Movie review: "Ant-Man" takes a tiny take on another superhero story

Brad Keefe, Columbus Alive

I just want to point out that "Ant-Man" is the twelfth movie in the "Marvel Cinematic Universe" and that there are ten more in the works. That's not counting the Marvel movies that came before 2008's "Iron Man" or anything from DC (who just announced they're giving The Green Lantern another shot).

So, as I have confessed previously, I'm in the throes of a bit of superhero movie fatigue. Still, "Ant-Man" is enough of a diversion from the norm - if based solely on the difference of its tiny hero - to stoke a little freshness.

Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang, a divorced dad who is just getting out of prison for a Robin Hood-esque crime. As he tries to make his way back into his young daughter's life, he learns work is hard to find for an ex-con.

His discovery of a technology-powered super-suit that can shrink the wearer down to the size of an ant changes things.

"Ant-Man" travels down the checklist of superhero origin stories in a way that feels plenty familiar, although it does so with a bit more humor than most - the casting of Rudd is a pretty good hint.

Where things feel a bit more fresh - at least in the superhero realm - is when things get small. Rudd's first encounter with the Ant-Man costume is an effects-heavy take on turning the everyday into the enormous. Think "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" meets "Spider-Man."

Director Peyton Reed - who replaced original director Edgar Wright of "Shaun of the Dead" and "Scott Pilgrim" - has a lot of fun with the concept, though it is at times a hindrance. Epic battles on tiny scales can be a bit less breathtaking. To paraphrase "Spinal Tap," you have a Stonehenge model onscreen that's in danger of being crushed by a dwarf.

Rudd seems suited to follow Chris Pratt's path from funnyman to screen hero, and he keeps the proceedings light as we slag through the typical exposition and explanation.

Even if the excitement wears off down the stretch - the movie could be 15 minutes tighter, not counting the two credits scenes the fans will stay for - "Ant-Man" has enough difference to break the superhero doldrums.


Opens Friday

3 stars out of 4