Look, the cast is perfectly fine. Paul Rudd may not be anybody’s idea of a super-hero, but he has that goofy self-deprecating charm going for him. Michael Douglas is perfectly acceptable as the mentor/guru dude. Evangeline Lilly is very attractive, and when she throws a punch it looks like it would really hurt. The supporting cast is top-notch too – veterans like Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Pena, and Judy Greer. No, the problem isn’t the cast – the problem is the script.
There is an insane amount of exposition for a superhero movie. Do we really need a lesson in quantum physics before we get to the big fight scene? Can’t they just yadda-yadda-yadda over the science stuff, and throw in another five scenes of Paul Rudd running around with ants? The big battle between Ant-Man and his rival, Wasp Dude (?) is a great set-piece, but it just takes too long to get there.
As long as I’m bitching about stuff, I could have used a little more comic relief too. Paul Rudd gets some good lines, and Michael Pena is funny too, but Judy Greer is just sort of wasted as the ex-wife,1 and Corey Stoll could have camped it up more as the villain, Bee-Man (?). And what is Wood Harris doing playing a cop in a tiny role? He was big boss Avon Barksdale on The Wire, somebody give him a real part.
The movie is mostly redeemed by the special effects, which really need to be seen in 3D to be appreciated. The ant-size world is great, but the most impressive effect in the movie is showing a young Michael Douglas in a sort of prequel sequence. They really managed to make him look like himself circa Gordon Gekko or so. Plus, there is a (spoiler alert) view of the quantum universe that looks like the cover of Tommy, so that’s cool too.
The movie is a lot of fun in 3D, and as an ‘origin story,’ it doesn’t have the backstory baggage of other Avengers/Marvel Universe movies. Paul Rudd is more relatable than Chris Hemsworth as Thor, but maybe lacks the swagger of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. In general, Ant-Man is around a B plus.