Being part of the Marvel Comics Universe, Ant-Man is both a stand-alone movie and another chapter of The Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America universe. For entertainment purposes, this film stands alone with multiple “Easter eggs” found in the fabric of the film.
Meet Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), a gifted scientist who works in association with Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) and S.H.I.E.L.D., circa 1989. Professor Pym discovers a scientific breakthrough, but he does not want to share it with S.H.I.E.L.D., an organization that he is losing faith in. Pym goes into exile and contemplates his family’s future.
Enter Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a divorced father who spent time in jail for stealing money from a thieving corporation to give it back to those who lost it. Lang has a hard time landing a rent-paying job and has a harder time providing child support for his adorable daughter. Despite his prison record, Professor Pym spots a nobler quality in Lang and recruits him.
From the movie poster alone, one can deduce that Pym’s scientific breakthrough is to create a suit that shrinks a normal-sized man to the size of the ant, while obtaining extra strength and faster speed. Like Mickey from the Rocky series, Pym trains Lang to be the best Ant-Man he can be.
Not since Captain America: The First Avenger has Marvel provided us with an origin story. It is a timely move that reboots the franchise for people entering Phase 2 of the Marvel Universe and reduces the complication of knowing the relationships between many costumed characters.
In fact, the scale is so reduced that the big showdown occurs in a children’s bedroom, with sly nods to a child’s evening spent reading comic books and playing with non-electronic games.
Ant-Man delivers good old-fashioned popcorn-eating Saturday Matinee fun and may be the last hurrah for the blockbuster summer of 2015.