Ant-Man, Sky Cinema Premiere, Friday 22 July, 8pm
Paul Rudd’s miniscule Ant-Man punches well above his weight – and so does this surprisingly engaging Marvel Comics adventure. When Rudd’s cat burglar Scott Lang first dons the special suit created by Michael Douglas’s wary scientist Henry Pym, the perils he faces – from being sluiced down a plughole to getting sucked up by a vacuum cleaner – are inherently funny. And there are more laughs when Pym recruits the newly released ex-con to thwart the nefarious plans of his former business protégé, Corey Stoll’s Darren Cross. Admittedly, Scott’s mission is standard-issue stuff and the sub-plot involving his estranged young daughter now and then slips into mawkish territory. Fortunately, Rudd’s humorously self-deprecating persona works wonders with the material and he gets terrific support from Evangeline Lilly as Pym’s coolly self-possessed daughter and from Michael Peña, who takes the stereotypical Latino sidekick role of Scott’s old cellmate Luis and makes it fizz with good-natured fun. Indeed, the movie is at its most playfully entertaining when Luis and his petty criminal chums get involved with Scott’s mission, briefly turning the movie into an offbeat heist caper. Even so, it’s tempting to imagine how even more refreshingly different from usual Marvel fare the film might have been if its original creative team – Shaun of the Dead director Joe Wright and Attack the Block’s Joe Cornish – had stayed in charge and not exited the project over creative differences with the studio.