As the credits began to roll in the movie theater, I sat there, staring blankly at the screen, and feeling brain-dead. Somewhere in the process of Ant-Man shrinking and unshrinking, and Marvel Studios totally "shrinking" its efforts to give Michael Douglas any decent lines, my brain started shrinking as well. Good thing I had one of those magical discs to insert in my reactor and allow my brain to return to its normal size. Had it not been for that, my brain would still be sub-atomic, and I'd be unable to warn you of the brain shrinking side effects of this film.
The set up for the part of the movie we are actually interested in, the ridiculously funny little Ant-Man-superhero kicking ass (I know you guys saw the hilarious train scene from the trailer), takes forever and then some. But that's not even the biggest problem. Not only does it take more time than our 21st century attention spans are able to focus on, this movie looks like a highly mechanized robot being put together, literally, as the Ant-Man is assembled, and figuratively, as the mechanics of the script are shoved down our throat.
Meet Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), the soon to be Ant-Man, basically a modern-day Robin Hood who goes to jail. He's an electrical engineer, amazing computer hacker who steals from the rich to give to the poor, and obviously hot — it's Paul Rudd! He comes out of jail and, surprise, he can't get work, even Baskin Robbins fires him.
Meet Luis (Michael Peña), Scott's good friend who knows some "crazy-stupid-fine" chicks and just so happens to have an amazing job for Scott to make money. Only problem is the job requires him to once again return to the criminal life. Uh-oh!
Meet Cassie Lang (Abby Ryder Fortson), Scott's unbelievably adorable little daughter who loves her father, even though he's been in jail for years and she hasn't seen him much. And she will continue to not see him if he doesn't come up with a lot of overdue pension money he owes the mother. In other words, meet our protagonist's motive to do anything in this movie.
Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) is the brilliant scientist who figures out a way to shrink our atoms, only problem is his lines and his relationship with his daughter, and everyone else, is very mechanically cheesy. "There's a reason why I buried these secrets," Pym dramatically says to Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), his former protégé who has now turned on him and wants to go off shrinking atoms on his own. Cross (by the way, he's our villain, although, not really) questions why Pym abandoned him, and Pym says, again dramatically, "Because I saw myself in you. I saw too much of myself." Something along those lines, anyways.
What are these buried secrets, you ask? That line is delivered with so much drama you would think it was something along the lines of THE WORLD WILL END if these secrets are unburied. But, pffft, it's just Pym's wife who died because she shrunk herself too much. Not to be insensitive, but isn't that her problem? I think we should all take responsibility for our own shrinkage issues.
Dr. Pym and his daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly), that relationship was just, wow, so inorganic. Pym sends her to boarding school after the mother dies, he never actually reveals to her how she died. Pym grows up with profound hatred for the father. Later, father reveals to daughter everything was done for her own protection, and yada-yada-yada, that same old story of it was done for your own good.
Although Hope is THE queen of the ants, able to fully control and manipulate them into throwing several sugar cubes into her coffee, Dr. Pym chooses Scott to be the Ant-Man, because he's expendable. Hope still has some remorse though and doesn't fully recognize her father's love for her until Scott says, "He'd rather lose this fight than lose you, Hope." And then suddenly a bell rings inside her and she's like, ohmigod, my daddy loves me. Although in the post-credits we get a stinger scene of daddy revealing to Hope there's a special Ant-Woman suit just for her. So now it's suddenly okay for her to go out and risk her life? Marvel Studios needs a sequel so who cares about the father/daughter relationship.
But back to our superhero, Ant-Man. Scott has a strong motive to enter this risky shrinking business, the cutesy daughter, and an explanation that was shoved down our throats in regards to how he even got involved with Dr. Pym (the doctor thinks everyone deserves a shot at redemption and he was just so impressed with Scott and his Robin Hood adventures). Now what about the villain? The laws of physics state that for every superhero action, there must be a villain reaction, of EQUAL and OPPOSITE forces. Not in this case, however.
Meet Daren Cross, the bald and innocuous villain. What does he do? He zaps sheep into little blobs of blood. He also zaps Frank, this guy he doesn't really like, into blood-blob. Then he says, in a frightening tone, "Goodbye Frank," and he washes his hands. Scary stuff. He's really just there to pop in whenever the script needs him for major villainous plot points, such as, the hilarious fighting sequence on the toy train set. That was the best scene. I'm still laughing.
Overall though, because the funny scenes are already in the trailer, I would say, save your money, stay home, and avoid any sub-atomic brain shrinkage. The magical disks don't always work, there's shrinkage issues, it's just not worth the risk…