The Marvel comic book movie universe gets a little bigger with the first movie to feature Ant-Man, a regular guy who can – you guessed it – shrink to the size of an insect with the help of a special high tech costume.
As the movie’s 30 years in the past prologue tells us, the technology was designed by genius Dr Hank Pym (Douglas), but he locked it away when he realised it could be used in ways he hadn’t intended. But now his business protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) is determined to resurrect it as a military weapon, so Hank has to stop him, and his plan involves getting former convict Scott Lang (Rudd) to wear the Ant-Man costume, and with the help of an army of the little creepy crawlies, sneak into Cross’ lab and stop him.
The twist to this superhero adventure is that it is, in fact, a heist movie with a heart, as Hank tries to reconnect with his daughter Hope (Lilly) while Scott is trying to repair his own relationship with his young daughter and ex-wife (Judy Greer), who is engaged to an interfering cop (Bobby Cannavale). There’s also bigger comedy vein running through the movie than in previous Marvel adaptations, too, thanks to the very funny script (from Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay and star Paul Rudd), Michael Peña’s silly but likeable character Luis, and most memorably, a climactic action sequence in a child’s bedroom that can only be described as utterly bonkers.
The three leads are all a joy. Rudd is beefed up and knowingly sarcastic as reluctant hero Scott, Lilly tough but elegant as Hope and Douglas wise and wryly amused as Pym – and it’s a neat bonus, thanks to the wonders of CGI, to see him as his younger self, too. And the computer wizardry doesn’t end there, as the ant effects are truly special, whether we are seeing the various species of ants (there are ones that fly!) up close, viewing the world from Scott’s suddenly shrunken point of view, or watching a battle between two miniaturised blokes in funny suits.
Simpler and brisker than some of the Marvel movies that have gone before, this is probably one of the most family-friendly, too (though parents of younger kids should note there is some swearing). A comedy action adventure about something small that deserves to be a super-sized hit.
Is Ant-Man suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Parents should note that this is a 12A certificate movie, due to mild violence and language.
Children who don’t like ants may find some of the close up scenes featuring hundreds of ants quite creepy.
Younger viewers may find it upsetting when Scott’s daughter is briefly in danger.