I'll admit it: I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's had its ups and downs for me, but no true disappointment yet. I was nervous going into Ant-Man. I knew about the very public mess of Edgar Wright leaving the film. At the very least I would get to enjoy Paul Rudd for two hours, right?
Paul Rudd is a big plus. His charming on-screen presence is as evident as ever. He's effortlessly funny and sweet. He's not the only treat in the cast. Evangeline Lilly is terrific as Hope, Hank Pym's estranged daughter. She wants to be Ant-Man and has trained for it most of her life, but her father is firmly against it. I love that even if her father wouldn't make her a suit she wouldn't stand idly by. She'd risk her life as a civilian to make the world a better place.
One of the biggest delights of the film were the tip montages. Paul Rudd's Scott Lang is a former criminal who just got out of prison. His friend and former cellmate Luis is also recently released, and passes along rumors in a very roundabout way. Luis's monologues, as delivered by Michael Peña, are a delight - especially with the way they're acted out.
The heist film structure of Ant-Man helps it stand out from the rest of the MCU. It fits in, but it also manages to do its own thing. Yes, it still ends in a climatic fight, but a much smaller one. And a pretty imaginative one - Thomas the Tank Engine isn't the only delight in that final match-up (although it is a large one).
If you're looking for laughter, action, and redemption, then Ant-Man is a pretty darn fun summer movie. It definitely exceeded my small expectations.