his Yellowjacket suit. Pym enlists Lang to become Ant-Man to destroy Cross’s suit and data before Cross can sell the technology.
Rudd excels at bringing a light-hearted humor to his character while clearly portraying the frustration of a man looking for a second chance. Despite attempting to live an honest life, Lang cannot keep a steady income due to his criminal record – income he needs for child support in order to see his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson). From sneaking into his daughter’s bedroom to give her a goodnight kiss to risking his life by donning the Ant-Man suit, Lang’s dedication to and love for his daughter is apparent. A parallel attempt at redemption is seen by Pym for his estranged daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) as he tells Lang, “It’s not about saving our world, it’s about saving theirs,” when he hands over the Ant-Man role. Ant-Man successfully avoids the cliché superhero film trap that is all action and/or romance by focusing on these two father-daughter relationships.
On the lighter side of things, much of the humor stems from the fact that Ant-Man really is the size of an insect. Director Peyton Reed juxtaposes fast-paced fight scenes between Ant-Man and Yellowjacket on a railroad with zoomed out shots of the Thomas the Tank Engine toy train tracks they are battling on, giving viewers a sense of perspective about the size differences. A fight scene between Ant-Man and an Avenger reveals the ridiculous yet hilarious power of Ant-Man as the Avenger is left flailing, fighting an opponent the size of his nail (hint: Ant-Man wins that one).
Finally, the film exceeds expectations by miles in terms of special effects. From makings ants look terrifying large to animating the theoretical quantum realm, the beautiful CGI graphics acts as icing on a delicious cake.
Ant-Man is a movie worth watching since it delivers action, comedy, and heartfelt father-daughter moments. With a confirmed reappearance in Marvel’s upcoming film Captain America: Civil War, viewers can be sure to expect Ant-Man to return as a tiny hero with a lot more to offer.