When Ant-Man opens in theaters on July 17, viewers are in for a different kind of action movie. The protagonist’s powers of shrinking and controlling ants aren’t the sexiest in the Marvel canon, and the film’s star, Paul Rudd, is goofier than the average superhero. But with director Peyton Reed at the helm, the result is two hours of delirious fun.

TIME caught up with Reed before the movie’s release to talk about Rudd’s charm, shooting in 3D, playing with genre and female characters in comic book movies.

TIME: What was your relationship with comic books as a kid?

Reed: I had a very intimate relationship with comic books as a kid. I read comics at a very young age, starting in elementary school. I was almost exclusively a Marvel Comics reader—I read a few DC titles but I just gravitated toward Marvel because I loved the stories, I loved…

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