Marvel’s ‘Ant-Man’ Is This Summer’s Big Crowd-Pleaser

Marvel's Ant-Man Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal © Marvel 2015
Marvel’s Ant-Man
Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd)
Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal
© Marvel 2015

Let’s just get this out of the way right from the get-go: I loved Ant-Man. It does not pass the Bechdel test, and it would be awesome if Marvel could get it together and do that one of these days. This is not the movie where they see the light.

Having said that, I still loved it. I haven’t been this excited to write up a movie in a while. As I write this, I just left a screening about two hours ago and couldn’t wait to talk about it.

Note: only minor and vague spoilers in this review.

When Ant-Man was announced, I wasn’t terribly excited. In the whole scope and scale of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was hard to imagine where he would find his place. What could they do with him? Paul Rudd’s casting helped, and then the trailers really helped. By this week I was so looking forward to it.

And it didn’t disappoint. Ant-Man the movie is completely aware that it is about Ant-Man. It’s light and fun and full of skeptical looks from Paul Rudd, like he is in on the absurdity of it with us. It plays with Ant-Man’s size in a way that takes advantage of all the action sequences a proper superhero movie should have. But it also throws in spot-on little jokes to remind us not to take it all too seriously. Because we are talking about an Ant. Man. The Thomas the Tank Engine scene was perfect.

Forget the science of how Rudd’s Scott Lang shrinks, and really forget the plot. Corey Stoll’s Yellowjacket wants to sell shrink technology to the highest bidder, but Michael Douglas’s Dr. Pym, who invented the tech, wants to stop him. But that’s actually not what’s important.

Marvel's Ant-Man L to R: Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal © Marvel 2014
Marvel’s Ant-Man
L to R: Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Darren Cross (Corey Stoll)
Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal
© Marvel 2014

The characters are the big draw here, along with a big save-the-world heart. Despite some occasional swearing, this is the most family-friendly superhero movie to come along in a while. The gore isn’t very gory, and the scares aren’t terribly scary. And Lang is doing everything to make his young daughter proud, and to protect her future.

The very first scene gives us a surprise appearance by a favorite Marvel lady, and somehow after that I just knew I was in for a treat. Paul Rudd is exactly the Ant-Man this movie needed to take a tiny character with Aquaman-caliber superpowers and make him worth a big screen. Michael Douglas’s Dr. Pym is a great genius trying to stop the bad guy (Corey Stoll) from letting advanced science fall into the wrong hands. Evangeline Lilly got a pretty awesome bonus scene during the credits.

But Michael Peña stole the show. He played Scott Lang’s prison buddy Luis, a man who was arrested for stealing two smoothie machines. He is glorious and surprising in every scene he’s in, whether he’s talking about wine tastings or “sublime” Mark Rothko paintings.

Marvel's Ant-Man Luis (Michael Peña) Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal © Marvel 2014
Marvel’s Ant-Man
Luis (Michael Peña)
Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal
© Marvel 2014

This movie did two things really well: It got back to the kind of humor that made the first Iron Man such a standout (remember when no one could picture Robert Downey, Jr. as a superhero?). And, it made an army of ants that weren’t creepy crawly. They are actually sort of adorable, and I didn’t think it was possible to make a movie that would give me all the feels about ants.

But I do, I have all the feels about ants. And Ant-Man. And Michael Peña. Stay to the very end of the credits, there are two bonus scenes.

Marvel's Ant-Man Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal © Marvel 2015
Marvel’s Ant-Man
Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly)
Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal
© Marvel 2015

GeekMom attended a promotional screening for review purposes.

Jackie Reeve is a Core Contributor and former Senior Editor at GeekMom. She's a librarian, a writer, and a quilt designer. She's wife to an Englishman and mom to a little geek girl, and she blogs about life and crafts at The Orange Room. Jackie's obsessed with cardigans and thinks Die Hard is the best Christmas movie there is.