Marvel continues to add characters to its line-up. Paul Rudd (known for his comedy films) leads the cast as Scott Lang, Michael Douglas (in my house, we know him for Romancing the Stone, The Jewel of the Nile, and American President) is Dr. Hanky Pym, while Evangeline Lily (we’ll see her in the Hobbit movies as Tauriel) is his daughter, Hope Van Dyne. Judy Greer (from 27 Dresses) is Scott’s ex, Maggie, David Dastmachian (Murdoc from the 2016 MacGyver) is Kurt, and Anthony Mackie makes an appearance as the Falcon. Hayley Atwell and John Slattery reprise their roles as Peggy Carter and an older Howard Stark in the prologue to the film, which is set in 1989, while the Triskelion is being built. Hank storms in to confront Stark, claiming he’s stealing his research. Howard and Peggy attempt to calm Hank down, but the other man in attendance, Mitchell Carson makes a crack about Hank’s deceased wife. Hank punches him and resigns, while Stark pleads that Hank’s research is revolutionary science and they need him. Hank declares that no one will get the formula to his Pym Particles as long as he lives. Peggy assures them that Hank is not a security risk and Stark agrees with her, unless they make him one.
In present times, there is a fight going on in jail, which is actually a weird good-bye ritual the inmates do when someone leaves. Scott’s buddy Luis picks him up and lets him crash at his place until Scott can find a job. Though Luis first offers another criminal job, but Scott insists he is finished with that. He wants to be able to see his daughter and doesn’t want to get arrested again. Scott feels with a Master’s in Electrical Engineering, he’ll find a job easily. Not so much. He ends up at Baskin-Robbins (dealing with an idiot customer), but his record is found out and he’s fired. Luis, joined by Dave and Kurt, offer the criminal job again. Scott again insists he is out, and emphasizes that he burgles, which involves not threatening. But when he visits his daughter’s birthday party and speaks to his ex-wife, he realizes he needs to do something to make money so he can have a chance at visiting his daughter. [It is rather sweet that his daughter absolutely adores him and later, her mother even defends her ex-husband, saying he’s not a bad man, just confused.]
Meanwhile, at Hank’s company, he makes a rare appearance when the new head of the company, Darren Cross, has an announcement. Hank’s daughter, Hope is working for Darren and is cold to her father. But afterwards, it’s shown to be a partial act; she’s helping her father take down Darren. Darren has found Hank’s old “Ant-Man” research, about shrinking people down to the size of an insect and carrying out covert work. Darren has developed the Yellow-Jacket suit and touts it as an “all purpose weapon of war,” (and sounds a lot more dangerous for the world.) Hope insists to her father in their plans that she can use the suit. Hank tells her he’s found a guy.
Scott agrees to the criminal job, which is to break into an old man’s house and break into the safe (explained through a rambling story). Scott proves to be a bit of a MacGyver [which is ironic with the Murdoc of the newer series sitting there], but when he opens the safe, there’s only a strange suit inside. He takes it anyways and gets out. Out of curiosity, he tries on the suit later and pushes the buttons on the gloves. He shrinks down and a voice echoes in the helmet, telling him it will be his trail by water (since Luis is starting a shower). Scott then falls through a crack in the floor and begins his adventure. When he returns to normal size, Scott tries to return the suit, but is caught by the police.
Hank visits Scott at the station and offers him a choice. He explains that he had set up the case for Scott and watched him the whole time. If he wants a second chance, await further instructions. With the suit, Scott is able to escape prison and finds his way back to Hank’s house, where he meets Hope, who is not happy for Scott to be brought into the plan. Turns out, Hank has been watching Scott since his burglary and how he beat the security system. Hank fills Scott in and Scott’s first reaction is that they should call the Avengers. No, Hank won’t let Stark near his technology and the Avengers are too busy dropping cities out of the sky (a callback to Age of Ultron, but at least a character is aware enough that hey, this is a universe with the Avengers, they can help). Hank needs Scott to be Ant-Man (and Hank won’t risk his daughter). So they begin training, Hope reluctantly helping, though she seems to enjoy beating Scott up. Hank warns Scott against messing with the suit too much, primarily the regulator; he risks entering the Quantum Realm where he would continue shrinking for all time. When Hope storms out, Scott talks to her, admitting that he’s the expendable part of this plan, because he recognizes that Hank does not want to risk Hope. And Hank finally admits what really happened to his wife; they were a team years ago, she was the Wasp, and while on a mission, she entered the Quantum Realm in order to take out a missile, but she never returned. Hope understands more now.
Part of their plan requires a bit of Stark tech, so Scott is sent to an old warehouse in upstate New York. Turns out that old Stark property has been turned into the new Avengers compound (that we saw in Ultron). And Sam is on patrol and his goggles allow him to spot shrunken Scott. There is a rather good fight between the two, Scott going between being shrunk and normal-sized, and he manages to get into the building and retrieves the item they need. Then he shrinks into Falcon’s suit and messes with it, so Sam can’t follow (and Sam requests that Cap never finds out about this).
They hit a bit of a snag when Darren Cross, who has managed to successfully shrink a lamb, is at Hank’s home. Hope keeps her cover, but they have to move fast now. Hank has promised to be at Cross’s next announcement, so Scott suggests calling in his buddies to help, though Hank and Hope don’t hold much hope in their skills. Scott pays a quick visit to his daughter at night before he goes on the mission. Luis is the security guard inside, who helps Scott enter through the water main. When the cops show up to arrest Hank for springing Scott from a holding cell, his buddies distract the cops so Hank can get in. Scott uses his training to plant bombs throughout the building and almost has the Yellow Jacket suit in his grasp, but Cross was onto him. He’s ready to sell his tech to Hydra, though he holds on to the shrinking solution for more money. He threatens Hank and Scott manages to escape, though Hank is still shot. In the chaos, Cross escapes with the suit, they send Scott after him. Hank had shrunk a tank, so he and Hope use that to escape. Cross causes more damage, but the good guys exit the building before it explodes. Then Cross puts on the suit and heads to Scott’s daughter’s home, knowing Scott will follow him. They shrink down and have a fight amongst the girl’s toys (which is a bit funny to watch from the outside). Scott has to go subatomic to enter Cross’s suit and he’s almost lost in the Quantum Realm, but hears his daughter calling for him and switches the regulator so he can get out. Cross is destroyed and Scott patches the relationship up between his ex, her fiancé, and his daughter. He also begins kissing Hope, though they’re caught.
Luis has another rambling story that the Falcon is looking for Scott. Which ties in with the scene at the end of the credits that we now know is part of Civil War, where Sam tells Steve he knows a guy who can help. In the credits, Hank also gives Hope the Wasp suit he was working on; he knows he should have her as part of that world now.
Ant-Man is not one of my favorite Marvel films, mainly because I don’t like bugs and I don’t want to see enlarged ants on screen. The story is pretty good and the actors are wonderful; it just doesn’t drag me in. Though, the daughter is adorable. And I like how this is still exploding the Marvel universe, showing Hank working with Peggy and Howard Stark, and mentioning other Avengers.
So, next up is Captain America: Civil War [and I have more of an opinion on this one]