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Film review: Ant-Man

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★★★☆☆

Paul Rudd has always been an amiable sort of presence in comedies like Friends, Admission and I Love You Man (not to mention a few puzzling roles, such as Nick Carraway in ITV’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby and as the French President in Little Britain), but I would never have placed him as a superhero.

This kind of thing can go horribly wrong (e.g. Ryan Reynolds in Green Lantern), so it’s to both his and Marvel’s credit that they’ve managed to make Ant-Man, one of their more ridiculous heroes, work well on screen.

When I say it works well, this might be being a little generous, but there’s something so charming and likable about this set-up, from Rudd to scientist Evangeline Lilly to her father in the form of Michael Douglas, it’s the type of thing that seems so warm and friendly its hard to poke holes in it.

And (thank goodness) there's none of the smug, obnoxious humour that pervades the Avengers films. Of course, it’s preposterous at times – the plot involves shrinking a man to the size of an ant so he can steal something from a lab – but the film deals with its own preposterous elements well. There’s even an enormous Thomas the Tank Engine model crashing through a brick wall.

The film could have been derailed when would-be-director Edgar Wright exited before shooting began, though to be honest I’ve never understood the cult-appeal Wright seems to hold for many ardent fans. Peyton Reed does a more than adequate job at assembling together the occasionally clunky script into something workable.

There are some points when one's mind starts to wander and ask some awkward questions, like why are all Rudd’s criminal friends either non-white or foreign, why is Judy Greer playing more-or-less exactly the same role in this as she played in Jurassic World, and why does Evangeline Lilly remind one so much of Lena Heady?

But in the end the sheer sense of fun, enthusiasm and audacious confidence makes it easy to brush these difficulties under the carpet.

Oh and, by the way, there is a post-credits sequence that once again had Marvel fans in the screening I attended practically having multiple orgasms in their seats whilst I sat their puzzling at the significance of what I had just seen. Enjoy. 

Ant-Man is released in cinemas by Walt Disney Studios, Certificate 12A.

Watch the trailer below: 

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