Movies – Ant-Man and the Wasp

7 Jul

Marvel’s third and final movie of 2018 (fourth of you count Deadpool, which is part of the Sony/X-Men universe rather than the main Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)), Ant-Man and the Wasp is the follow-up to 2015’s Ant-Man, and bridges that character’s appearance in Captain America: Civil War (2016), his non-appearance in this year’s Avengers: Infinity War*, and his confirmed appearance in next year’s Avengers 4 (title still unannounced).

This movie takes place two years after Civil War, and Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is nearing the end of a two-year House Arrest agreement he reached after siding with Captain America’s rebels in that movie. All indications are that he’s been behaving himself, spending time with his daughter and starting a business with his burglary crew from the first Ant-Man movie. He’s also fallen out of touch with Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne (Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly), who aren’t happy that he took the Ant-Man suit to Europe without asking.

Hope and Hank have been busy as well, working on a tunnel device that will allow them to access the Quantum Realm, where Janet Van Dyne (Hank’s wife and Hope’s mother, played by Michelle Pfeiffer) disappeared while on a mission as the Wasp years earlier. They’d always assumed that a person who entered the Quantum Realm would be lost forever, but Scott proved in the first film that it was possible to come back, Given this hope, they’ve been working on a way to safely accessing the Quantum Realm.

Scott, Hank, and Hope are pretty quickly reunited, to try to rescue Janet, while simultaneously trying to evade Scott’s FBI monitor Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), a black market arms dealer (Walton Goggins), and a super-powered adversary called Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), all of whom have something they want from the trio. They receive varying levels of support from Scott’s buddies (Michael Pena, T.I., and David Dastmalchian) and Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburn), one of Hank’s old colleagues.

The tone of Ant-Man and the Wasp is similar to the first Ant-Man movie, skewed to the humorous side of the Marvel Universe, but without a lot of the snark that comes through in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. It’s a gentler, goofier form of humor which plays to Rudd and Pena’s strengths. Lilly is given a bit more to do here than in the first movie (in which she primarily served as a wet blanket to Rudd’s goofiness), and she’s appealing and has good chemistry with both Rudd and Douglas. Douglas is fine, and Rudd and Pena have fine-tuned their respective personas to a fare-thee-well, so they deliver exactly what’s expected of them.

If there’s one problem with the movie, it’s that of the three main plotlines in the movie, only one seems to have any urgency (the hunt for Janet Van Dyne). The other two (Ghost and the black market guy) simply serve to throw hurdles in the way of the first. Woo’s dogged pursuit to prove that Scott is violating the terms of his house arrest, provide some good comedic situations, and give the only real reason for Scott’s ex-wife and her new husband (Judy Greer and Bobby Cannavale, both of whom should have been given bigger roles in the MCCU than these throwaway supporting parts) to appear.

All in all, Ant-Man and the Wasp won’t likely bring any new viewers into the Marvel Universe, and it won’t change the minds of folks who didn’t like the first installment. There are a couple of throwaway lines/concepts involving the Quantum Realm which many observers are thinking will come into play in Avengers 4, and that’s quite possible, given that the first post-credit sequence ties this movie directly in to Infinity Quest.

I give it 6 Cheeseburgers

 

*Many reviews have indicated that this movie explains why Ant-Man doesn’t appear in Infinity War, but there were a couple lines of dialogue in that movie which explained it; when one of the characters is getting Bruce Banner up to speed on where everyone is, they say “Scott is under house arrest” (or something like that). Banner replies “Scott who,” to which he’s told “Ant-Man” and he observes, “So there’s an Ant-Man and a Spider-Man now?”

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