While the Marvelites are still recovering from their post-traumatic misery disorder after the monumental finale of Avengers Infinity War, Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man and The Wasp works as a potent antidote to all the doom-and-gloom. Be sure to be effortlessly entertained by a breezy “heist” sequel that never takes itself too seriously. While missing James Gunn’s heart wrenching depth or the Russos’ action sensibilities, this movie stands on its own with a strong cast, great size-shifting action elements and some endearing hilarity.
Thanks to his previous “heroism,” Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) finds himself under house arrest after the events of Captain America: Civil War. Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) are on the run from similar prosecution. Neither parties have spoken in some time, but that’s until Scott dreams he’s inside Janet Van Dyne’s (Michelle Pfeiffer) body – aka Hank’s long-lost-to-the-Quantum Realm wife. Cue a rescue mission.
Ant-Man and The Wasp juggles a couple of story threads with moderate success. First off is using Hank’s quantum gateway to rescue Janet while thwarting black market dealer Sonny (Walton Goggins) from stealing their tech. A house-arrested Scott Lang also must ensure federal agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) doesn’t catch him outside his permitted area. But the movie’s tragic antagonist Ava (Hannah John-Kamen) aka Ghost gets the best story thread of glitching her way to stealing Janet’s essence for her own healing purpose. Marvel has created some truly memorable villains over the last couple of years and while Ghost doesn’t share the highest mantle with Thanos or Killmonger, she definitely gets close with John-Kamen’s tortured portrayal of the character.
Paul Rudd is also stellar as expected in portraying Ant-Man’s average Joe super heroism and fatherhood. His affable personality just works in all of the comedic sequences. But it is Michael Peña’s Luis who steals the funny train. He takes full advantage of the tighter comedy in the script and hyper-babbles to victory under “truth serum” influence. Peña’s that one-line jukebox which keeps cranking out the hits. May every movie feature his mini-voice shrieking with excitement. Evangeline Lilly just crushes it as well this time around fully kitted by the Wasp suit and makes up for her superheroine persona’s absence in the first movie. Wasp’s fight scenes revel in the graceful femininity and the sexy lethality of her comic book counterpart.
Credit is due to the effects teams behind Ant-Man and The Wasp too. As technology increases, so does Hollywood’s ability to superimpose the faces of Douglas, Pfeiffer and Fishburne in flashback ages – which Marvel fashions nicely. Then you’ve got Scott and Hope’s constant ballooning or deflating, which never feels out of place in a visual sense. Cinematography doesn’t exactly break the mold, but it keeps us anchored in worlds of varying magnitudes even in Quantum Realm psychedelics. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids would be proud. Gigantic tomatoes, refrigerator-sized salt shakers, miniaturization scales of otherwise regular sized products and all.
Ant-Man and The Wasp is endearingly earnest, positively punderful and ant-tastic from start-to-finish. While there are weak links weakening the foundation, the final build is a solid romp. This flick may not be essential in the grand Marvel-ous scheme of things, but you’ll be glad it exists. Ant-Man has always been a tremendous supporting character, and that’s exactly what this origin sequel lets Scott Lang do best.
Also, DO NOT miss out on the post-credits scene.