Marvel is up to a little trickery this time around. After all, the box office powerhouse crafts box office gold with its Marvel Cinematic Universe movies and drives nerds like me to anxiously scour the interwebs trying to find leaked information about what’s next on the horizon.
But, alas, not everyone is a huge geek like me, and the Marvel universe is a little too far-fetched. Talking raccoons and guys who get big and green when they get angry is kinda weird, right? And wait, Captain America was frozen in ice for, like, 70 years? And he lived? Well, that makes no sense.
Tony Stark, though, there’s a guy you can get. Billionaire. Genius. Playboy. Philanthropist. Who doesn’t understand that level of awesomeness? And then there’s Thor. Who cares if he’s a demigod, just look at the arms and enjoy.
I’ll be the first to admit that the MCU can be a lot to take in, especially when you start talking Infinity stones and aliens. But Marvel’s latest cinematic offering is something even the least geek-minded person can get behind: “Ant-Man.”
OK, it sounds a little weird. And possibly scientific. “Ant-Man” might not have the gigantic success of other MCU films, but don’t let its box office size fool you.
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) isn’t your typical hero. In fact, his storyline has all the makings of a rom-com. He’s a divorced dad who has failed his family to the point his ex (the talented Judy Greer in ANOTHER mom role) doesn’t let him see his little girl. She’s moved on and is engaged to a cop (Bobby Canavale). Scott is a felon and kind of a loser, but he’s determined to become someone who will make his little girl proud.
It’s a total redemption story, people. Everyone can jump on that bandwagon!
Scott has said “no” to continuing his life of crime. He has buddies (Michael Peña, Tip “T.I.” Harris and David Dastmalchian) that aren’t so straight and narrow, but he refuses to get involved in their capers. Until one day, desperation and a can’t-fail opportunity meet.
At this point, we have some very cool heist-type scenes, including using liquid nitrogen to literally crack open a safe. But long story short, the home Scott and his friends rob belongs to Dr. Henry Pym (Michael Douglas) and the safe’s only item of value is a weird technological-type suit.
Spoiler alert: That suit is the Ant-Man technology. The suit uses technology (Pym Particles) to shrink its wearer to tiny proportions.
Scott and Pym join forces, along with Pym’s daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly) to stop technological madman — and current CEO of Pym Technologies — Darren Cross (Corey Stoll). Cross has created a shrinking suit of his own in the form of Yellowjacket, which he hopes to sell as a weapon to the highest bidder. To stop him, Scott & Co. must come up with a foolproof plan to break into Pym Technologies and destroy Yellowjacket and all data connected to the program.
This plot turn then turns the film into even more of a heist movie. Scott and his crew know everything there is to know about burglary, but this is a highly technical heist. Good thing they’ve got gadgets and gizmos a plenty. (Why yes, I did just work “The Little Mermaid” in there since Disney owns Marvel — who hid their own musical nugget in the film by having Peña’s character whistle “It’s a Small World” at one point.)
Yes, Scott must learn to become Ant-Man. He must learn to fight. He must learn to electronically communicate with ants through brain waves — yes, that’s a little far-fetched but only a little. But this film isn’t about aliens or men who can fly or anything that might turn off the non-comic fan.
I’ve heard people say before “Well, I really don’t like superhero movies.” That’s the beauty of “Ant-Man.” It’s quite possibly one of the most non-superhero movies Marvel has put out yet.
The inclusion of Paul Rudd — who is amazing and dreamy in his own special way — means comedy is a definite. Much like Chris Pratt in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Rudd isn’t your typical hero. Lilly brings the woman power to the table since she’s pretty much better at being Ant-Man than Scott. There’s even an Avengers cameo to satisfy the comic folks in the form of Falcon (Anthony Mackie), who also helps tie Ant-Man into the bigger MCU.
But at its heart, “Ant-Man” is a movie about a heist. Think “Ocean’s Eleven” or “The Italian Job.” You’ve got a group of folks using their gadgets and collective know-how to pull off a burglary of epic proportions. Add in the fact that Scott’s sized-down moments — whether fighting Falcon or learning to cope at 12.7 mm tall — are truly entertaining, and there’s something special here.
It’s a superhero movie with a bunch of other genres blended in, making it unlike anything Marvel has done in a while. Let the name “Marvel” draw you in, but expect something a little different. Yes, there’s action and there’s geekery but more than anything, there’s just a whole lot of fun.