The latest Marvel comic book superhero to get their own film is actually one of the company’s oldest characters.
Ant-Man made his first appearance in the Tales to Astonish comic in September 1962.
He was scientist Hank Pym, who’d invented a chemical that allowed him to shrink to the size of an ant.
This film is one of Marvel’s best, despite the character’s erratic history in print. The company always had trouble making this power interesting.
When it launched the Avengers superhero comic he was one of the original team—alongside the Hulk, Iron Man and Thor. The enormously succesful film series has so far not felt the need to include him.
The character underwent numerous revamps. He stopped being small and became Giant Man in 1963, before long changing his name to Goliath.
He shrunk again to become Yellow Jacket in 1968 and finally reverted to Ant-Man in 1973. Six years later Pym retired and Scott Lang became Ant-Man.
In the film Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a convicted burglar who redeems himself when he’s chosen by Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), the original Ant-Man, to replace him.
They team up to stop evil corporate Boss Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) from selling Pym’s shrinking technology to the military.
The film manages to integrate over 50 years of comicbook continuity into a film that’s fun without being disparaging to the source material.
There’s a nice understated class dimension to the plot.
Scott’s friends from his prison days help him fight big business and a bumbling police force. Michael Pena as Luis, one of his friends, steals every scene he’s in.
The script is funny and the special effects are—very—special with nods to classic science fiction films The Incredible Shrinking Man and Fantastic Voyage.
The sequence where the tiny Ant-Man and supervillain Yellow Jacket fight on a toy railway track is brilliant.
Don’t let “superhero fatigue” stop you seeing this film—tales to astonish indeed.
Directed by Peyton Reed