Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Rating

Director

Peyton Reed

Screenplay

Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari

Length

1h 58m

Starring

Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris, David Dastmalchian, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas, Sean Thompson Kleier, Benjamin Byron Davis

MPAA Rating

PG-13 for some sci-fi action violence

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Soundtrack

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Review

There was a wholesome fun to the first Ant-Man film starring Paul Rudd as an ex-con who steals a prototype suit that allows him to shrink to the size of an ant, as well as communicate with and command the critters. Adding his partner to the mix, Ant-Man and the Wasp is still largely the Scott Lang (Rudd) show, but has given more attention and breadth to his co-stars.

Following the events of Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang has now been under house arrest for two years, explaining his absence from the most recent Avengers adventure. While regularly visited by former cellmate and now business partner Luis (Michael Pena), and his adorable daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Forston), her mother (Judy Greer), and her step-father (Bobby Cannavale), his life is full, but restricted. Just days away from the end of his incarceration, he becomes witness to a vision that piques the curiosity of his betrayed former associates Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), who believe it’s a communique from their lost wife and mother Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer).

As they attempt to reconstruct the quantum bridge that got them this clue, they run afoul of three different entities, each interested in some aspect of their discovery. Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) is after the technology, Ava Starr (Hannah John-Kamen) is after the source of the anomaly, and the FBI is out to catch Hank and Hope who are on the lam and Scott for being in violation of his house arrest.

All of these stories are surprisingly well threaded together, creating an epic heist film where the goods are at various moments in different hands. This madcap caper is everything the Marvel Universe has been lacking in recent years. It has a youthful and inventive energy. Films like Ant-Man and the Wasp, Black Panther, and Thor: Ragnorok seem to be breathing new life into the Marvel Cinematic Universe by taking different paths away from the formulaic adventures of the last decade.

Rudd has always been an affable actor and as Scott Lang, he gives us a nurturing father, a perpetual joker, and a engaging superhero. His various associates are all on their respective games with Forston and Pfeiffer the genuine stand-outs. Forston’s Cassie is the only person in Scott’s life who has as much faith in him as he has in her. She gives us that wide-eyed clarity that brings a positive energy into the midst of dangerous situations. Pfeiffer, on the other hand, has only a brief time to capture our attention and she does, giving us hope that she has finally returned to the big screen in an accessible and exciting way.

In addition to the solid and humorous screenplay, the visual effects are terrific, including the super de-aging of Douglas, Pfeiffer, and a former colleague of Pym’s played by Laurence Fishburne. The mesh of effects, both humorous and practical, give the audience a sense of place that while clearly fantastical are no less palpable.

Ant-Man and the Wasp expands on what was well established in the first film. It’s an engaging adventure that helps while away the summer hours. It may not be incredibly deep or pensive, but that’s not what we’re expecting from the Ant-Man features. That’s why they picked a solid comedian like Rudd to star and is the reason why everything works so well.

Oscar Prospects

Potentials: Visual Effects

Review Written

July 19, 2018

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