Ant-Man
 
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Ant-Man

If you can hang in there an hour and a half, this latest Marvel installment does, finally, deliver. But why do we have to wait so long?

For far too much of this shoulda-been-a-no-brainer, the story of master thief Scott Lang turned superpowered avenger clomps along, telling us the plot, but not feeling the story. We know Michael Douglas  (indestructible as Dr. Pym) has been protecting his secret Ant-Man suit from the evil exploiter Darren Cross (an underused Corey Stoll). And it’s pretty clear the doctor’s daughter, supposedly torn between the two, will find not just her true cutie-pie, but also her inner tentacles. Still, we wait. The initial effect laden intro for Scott to enter the world of the teeny looks okay, but it’s nothing much more innovative than what we saw years ago in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Eventually, after the five credited screenwriters give way to a big blow up of a finale, with Ant-Man taking on Yellowjacket and saving his young daughter in the process, director Peyton Reed lets the CGI guys take over. That’s when Ant Man fills its gigantic trademarked potential.

But, back to that 90 minutes of regular stuff. There are some very good actors working here but hardly any of them are allowed to do what we know they can. Is somebody going to let Judy Greer do something other than worry about her endangered children pretty soon? And what a waste of Bobby Cannavale: a terrific actor who’s nothing more than a prop here. Hope reigns for Evangeline Lilly’s Hope but the biggest disappointment is Paul Rudd’s diminutive lead. Why cast one of the most charming actors in movies today and then hardly ever give him a moment to do his signature thing? Chris Pratt was treated the same demeaning way in Jurassic World. It’s about time Hollywood truly appreciated the off-center appeal of some of its actors the same way their fans do.

 

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