ant-manOddly, it was The Wife who said, “We need to see a movie,” before the school year went on for too long, and we were buried in homework hell. Of the three movies playing at the nearby Madison Theatre, we’d seen one film, and I actively didn’t want to see the second (Pixels). The obvious choice was to see Ant-Man.

I had read comic books for a number of years, so I knew that the original Ant-Man was Hank Pym. Of all the early Marvel characters, this one was arguably the most boring. So it was interesting that this version of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) has hidden away for three decades the technology that allowed him to shrink down to the size of an industrious insect.

But now he needs to find someone to put on the suit with the ability to shrink, yet increase in strength. He engages cat burglar-for-a-good-cause Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to pull off a heist that will stop the evil plans of Pym’s former protege Darren Cross (Corey Stoll). And what side is Pym’s daughter, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), angry about her mother’s mysterious death, really on?

My spouse, who knows next to nothing about the Marvel universe, really liked the film and appreciated the way the various ants behaved. The Daughter was likewise pleased. Neither had ever seen a Marvel movie.

I too was pleased. I found the Lang character interesting and compelling character who loves his young daughter, and is resistant to the lure of another heist until, being unemployable because of his record, his buddies (Michael Peña as Luis, and others) push him into a “sure thing”.

There’s been a lot of analysis in the 80% positive reviews about where this film falls into the Marvel universe, and whether the movie was “big” enough. Not having seen any Marvel movie in three years – STILL haven’t seen the first Avengers film yet – I find the question superfluous. I’m watching THIS movie, and I’m less concerned about where it fits in the big picture.

Others complained that the setup – the initial heist and figuring out the suit – took too long. I SO disagree. It was the struggle that gave the character of Lang some depth. There was plenty of action in the third act.

Both The Wife and I have become fascinated how Bobby Cannavale has evolved from bad guy roles to the dad, or, in this case, the surrogate dad, to Lang’s daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson) as well as beau to Scott’s ex, Maggie (Judy Greer).

Early in the credits – so happy to see comic artist Jack Kirby’s name up there, as well as writers Stan Lee and his brother, Larry Lieber. Then there was a tease. But one must wait until the VERY end for a future plot twist.

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