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Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

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Ant-Man online movie review - "Ant-Man"- A fantastically entertaining entry in the ever-growing Marvel Universe, even if it is a slave to formula...

One of the more interesting things about Marvel's ever-expanding Cinematic Universe is the ability to take second-tier characters that people have barely heard of and generate pretty consistent high- quality adaptations that wow audiences and bring in droves of new fans and supporters.

Whether it be with the deliciously subversive "Guardians of the Galaxy", the mind-melting fantasy adventure "Doctor Strange" or indeed 2015's highly entertaining heist-thriller "Ant- Man." Marvel knows how to spin the most peculiar of properties into gold. Not only is "Ant-Man" a strong entry into the overall franchise, but it's also one of the most endearing and entertaining chapters yet, even if it can be a slave to formulaic storytelling at times.

Comedic actor Paul Rudd stars as Scott Lang, a genius burglar whose just gotten out of prison and is seeking to escape his life of crime so that he can become a part of his young daughter's life again. However, monetary worries forces him to pull that fabled "one last job", which he soon discovers is really a test orchestrated by brilliant scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), who is seeking a protégé to take on the mantle of the "Ant-Man"... a superhero-like figure with the ability to shrink to the size of an insect that Pym once operated as years prior. He needs a new Ant-Man in order to pull of a heist against his evil former business apprentice Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), who is becoming dangerously close to discovering the secret behind Pym's shrinking technology, and cannot be trusted with the immense power it affords. And so, Hank and his beautiful daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) must train Scott to become the new Ant-Man in order to save the day.

The beating heart that helps elevate the film is the wonderful cast and the infectiously entertaining tone that it excels at crafting. Rudd, best known for his comedic turns in numerous television and film roles excels as the endlessly likable Scott Lang, a good- hearted man who got pulled into the seedy underworld of crime but never lost his sense of humor or humanity. I was apprehensive when he was first announced, but within mere seconds of being introduced on-screen, you'll completely be behind him. Douglas adds a great sense of class to the proceedings and makes for a great mentor- figure. Lilly is quite good in her supporting role as Hope, and gives a lot of pathos and emotion as a woman who feels somewhat overlooked and neglected by her father, due to a terrible event from their past together. And Stoll makes for an adequately threatening and increasingly unhinged villain who serves as a sort-of dark contrast to Hope... he too feels abandoned by Pym, but rather than trying to deal with it in a healthy way, obsesses over him and tries to out-do him no matter the stake. Supporting roles by the likes of Judy Greer, Abby Ryder Fortson and Bobby Cannavale are extremely well cast. But special props definitely go to outstanding Michael Peña in a small supporting role as Scott's friend Luis. I won't spoil his character, but suffice to say, he's perhaps the breakout here.

Director Peyton Reed crafts a highly entertaining and surprisingly light and breezy atmosphere that aids greatly in making the film a very good watch. He isn't afraid to deliver the gags and thrills at a mile-a-minute and never feels pressured to bog the film down with needless grit and grime like so many other comic-book adaptations. He allows the film to be a stellar piece of entertainment first and foremost. The expert mixing of the structure of a classic heist caper with the broad elements of comedy give the film's structure and core a very unique and warm feeling. Without a doubt one of the most fun entries in the entire cinematic saga Marvel has thus-far crafted. And despite no longer being involved, you can occasionally catch glimpses of former writer/director Edgar Wright's contributions to the film, which gives it a fun, nerdy flair that fans will surely appreciate. Fear not... despite Wright leaving early on in the production, you still feel his fingerprints during key scenes.

However, despite the praise I've sung, I cannot say it's a film without fault. And the biggest issue here is that it is a movie very much devoted to formula. Even a slave to it. If you're at all familiar with film theory or structure, there won't be too many surprises in store, and it can become a tad predictable in its second and third acts. Even though it can occasionally subvert what you expect, it doesn't do it often enough to feel completely fresh, and it may turn some movie- fans off if they can't disconnect from it and just appreciate the film for it's good humor and grand performances.

Thankfully, it's not an issue in any way for me. Yes, you can see the twists and turns coming from a mile away and the character-arcs are all conspicuously obvious... but the film is too much fun for you to care. You'll get dozens of great laughs by the time the credits role, there's a ton of thrilling and wildly creative action that makes good use of the shrinking-man concept, the roles are all ideally cast with wonderful performers, and there's even some nice heartwarming moments peppered in. Oh, and the funniest (and scariest) children's toy ever, which alone is worth the cost of admission.

All-in-all, while not one of Marvel's absolute best, "Ant-Man" is definitely a personal favorite, and it comes highly recommended. Everyone I know who has seen it has adored it (and that includes people in their teens, 20's... all the way up through their 70's!) and it's some of the most fun I've had with a film in the past few years. "Ant-Man" is a very good 8 out of 10.

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