Size does not matter, unlike the hulking superheroes we see on screen this week the audience is treated to a pint sized rather (ant sized) hero in the form of ANT-MAN, who can do most, if not everything, that other superheroes can do. But will the miniature superhero work with the Indian audience who are accustomed to seeing larger than life heroes portrayed on screen, is what we analyze.
ANT-MAN follows the life of well-meaning thief Scott Lang AKA Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) who moves in with his old cellmate Luis (Michael Pena). Simultaneously, Lang's ex-wife, Maggie (Judy Greer) now engaged to policeman Paxton (Bobby Cannavale) agrees to let Lang see his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) if he provides child support. However, unable to hold a job due to his criminal record, Lang agrees to join Luis' crew and commit a burglary for money. Lang breaks into the house of Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and cracks its safe, but only finds what he believes to be an old motorcycle suit, which he takes home. After trying the suit on, Lang accidentally shrinks himself to the size of an insect. Terrified by the experience, he returns the suit to the house, but is arrested on the way out. Pym visits Lang in jail and smuggles the suit into his cell to help him break out. From here on starts a series of events that ultimately culminate into Lang becoming ANT-MAN. Now armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, 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.
Right from the start, the audience expects a fare much like what we have seen earlier from the IRON MAN series or for that matter the CAPTAIN AMERICA series wherein each of the characters were well defined with a gripping story line (that have more or less been in line with the comics) and intense action. However, in the case of ANT-MAN, though the characters have been well defined the story is a far cry from the comics, yet director Peyton Reed does a good job of weaving intricate twists in the tale. Another moot point here that the audiences are left wondering is whether Ant-Man, who came from a rather unlikely walk of life, would be able to live up to the task of being a hero who eventually joins the Avengers or will he become just another footnote (read side character) in the multi-superhero film.
We entered the theatre expecting nothing more than just an average film to introduce yet another superhero who might be seen in a bigger franchise. Not expecting much, we were in for a pleasant surprise. ANT-MAN that comes across as a chaotic haphazard compilation of mini episodes that could go haywire any moment, comes together thanks to some good writing skills and well timed comic relief from the main star cast. At the center of ANT-MAN is Paul Rudd who shines with his carefree geniality and light handed seriousness with which he more than capably pulls off his role. Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym is everything that you would expect the original Ant-Man to be, feisty, witty and lightning quick. Easily integrating with Lang and his daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lily), Douglas provides the film with a firm character. However Corey Stoll (Darren Cross/ Yellowjacket), is hardly menacing as Ant-Man's nemesis. In fact he barely comes across as a threat; instead his entire character feels more like the jilted child who just wants his parents' attention.
But despite the shortcomings in Stoll's character, there are moments when all else fades leaving behind breathtaking visuals, well-choreographed action scenes that speak volumes of the attention given to minor details. However, what sets ANT-MAN apart from its ilk of superhero films is the fact that the story and general progression is quite unlike the usual rushed sequences that lead to some high octane action.
On the whole, despite a few scientific drawbacks (read loopholes), ANT-MAN cannot really be compared to or for that matter measured with same yardstick used to gauge other superhero films. However, standing on its own ANT-MAN makes for a fun watch, developing a character that can more than live up to being one of the Avengers.