Among the many Marvel movies, “Ant-Man” has the distinction of a looser story, a lighter, humorous vibe and more of an “everyman” lead in Paul Rudd. That willingness to mess with the Marvel formula (albeit ever so slightly) makes “Ant-Man” rise above some of the more portentous, interminable entries in the universe, and reminds the audience that a superhero movie should be more fun than heavy-handed. That leads to a number of charming sequences featuring Rudd acclimatizing to his new role and its requirements (including shrinking down to ant size), which also affords the movie a chance to show off its special effects in many entertaining scenes involving over-sized insects that lend our titular hero a helpful hand throughout the movie. Additionally, the rapport between Rudd and Michael Douglas is surprisingly light-hearted and lived-in, which makes the overarching narrative more intriguing than it may be on paper, thanks to both performers’ respective talents. However, the movie suffers from some of the same problems of the Marvel Universe, in particular its series of underwhelming villains (in this case, it’s Corey Stoll, who both overacts and sleepwalks through his role, which makes his characterization inconsistent and uninteresting), and a padded running time that leads to unnecessary subplots and diversions. It’s not one of the best of the Marvel Universe, but it’s one of the more charming and diverting ones.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)