As we’ve all seen over the past few years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is quickly expanding, bringing in new faces to meet in every new or rebooted instalment across multiple phases of the film and television franchise. Introducing the smallest citizen of the superheroic world with ‘Ant-Man’ is comedy director Peyton Reed. Cat burglar Scott Lang (Rudd) is determined to go straight following his release from prison, and to be a good role model for his young daughter. When things don’t go his way, he reluctantly agrees to ‘one last job’ in an effort to make a fast buck, leading him to the epicentre of an age old rivalry between retired scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his former protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll). Taking on the responsibility of a shrinking suit developed by Pym, Lang must retrieve a replica of the creation in order to stop Cross running amok with the potentially dangerous technology.
A slow-build origin opening makes for uneventful, and mostly tedious viewing as characters and back-stories are established, but as the superhero element eventually fights its way to the forefront at around the hour mark, the entertainment value is on the upturn. When Lang dons the suit and is micronized, the inventive special effects are impressive enough to distract from the predictable narrative. Changes in writing and directing duties in the pre-production stages of the project offer some inconsistencies in terms of style and the tone of the script. Edgar Wright flourishes appear both visually with playful camera tricks, and in Rudd’s well timed delivery of dialogue but with four men involved in the crafting of the screenplay, I fear it’s a case of too many writers spoil the script. Rudd holds his own in the lead part and although I struggled to accept him as a criminal mastermind, his likeability shines through what is an average at best cast.
It ties in nicely to the aforementioned MCU, and successfully gives scope to the possibilities of a wide collection of films that relate and intertwine with one another through in-jokes and cameos. ‘Ant-Man’ is by no means a poor film, and will sit quite happily in amongst the phases of the cinema Marvelogue. Paul Rudd’s performance as well as the admirable aesthetic mastery are the stand out highlights to this particular piece of the jigsaw, and while it may be good clean fun that will quite easily consume two hours of your hard earned weekend, it is little more than that.