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Let’s face it, Marvel owns the movie entertainment industry. At least they have over the past several years. The terrifying aspect (at least to their competition anyway) is that their stranglehold has gotten tighter and their reach has expanded further. Over the past couple of years Marvel has infiltrated the public airwaves with shows like Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as streaming services such as Netflix with Daredevil. No matter where one looks they’re sure to find evidence of a Marvel sighting. Building on the huge success of Iron Man in 2008 Marvel has put together an impressive enterprise that now allows them take some risks here and there by introducing some lesser known characters and stories. This worked to perfection with 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and at the same time expanded the playing field exponentially. The latest addition, Ant-Man, is the final chapter in Marvel’s Phase Two of their three phase rollout. Has lightning struck two years in a row for Marvel or have they gone to the well once too often? Keep reading…
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is an underachieving con-man who seemingly cannot catch a break in life. He found himself locked up in prison for doing a bad thing for a good reason. Regardless, Scott broke the law and to do hard time. During his incarceration he realizes that he wants nothing more than to a good person and a father to his young daughter. Unfortunately getting a job is tough sledding for a felon. After yet another poor decision Scott finds himself in possession of a strange outfit and curiosity gets the best of him which leads him to trying on the outfit. A very unexpected event occurs as he shrinks down to the size of a tiny ant. Scott soon discovers that his destiny could be much more than he could have ever expected it to be. He is then tutored and trained by the creator of the suit, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) as well as Pym’s headstrong daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly) as they all work together to avoid deadly technological advancements reaching the wrong hands.
While Ant-Man has some connection to the ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU for short), its plot does a good job of standing on its own without borrowing too much from the big picture of things. If Marvel’s ultimate goal here was to introduce a new character into the mix while ushering in a new fanbase then consider it a mission success. While the storyline does deal with some life or death situations, director Peyton Reed does an admirable job of keeping the mood pretty light and mellow throughout. This should come as no surprise to those familiar with Reed’s previous works. He has been deeply entrenched in the comedy genre his entire career. Casting Paul Rudd as the lead and adding Michael Peña into the mix definitely helps set the comical tone. The varied cast also includes Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer and T.I. “Tip” Harris.
Ant-Man is a refreshing type of movie, more on the fun and silly side than past movies of the first two phases. Aside from the few obvious MCU tie-ins the movie stands on its own without a real need of the “Avengers crutch” to help it get its footing. While not quite as solid as Guardians of the Galaxy it does however, bring in some much needed fresh blood. In addition to that it may very well usher in an entirely new fanbase with the amount content that looks to be geared towards a younger audience. Children will naturally gravitate to some of what’s going on while much of the more complex “serious” stuff will fly right over their heads. This is the most kid-friendly/appealing of any of the MCU movies to date and they’ll probably love the 3D.
If you should happen to venture out to theaters to see Ant-Man try to pack your patience. The total runtime is just a hair under two hours but it’s pretty much two hours of fun, laughter and excitement. There are two additional small scenes after the movie is finished, once during the mid-credits and a final one post-credits. Now consider yourselves prepped and ready to have a good time as it should be a fun time for all.

Ant-Man is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler

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