PG-13  |  117 min  |  Action, Sci-Fi
Review - Matt Mungle

**In theaters July 17, 2015**

Synopsis: The next evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings a founding member of The Avengers to the big screen for the first time with Marvel Studiosí ěAnt-Man.î Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help Dr. Hank Pym protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

Review: Although ANT-MAN resides in the Marvel Universe it is not on the same level as its powerhouse studio mates THOR, CAPTAIN AMERICA, and IRON MAN. That doesn't mean it isn't a proper helping of superhero action; just on a smaller scale. But that is ok. Even the film embraces its place in the world as it takes subtle jabs at the other more prominent figures. It has a lot to offer and just because it may be a one and done; there is no shame.

There are elements of this film that are stellar and some that completely throw it off track. The suit. The suit is cool. It looks awesome with popping color and gives the character some strut. Paul Rudd is a plus too as an ex-con willing to do anything to make amends and be reunited semi-permanently with his daughter. Rudd has a humble likability to him which instantly makes you a fan of Scott Lang. You want him to get it right. He dives wholeheartedly into the job and suit. He even manages to wrap his head around the fact that he can grow and shrink on command. Lang is an engineer and a smart guy.One of the reasons Pym (Michael Douglas) picked him. 

As far as Douglas goes it is good to see him in this type of film. He can be a ruthless businessman (Wall Street, A Perfect Murder) and here combines that drive with an understanding and compassion for the world at large. Pym's daughter hope is played by Evangeline Lilly (Lost) and I could never see past the god awful wig they had her wearing to glimpse any sort of character. 

The effects and graphics also helped solidify the film. When ANT-MAN shrinks down and takes a run with the insects you have to believe it. You have to feel like you are in that world with him. The stunts and imagery are fast, crisp and pack a punch. This is all good news for the comic book fan wanting to see another of their characters manifest to the big screen. But sadly eye candy is not enough to carry a film completely. You need a strong story and well crafted, often witty, dialogue too. (Just don't tell Magic Mike). This is where Ant-Man suffers the most. Even the prolific Michael PeŇa seems uncomfortable as the funny man. His character is relied upon for most of the humor but it all seems repetitive and redundant. 

There are numerous plot holes and awkward conversations. Many of these take place between Dr. Pym and his daughter Hope. Their relationship has been very strained and there is quite a bit of resentment and anger broiling. The times they discuss these issues are the times you feel the most disconnect from the film. It is not well written and the delivery is stiff and forced. Much of this takes place in the middle of the movie and once you get past that, the final act almost makes up for it. But again, in action only. 

ANT-MAN is worth seeing but then forgetting. It is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and safe for those 13 and over. The language might be the only thing parents would worry about younger tykes hearing. I doubt there needs to be an ANT-MAN 2 or any sort of reANTimation. Maybe in small doses (no pun intended) like a cameo in an Avengers film would be a better fit. I give it 2.75 out of 5 keyholes. Rudd just wasn't enough to make up for the dull moments. 


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