'Ant-Man' is fairly good fun when not bogged down in exposition

( PG-13 ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

'Ant-Man' stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, an ex-con who gains the power to be tiny but as powerful as a full-grown man, and bringing Rudd on was good casting. 

Zade Rosenthal/Disney/Marvel/AP
'Ant-Man' stars Paul Rudd.

As Marvel superheroes go, Ant-Man doesn’t seem very high in the pantheon. It’s all a bit confusing: He’s tiny but as powerful as a full-grown man. At times he expands to normal size, and then he’s tiny again, bouncing through storm drains and air shafts, dodging rats and cars and people’s feet. Size matters when it comes to superheroes, and Ant-Man, at least for me, is at least one size too many.

Now that I’ve cleared my throat, I admit that “Ant-Man,” starring Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, the genial ex-con who ends up as the shape-shifty Marvel marvel, is fairly good fun, especially around the edges, when it’s not bogged down in exposition. (My favorite moment comes during a high-tech break-in, when one of Ant-Man’s human-size helpmates, well-played by Michael Peña, sings a few bars from “It’s a Small World After All.”)

Rudd is a good choice to play this hero because his derring-do is made to seem both suspenseful and risible. His nemesis, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), the renegade protégé of good-guy scientist Dr. Pym (Michael Douglas), creator of the clandestine Pym Particle that gives rise to Ant-Man, is a standard-issue baldheaded meanie, which by contrast somehow makes Ant-Man’s exploits seem even loopier.

I wish the film had gone even further into loopiness. Like Ant-Man, the film, directed by Peyton Reed, comes in two sizes  – it’s sometimes big on laughs but often small on risk-taking. Grade: B- (Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence.)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.