All About Ant-Man

Kristin Shaw

Ant-Man begins with the discovery of “The Pym Particle”, which allows a person to shrink to the size of an ant while maintaining strength and density, by scientist Dr. Hank Pym (played by the incomparable Michael Douglas). Dr. Pym loses his wife in a terrible accident, and summarily shuts down and cut off any further development of the Pym Particle.

Fast-forward to present day, and enter Paul Rudd’s character Scott Lang. Lang is a likeable master thief who has just been released from prison. Lang’s personal story of crime, jail, fatherhood, and divorce adds an interesting tainted-hero angle that reminded me of Will Smith’s character in Hancock. The man is clearly a hot mess, but the audience is rooting for him to clean up his act and step up.

Dr. Pym enlists/coerces Lang to break into the company he started, which his former mentee Darren Cross (played by Corey Stoll, most recently of House of Cards) forced him out of in order to control the technology and work toward replicating Pym’s research. In the meantime, Pym’s daughter Hope (played by Evangeline Lilly) is working for her father but pretending to be on Cross’ team.

(With me so far?)

Hope and Dr. Pym train Lang to be Ant-Man, teaching him how to control his size and strength while miniaturized with his brain and his body. His mission is to stop Cross from becoming the evil Yellowjacket with Pym’s technology.

The effects are impressive, beginning with the first time Lang dons the Ant-Man suit in his shower after being set up to steal it from Pym. He presses the button and instantly becomes the size of his the suit’s namesake, and then one of his roommates turns on the water and Lang is forced to fight for his life to escape the tidal wave of water from the perspective of a tiny insect. I don’t usually like 3D movies, and I arrived late to this one and ended up in the second row, which one might think was way too close for this kind of movie. It wasn’t too close; and it was fantastic in 3D.

Douglas, Lilly, Stoll, and Rudd carried most of the movie on their backs, but Lang’s sidekicks stole the show, adding humor in unexpected places and making it feel more like a crime caper than a superhero movie, in a good way. Rapper T.I., David Dastmalchian (Dark Knight), and Michael Peña (who was in Gone in 60 Seconds, which I love, because it features gorgeous cars and Robert Duvall) played Lang’s buddies and roommates, and Peña in particular is hilarious as Scott Lang’s fellow crook Luis.

As Scott Lang, Rudd’s personality shines through in ways I hadn’t expected in a superhero movie; he offered comedic breaks when needed but also made the audience believe that he could be the hero his young daughter thought he was.

Now, I love Superheroes. I love Marvel comics. But I must admit that I knew nothing about Ant-Man before I attended the premiere in New York City on July 16, the day before the official release. The movie was a more-than-pleasant surprise for two reasons: it was excellent. And because Paul Rudd introduced the movie in person.

Rudd stood just feet away from me to warm up the packed crowd at the Regal Theater, and that certainly added some star appeal. He was charming and personable in the few minutes I saw him, and it gave me a different perspective on the whole experience. That’s where being in the second row was a lucky coincidence, because I could almost touch him from there. I wouldn’t have actually touched him; that would be weird.

The end of the movie heralded the coming of an Ant-Man 2. I can’t wait to see it.

This film is rated PG-13 for mild language and some gun violence.

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 This post was written by Kristin Shaw exclusively for BonBon Break Media, LLC

Kristin Shaw is a freelance writer, 2014 BlogHer Voice of the Year, and co-producer of the Listen to Your Mother show in Austin, where she is the mother of a mini-Texan. Her work has been featured at Huffington Post; Washington Post; Brain, Child; Erma Bombeck Workshop; In The Powder Room; and Scary Mommy, among others. Shaw is also a consultant in the aviation industry and Director of Social Media and staff writer for Airport Improvement Magazine.