‘Ant-Man’ builds up the Marvel Universe

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Karen Kunawicz

Karen Kunawicz

ANT-Man is a great follow up to April’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. The latter had a tendency to be overwhelming—so many big heroes: Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, joined by Black Widow, Nick Fury, Hawkeye, Falcon, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. And the plot did go in several different directions.

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By contrast, Ant-Man had a welcome, simple plot—focusing on a theme of redemption and second chances, using parallel father-daughter relationships as vehicle to tell it.

Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) has given up the Ant-Man suit and built an empire without revealing the pym particles to the world. Now he seeks to keep his legacy going on his terms and repair the tears in the relationship with his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly).

Enter stealthy burglar and electronic engineer Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) who finds his way to Pym’s doorstep. The rest of course is predictable but we’re all along for the fairytale. After all, aren’t the Marvel (and DC) stories our new myths and tales? We don’t mind hearing the stories over and over again, different versions and all.

Paul Rudd is charming, perfect and relatable as Lang. It’s also great timing that this big film for him is released on the 20th anniversary of the movie that put him on the map: Clueless. He may have some superhero powers too, he looks like he barely aged.

Michael Douglas, an acting great, clearly does well with his Hank Pym—and thanks to the magic of CGI, we get to see Douglas look younger in a flashback scene set in 1989. Forgive me and allow me a “titahits” moment but he looked like he did in that ‘70s detective TV show, The Streets of San Francisco.

To round out the cast, there’s also Lang’s trio of thievery cohorts along for the ride—Luis (Michael Pena), Kurt (David Dastmalchian) and Dave (rapper T.I.) who contribute to the comedic aspects of this film. The Strain’s Corey Stoll is Hank Pym’s disgruntled protégé Darren Cross aka Yellow Jacket—the film’s villain.

The plot is focused, light and fun, the performances are great and while you’re enjoying yourself in the cinema, the Marvel universe just brilliantly expanded and connected certain elements. Marvel’s just been getting a lot of things right.

This is a Marvel movie so if you are a fan, you know the drill: please around during and after the credits for some very key extra scenes.

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