‘The best film I ever saw!’ So wrote Ace, a contributor to London’s venerable Time Out magazine. That Ace is only twelve years old probably accounts for why I don’t entirely agree with his assessment, but it’s also a sharp indicator of Marvel’s target audience. Compared, however, to the usual tripe that is churned out in the super-hero genre, I thought it not entirely dreadful; probably because I was still on a stratospheric high after attending the first day’s play of the Lord’s test match and seeing CJL Rogers and SPD Smith give the Pommie bowlers a caning. The opening sequences contain much levity, which is only what you’d expect, given that the eponymous good guy (Paul Rudd) gets shrunk to the size of an insect in order to save the world from the villainous megalomaniac (Corey Stoll).
There are laugh-out-loud moments and, moving on from gormless rom-com lover to unshaven, ex-con bloke, Rudd is perfectly at ease in what will be his silliest but most lucrative role. But what really brought the movie to life happened in the aisles of the Swiss Cottage Odeon. A handful of young coloured boys, on the last day of the English school year, snuck into the cinema about ten minutes after the lights dropped. They were having a whale of a time until the security guards arrived.
It happened at an opportune time, for this sort of flick always gets unutterably boring when the story set-up and introduction to the characters has been done with and the action begins – ie fistfights, explosions and chasings. Some of the kids were frogmarched out while a couple of others scarpered. Rudd was zapping about in 3D doing the ridiculous stuff that passes as entertainment these days, while the fugitive film-crashers were on the toe, being hunted down by their overweight uniformed pursuers. ‘Go boys!’ I wanted to yell out.
The movie itself is yet another nail in the coffin of what we might hope for as adults.