Marvel's Ant-Man has been through a tough time as it has tried to get off the ground with Edgar Wright way back when Marvel was first becoming the mega studio that is now today. The film did not come out in the early stages due to the realization that Ant-Man is not a bankable character like the mainstays in Iron Man and Captain America. The pre-production on the film went through tough times with Wright leaving his passion project over creative differences with the studio and their desire to keep Ant-Man connected with their other films. However, instead of abandoning the project, Marvel still managed to piece together another entertaining film with plenty of laughs and heart. Ant-Man is the most like the original Iron Man while greatly benefitting from a terrific cast of actors. The film isn't as good as last years Winter Soldier or Guardians of the Galaxy but it stands as one of the better Marvel films to date.
The plot is rather simple as it is still a bit of an origin story that follows a petty thief who had just gotten out of jail in Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and attempts to rehabilitate himself and go straight in an attempt to get back into the good graces of his ex-wife and his daughter Cassie. However, he cannot hold a job due to his record leading him to dig back into his old ways for one last job. That job however put him in line to be the successor to Hank Pym's (Michael Douglas) Ant-Man. Pym was keeping tabs on Scott knowing that he was too old to be the hero he once was and needed Scott to steal his Ant-Man technology back from the company he had been let go from. Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) was a previous protégé of Pym that now is close to perfecting a shrinking suit of his own much like Pym's Ant-Man suit. This terrifies Pym, forcing him and Scott to perform a heist to steal Cross' suit right from under his nose.
Despite the issues behind the scenes and with the creation of the film, it still manages to come out strong thanks to the script and largely the cast. Peyton Reed did an admirable job behind the camera as well breathing life into many of the action sequences in the film. The action due to the shrinking nature of it all, was a breath of fresh air as it added comedy to the sequences that you wouldn't normally get seeing Thor or Captain America taking out enemies in hasty and visceral manner. The writing of the script had plenty of hands on it, of course, starting with Edgar Wright and according to the rest of the crew the script had largely been unchanged from his original draft. Adam McKay and Paul Rudd finished the script and I'd imagine they injected their humor into it as well as help connecting it to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe and they did a fantastic job of doing so while keeping it a rather singular focused film. However, the film does still suffer from the growing problem within the universe that the villains for each film is a bit lackluster. Corey Stoll's Darren Cross is a good foil to Hank Pym but he is a bit of a mustache twirling villain filled with clichés and not enough development to make us even see his side of things.
Paul Rudd does a terrific job in the role of Scott Lang. He is the right amount of endearing, charming and funny all the while not making the part campy. Rudd also excels with his dry humor in scenes where he relieves the tension in a scene. Evangeline Lilly in the role of Hope, Pym's daughter, does a good job as she brings the right amount of toughness to her character and has plenty of chemistry with both Rudd and Douglas. In fact, one scene in particular with Douglas is very emotional that helps endear both characters to the audience and makes you feel for both of them. Michael Douglas however is the true star of the film as he breathes life into the character of Pym and every scene that he is in benefits greatly. Surprisingly, Michael Pena as Lang's friend Luis benefits by having some of the most memorable laughs in the film and just about every word out of his mouth is hysterical.