In the 70s, Physicist and Entomologist Hank Pym discovered a special type of subatomic particles that can compress atoms together or push them apart, allowing objects to be either shrunk to the size of an insect or made gigantic; Hank named those subatomic particle "Pym Particles" and developed a special serum that can harness the Pym Particles as well as a special suit that allows humans to safely use the serum. However, Hank felt the Pym Particle is too dangerous so he refused to let anyone but himself use the suit, so for years he worked for S.H.I.E.L.D. as agent "Ant-Man". However, in 1989, Hank Pym quit S.H.I.E.L.D. after he caught Howard Stark experimenting on his Pym Particle Serum and because his wife had recently died in an incident involving Pym Particles.
Pym vowed to never let anyone get a Pym Particle, hid the Ant-Man Suit in a vault, and began his own company Pym Technologies and quickly became a millionaire. In the present day, Pym's estranged daughter, Hope van Dyne, and former protégé, Darren Cross, have voted Hank out of Pym Tech, forcing him to retire while Cross became the new CEO. Hank discovered that Cross found out about the Ant-Man and wants to create his own shrinking suit, "The Yellowjacket", and sell it. Hope and Pym agree to work together to stop the Yellowjackets from happening, but for that, they need an expert thief to steal the prototypes and destroy Cross' research.
Around the same time, well-meaning thief Scott Lang moves in with his old cellmate, Luis after he was released from prison. Lang visits his daughter Cassie unannounced and is chastised by his former wife Maggie and her police-detective fiancé, Paxton, for not providing child support. Unable to hold a job because of his criminal record, Lang agrees to join Luis' crew and commit a burglary. Lang breaks into a mansion and cracks its safe, but only finds what he believes to be an old motorcycle suit, which he takes home. Unknown to him, he broke into Hank Pym's house and Hank watched the entire break-in. After trying the suit on, Lang accidentally shrinks himself to the size of an insect and is tossed around the aparment building. Terrified by the experience, he returns the suit to the house but is arrested on the way out. Pym visits Lang in jail and smuggles the suit into his cell to help him break out.
The next day Pym explained that he manipulated Lang through an unknowing Luis into stealing the suit and that he wants Scott to be the new Ant-Man since Hank is too old to wear the suit. Scott agrees, believing that becoming a superhero will help him recover his daughter. Hope and Pym train Lang to fight and to control ants while briefing him in the mission of stopping the Yellowjackets from being sold. Training is very slow as van Dyne harbors resentment towards Pym about her mother Janet's death and insists she should be the one to use the Ant-Man suit but Hank keeps refusing to allow her. During training, Scott tried to mess with the suit only for Hank to warn him that doing so could have fatal consequences, he also admits that despite the Ant-Man Suit's safety measures, long-term use of Pym Particles will have ill effects on the user's physical AND mental health over the years
Eventually, Hank reveals that Janet had a shrinking suit of her own, calling herself "The Wasp" and was his sidekick during his Ant-Man adventures. However, during a mission to disarm Soviet nuclear missile, Wasp disabled her suit's regulator to shrink enough to disable the missile, but in doing so she disappeared into the subatomic dimension. Hope finally understands that Hank refusing to let her use the suit was to protect her.
Now fully trained, they send Scott to steal a device that will aid their heist from one of Howard Stark's old warehouses only to find out that the warehouse was turned into the Avengers' headquarters. Ant-Man continues the mission and briefly fights the Falcon.
Cross perfects the Yellowjacket and triplicates Pym Technologies' security system. Hank reluctantly accepts to let Scott's friends join the heist to make up for it. The night of the unveiling ceremony at Pym Technologies' headquarters. Lang, along with his crew and a swarm of flying ants infiltrates the building during the event, sabotages the company's servers, and plants explosives. When he attempts to steal the Yellowjacket, he, along with Pym and Hope, are captured by Cross, who intends to sell the Yellowjacket to HYDRA for double the price after they found out that Ant-Man defeated an Avenger. Lang breaks free and he and Hope dispatch most of the Hydra agents, though one flees with a vial of Cross' particles and Pym is shot in a shoulder. Lang pursues Cross, while the explosives detonate, imploding the building as Pym and van Dyne escape in a tank.
Cross dons the Yellowjacket and attacks Lang until Lang is arrested by Paxton, who mistook him for the bad guy. Cross takes Cassie hostage to lure Lang into another fight. Ant-Man and Yellowjacket battle through Cassie's room wrecking the house while Praxton tries to get Cassie into safety but Cross corners and prepares to kill them. Ant-Man realizes that the only way to defeat Yellowjacket is to override the regulator and shrinks to subatomic size to penetrate Cross' suit and sabotage it to shrink uncontrollably, killing Cross.
Yellowjacket is gone but Lang keeps shrinking into the quantum realm, luckily he figures out to use Pym's "giant discs" to repair the regulator and grow back to normal to save himself from suffering Janet's fate. Out of gratitude for Lang's heroism, Paxton covers for Lang and retires his previous charges to keep him out of prison, and Maggie agrees to let Scott visit Cassie whenever he wants. Seeing that Lang survived and returned from the quantum realm, Pym wonders if his wife is alive as well.
Later, Lang meets up with Luis, who tells him that the Avengers are looking for the Ant-Man, probably for recruitment. Meanwhile, Hank shows Hope a new Wasp prototype suit and offers it to her.
In a post-credits scene, Wilson and Steve Rogers have Bucky Barnes in their custody. Unable to trust Tony Stark because of "the accords", Wilson mentions that he knows someone who can help, referring to Ant-Man.
Why It Rocks
- Ant-Man was portrayed very well.
- Michael Douglas' performance as Hank Pym was phenomenal.
- Great and handsome visual effects, especially the outstanding "shrinking" effects which are unique to this movie.
- The explanation is given how Ant-Man works do have some scientific validity. The Pym Particles Hank Pym discovered compress molecules together or pushes them apart to make objects shrink or grow while keeping the same mass; the Ant-Man suit simply injects those particles into the user. Theoretically, that could work if the technology existed.
- Great CGI used for the ants.
- Ant-Man is the first time in the MCU where the protagonist takes the mantle of a former superhero and has a mentor character in the form of Hank Pym.
- One of the funniest MCU movies so far.
- References to other Marvel characters or movies like Spider-Man and Captain America: Civil War; the latter being referenced in the ending and the post-credit scenes.
- Luis served as an excellent comic relief with his fast-talking exposition scenes.
- Good and impressive soundtrack by Christophe Beck.
- It does a good job setting up why Ant-Man takes Captain America's side during Civil War.
- There are a few loopholes with the scientific explanation given for Pym Particles work:
- Pym Particles don't reduce the size of atoms, they only compress those atoms together so the affected object takes up less space, therefore Scott and Janet shouldn't have been able to shrink past the size of an atom.
- Pym Particles also don't reduce the number of atoms the shrunk object has, therefore Ant-Man shouldn't be able to ride ants or stand on small objects because he'd still have the same weight and mass as his normal size.
- Once again the villain is a forgettable maniac who dies at the end.
- It is rather formulaic.
- Despite being the protagonist, the plot doesn't focus much on Scott Lang. Most of the story revolves around Hank Pym's conflict with Darren Cross and Scott is more or less dragged into Hank's story.