For their second outing this year, box-office juggernauts Marvel have toned down from the monumental scale of Earth's Mightiest Heroes in Avengers: Age of Ultron to the smaller, sweeter hero that is Paul Rudd's Scott Lang. Heroes don't get any bigger and this studio doesn't get better, with Ant-Man.

When down-on-his-luck engineer Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) breaks into a vault but, instead of finding cash, encounters a strange suit that can make him shrink in size, his whole life is turned upside down. When he tries to return the suit, he is caught and put in a prison for theft. However, when ants bring him the suit, he uses its power to escape and seek the help of billionaire Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) - the man who created the Ant-Man suit. When Pym's former associate Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) comes close to replicating the piece of technology, Pym enlists the help of Lang to steal Cross' Yellowjacket suit when he finds out its to be used for bad, selfish reasons.

Marvel have a knack for making their superheros all glossy, epic and... well... heroic. Their films are typical blockbusters and we're used to seeing ambitious set pieces and big-budgeted action sequences. That's not to critique the studio though since their formula works and their films are a lot of fun. However, it's predictable. On the surface, Ant-Man looks much of the same but, whilst it hits similar beats, it's not. It has some of the studio's key trademarks but this is a film that breaks the conventions often associated with the MCU. Like the hero himself, this is a (surprisingly) small-scaled yet big-hearted project with characters that feel human and genuine and shows them as these raw, real people - not super soldiers, without flaw.

Not only is this the funniest Marvel film to grace the screen, giving even the humour in Guardians a run for its money, but it's also their most unique. It may be a superhero flick on paper but it's so much more. This is a heist film; smart and witty. It's an all-out comedy too; hilarious and endearing. The action is so unique and absurd and a real joy to watch on the big screen. The stakes aren't world threatening so there's a fear for our characters lives. Of course, as I'm sure you know, Edgar Wright was previously tapped to direct and you can clearly see his influences throughout the picture but that doesn't hinder Peyton Reed's clever and seamless direction and he does a great job taking the helm here.

The cast is formidable. Paul Rudd is a real wonder as Scott Lang. The actor brings a nice charisma and wit to the character. However, unlike most Marvel characters, he's vulnerable and we empathise with that. You feel for his situation amd buy into his love for his daughter, where his motivations derive from. Michael Douglas lights up the screen as Hank Pym, perfectly cast to play the former Ant-Man. It's always great seeing him on the big screen, especially here. He looks like he's having the time of his life.

Evangeline Lily is great too as the badass and tough Hope Van Dyke - one of Marvel's strongest female characters. Michael Peña is the breakout though, utterly hilarious and so relatable. Truth is, all the performances are good and add to the enjoyment of this feature. The one disappointment is perhaps Corey Stoll as our antagonist Darren Cross. This studio isn't very great for its villains (with few exceptions) and Yellowjacket isn't changing that. There's never a sense of fear or intimidation with his presence and his motivations are a bit pointless too.

VERDICT:
Ant-Man is Marvel at its best; funny, endearing, action-packed and loads of fun. For a smaller-scaled film for the studio, it packs the biggest heart and biggest laughs in the MCU yet. 
★★★★☆

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About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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