Posted on July 16, 2015 at 5:48 pm

Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence
Profanity: A few bad words
Alcohol/ Drugs: Alcohol
Violence/ Scariness: Extensive comic-book style action violence, characters injured
Diversity Issues: Diverse characters
Date Released to Theaters: July 17, 2015
Date Released to DVD: December 7, 2015 ASIN: B011DHP3GY

San Diego Comic-Con is known for big, loud, and splashy promotions for movies and television series, especially those featuring superheroes.  So it was a delight to come across the tiny “billboard” for “Ant-Man,” smaller than a shoebox, that was the only indication that a major comic book movie was about to open.   That same wry, refreshingly unassuming tone lends a lot of charm to a superhero character whose powers may seem at first unimpressive.

Copyright Disney 2015
Copyright Disney 2015

And the man who plays that character brings a lot of charm as well.  Paul Rudd, for two decades one of the most appealing actors in Hollywood, plays Scott, an electrical engineer turned Occupy Wall Street-style Robin Hood, about to be released from prison after three years, and determined to go straight and spend as much time as possible with his young daughter.

But no one wants to hire an ex-con, and when he gets a job at Baskin-Robbins by not telling them about his record, they find out and fire him.  Desperate to make the child support payments he needs to be able to get visitation rights, he agrees to crack a safe that his friend Luis (Michael Peña) promises him is a sure thing.  It isn’t.  The only thing in the safe is a strange-looking suit.

It is the invention of Dr. Pym (Michael Douglas), who trains Scott to become Ant-Man, able to shrink himself to the size of an ant and to bring with him legions of ants.  He can ride a flying ant and he can send stinging ants to torment his foes.

His foe in this case is a rival scientist who wants to weaponize the shrinking technology.  And there is also the rival scientist’s most trusted colleague, Hope (Evangeline Lilly).

There is a “Honey I Shrunk the Superhero” element to the story, and director Peyton Reed has a lot of fun with it.  Scott has one scene in an architect’s model rendering of a new facility and another in a child’s room, where the thundering locomotive turns out to be, to normal-sized eyes, a Thomas the Tank engine toy.  Rudd is just right as the sincere, smart guy who wants to do the right thing and Douglas is terrifically charismatic as Pym.  There’s nothing snarky or air quote-ish about the story, but there is a recognition that this is a superhero the size of a grain of rice.  In this case, that’s super enough.

NOTE: Stay THROUGH the credits for TWO extra scenes, one involving members of a very special group of crime-fighters starting with an A.

Parents should know that this film includes extensive comic-book/superhero peril and violence, guns, fights, animal and human characters injured ad killed, some disturbing images, family issues including divorce, child support, and custody, some strong language

Family discussion:  Why did Dr. Pym trust Scott?  Which of Ant-Man’s powers would you like to have and how would you use them?

If you like this, try: “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “The Avengers,” and “Iron Man” and some other shrinking person movies like “The Incredible Shrinking Man” and “Fantastic Voyage”

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Comic book/Comic Strip/Graphic Novel DVD/Blu-Ray Pick of the Week Scene After the Credits Superhero

3 Replies to “Ant-Man”

  1. Notice that the mother is holding the protagonist’s daughter hostage for money that she didn’t seem to need, given that she had accepted another man’s support. Visitation and child support are legally separate, so the premise is illegal and morally suspect.

    1. Thanks, Mr. Cubbins, and hope you’re staying out of the oobleck. Yes, the two issues are normally separate as a matter of law, but given Scott’s crime and prison record and her financial advantage over him, his ex had some leverage that would have made it very difficult for him to make his case.

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