Stars: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, T.I., Anthony Mackie, Wood Harris, Judy Greer, Abby Ryder Fortson, David Dastmalchian, Martin Donovan, Hayley Atwell, John Slattery.
Director: Peyton Reed
Screenplay: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, & Adam McKay.
Second viewing, second chance. Thank goodness I gave this a second chance, not because it is an amazing film but because I was so incredibly harsh on my first viewing. This is a fun run in the mill Marvel movie that is doing nobody harm. There is heart, family, and redemption at play that develops and weaves this little film together. Rudd—played Ant-Man/Scott Lang—is a great lead with functioning supporting characters. It is slightly too phase one for its era in the franchise but it is a decently structured origin story that rolls out the history of our new Superhero.
Where this film struggles is in its direction. The script has its charm but the lack of imagination in its delivery makes for a bit of a bland film. Also I kept getting Honey, I Shrunk the Kids flashbacks and that is nobodies fault but mine—but maybe they could have leaned into that grotesqueness a little more with the ants because seeing them that up close is sooooo unsettling. By the time the film reaches the heist the plot already feels done. The heist is spelled out so methodically that when they get around to completing it there is no surprise or interest in how they achieve it.
But I like the smallness of this movie—no real pun intended. The stakes are pretty small, the focus is not a massive global threat, and even the bad guys are only in it for a little recognition from mentors and a slice of the good ol' greed cheese. The stakes are understandable; Scott just wants to see his daughter and make her proud, Hope (Evangeline Lily) just wants to help her father (Michael Douglas) and make him see her potential, Dr. Pym wants to protect the world from his creation, and Cross (Corey Stoll) wants to be the best in his field. Small stakes for a small movie and in that way this film delivers.