Author: J.A. Hyde
July 16, 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 Studios' ANT-MAN. Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, 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.

Ant-Man rocks!

At last, my summer film experience is salvaged. I’ve been disappointed in all the recent releases, even the box-office blockbuster Jurassic World. What a satisfying evening at the multi-plex! Ant-Man not only contains one action-packed scene after another, it’s also seriously funny.

If Ant-Man rocks, Paul Rudd rules. Always one of my favorite actors, he brings an engaging vulnerability to his character, Scot Lang. His road to the realm of super heroes follows a bit of a different path in that he’s an ex-con. As the film opens, he’s just getting out of prison. Even though his crime was more in the Robin Hood manner – trying to restore money to folks who lost it in some corporate funny business – and despite having a Master’s Degree in electrical engineering, he’s virtually unemployable.

Scot hopes to regain his ex-wife Maggie’s (Judy Greer) trust so he can have visitation with his beloved daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson), so he’s lured into a heist by his former cell-mate Luis, a show-stealing Michael Pena. Luis has been working with two other ex-cons, Kurt (David Dastmalchain) and Dave (T.I.} who, among the 3 of them, possess a puzzling combination of skill and ineptness. Every scene with one or more of them is a laugh-fest.

The heist is a bust, but the reason for that will not be what you think. Scot ends up in jail again at the hands of his ex-wife’s overly-zealous fiancée, police officer Paxton (Bobby Cannavale}. Scot’s savior appears in the form of Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), a brilliant but eccentric aging scientist who’s been forced out of his own company. Pym has ideas for Scot which involve a suit and formula that will turn Scot into the title character.

Dr. Pym’s nemesis is Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), his former protégé who wants to use Pym’s minimizing formula for nefarious purposes. Cross’s right-hand employee is Pym’s own estranged daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly). Unknown to Cross, they’ve reconciled and teamed up to bring Cross down. Hope is as brilliant as her father and quite accomplished in martial arts. She’s scornful of Scot’s ability to pull off her and her father’s mission, but acts as his trainer anyway. Scot’s transformation from loser to super hero ensues.

Along the way, you’ll find ample references to The Avengers. Stay through the credits to see a glimpse of Pym’s, Hope’s, and Scot’s future, and a brief scene from the next Avengers film.

Ant-Man will keep you interested and engaged throughout its entirety, something that seems to be rarer and rarer in today’s films – even in the action genre. There are no “slow” places in this movie. The story moves along at a pleasing pace as it rests on the competent (and newly-buff) shoulders of Paul Rudd.

With arresting and inventive special effects and an extremely proficient cast, Ant-Man is just what the doctor ordered for the summer doldrums. Go and be entertained! - JoAnne Hyde


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