When I heard that Paul Rudd, the guy I knew from the high school comedy Clueless, had been cast as the newest addition to the Avengers franchise, I was skeptical. I didn't think he was the kind of guy that could pull off playing a superhero, but he pleasantly surprised me. I sympathized with his character Scott Lang, an ex-convict who is finding it impossible to get a job or reconnect with his young daughter because of his record. I thought his interactions with her were adorable and heartfelt (he calls her "peanut," how cute is that?). They were a nice contrast to the strained relationship between Hank Pym and his daughter Hope van Dyne.
Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, and Hope are plotting to take down Pym's old mentee Darren Cross. Cross is developing his own shrink formula despite Pym's attempts to keep it under wraps, so Pym enlists Scott's help to steal it and shut Cross down. For it being a Marvel movie, I expected there to be a lot more action, but most of the plot involved planning the heist of Cross' work. During that time, a lot of the development focused on Pym and his daughter and the fact that Pym is so overprotective of her that he won't let her wear the Ant-Man suit for the heist, even though she has better knowledge of Cross' facilities and more experience with the Ant-Man technology. Frankly, I found it an overused theme, and I also couldn't imagine Pym being like that if Hope were a son. Thankfully the mid credits scene (spoiler!) made it up to me.
The movie also had me laughing a few times. Scott was funny in an awkward way, but his Hispanic friend/fellow thief was by far the most hilarious. Scott's conversations with Hope were fun to watch as well, even if you can see their romance coming from a thousand miles away. Seriously, when don't they pair a male and female character up? Finally, of course, there are plenty of cameos and references that reminded me of this film's ties to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Awesome bonus for Marvel nerds like me. Admittedly, if you're not already a Marvel fan, Ant-Man is not the first film I would recommend to make you fall head-over-heels in love with the franchise. It is, however, still an entertaining film that will make you laugh and cry and cheer for the characters. I applaud Paul Rudd for pulling off such a charming new character and I look forward to seeing him in future installments.