Time for a break.
Synopsis: From the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes “Ant Man and The Wasp,” a new chapter featuring heroes with the astonishing ability to shrink. In the aftermath of “Captain America: Civil War,” Scott Lang grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Superhero and a father. As he struggles to rebalance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from the past. (Marvel Studios)
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, and Michael Douglas
Writers: Cris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, and Gabriel Ferrari
Director: Peyton Reed
Rating: PG (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)
Running Time: 118mins
After the intensity of Avengers: Infinity War, we as viewers need a break to compose ourselves so what better than the light-hearted Ant-Man series? This film took place mostly before the events of Infinity War and was far enough away to be its own story until the full effects of the snap were felt (no spoilers but you’ll definitely want to stay through the credits).
Focusing on the events pre-snap, this film saw Scott Lang (Rudd) under house arrest after the events of Captain America: Civil War with Hope van Dyne (Lilly) and Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas) fugitives. Lang remained committed to turning his life around so he could continue to being in his daughter Cassie’s (Abby Ryder Fortson) life. Unlike many MCU films and like the original, the theme of family loomed large, beit the relationship between Lang and Cassie or that of Pym, his wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), and van Dyne.
Lang obviously did not remain under house arrest for very long as he found his way back to van Dyne and Pym. They needed his help for a special mission involving Janet who was thought to be lost in the Quantum realm. Because this wasn’t enough, the story had to throw a few villains at us in the form of a woman who can phase through matter known as Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) and a black market tech dealer named Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins).
Just like the original, this film lacked a compelling villain. Ghost managed to still be a somewhat sympathetic character whose abilities were exciting to watch (though most of them were shown in the trailers) but her backstory and motivations simply got lost in the shuffle. Meanwhile, Burch was an unnecessary villain who bogged down the story and whose impact was minimal at best. The only thing that defined them was their interest in Pym’s technology for different reasons.
Of course what was most noteworthy about this film was the emergence of the Wasp (it’s in the title after all). A post-credits scene in the original saw van Dyne get her suit but this film saw her finally put it in action and she did not disappoint in that regard, often outshining Lang in and out of combat. She would play a much larger role here both in the story, butting heads with Lang and her father, and also held her own in several well-choreographed action sequences.
The film features more action sequences as a whole were well done and exciting to watch all while continuing to find ways to use the series’ premise in inventive ways that took the film’s special effects to new heights (pun intended). Though no longer a surprise, it was still fun to watch. Another part of the equation was the film’s great sense of humor. The film landed most of its humor, finding the right balance between humor and story beit sight gags, Luis’ epic stories, and/or funny dialog thanks a well-written script (despite five credited writers).
This film boasts an impressive cast but it somehow still managed to give all the core characters who returned from the original a larger role with no one missing a beat while new characters still fit in nicely, including Pfeiffer as Janet van Dyne, Randall Park who had some funny moments as Agent Woo, and Laurence Fishburne as Pym’s academic rival Dr. Bill Foster. However, those who stood out and rightfully so, were Rudd, Lilly, and Douglas as Lang, van Dyne, and Pym respectively.
Rudd was fantastic while showing effortless range, going from action, to comedy, and to drama. He was compelling to watch thanks to his easy charisma. Lilly was just as impressive, even outshining Rudd more often than not. She proved that she belonged. Douglas was terrific as the glue that held it all together. It was definitely nice to see him have an emotional arc of his own. The chemistry between these three was the best part of the film by far.
Overall, this was a great action comedy and a nice change of pace as far as the MCU is concerned and a nice distraction from Infinity War. The plot was simply more of the same, despite being overstuffed with one too many villains, but was more entertaining by doubling down on the same spectacle, taking it to new heights (pun intended) and making it both funnier and more action packed than the original. Ultimately, Rudd and Lilly are well worth the price of admission and it will be interesting to see what they go from here.