WHILE its mantra so far has been �bigger is better�, Marvel has refreshingly toned down the spectacle for its latest entry in its cinematic universe.
With a narrower scope in both story and action than others of its ilk, Ant-Man is another in the seemingly endless superhero film onslaught but with enough charm and imagination to have cinemagoers return.
Recently released from prison, skilful burglar Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is trying to put his life back together, which includes having to prove himself to his ex-wife Maggie (Judy Greer) that he is worthy of fathering their bright daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson).
Desperate to get back on track, he reluctantly slips back into crime after a tip off there is loot in a house that turns out to belong to scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas).
A safe contains what appears to be merely a full body suit, but is actually Dr Pym�s invention that shrinks people down to ant size while increasing their strength.
Dr Pym persuades Scott to don the suit to stop Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) who (naturally) wants to use the technology for bad and not good.
The story�s theme boils down to father/son relationships, however the sentiment is lost amidst clunky dialogue and awkwardly performed scenes.
The build up and explanation of the �rules� means the film takes a while to get going, with less action and more science jargon than many may care for, but patience pays off, with the viewer being rewarded with some of the most amusing and inventive action sequences.
Instead of cities being levelled in extended and overblown sequences, one-on-one battles take place amongst a child�s toys that look completely innocuous to regular-sized people.
It is the freshest concept in an otherwise routine film that plays all the same beats as other Marvel efforts.
Directed by: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll
Three and a half stars
Review by: Julian Wright
In cinemas now