What I loved best about the first Ant-man was humor and how important family is to the character of Scott Lang. For the sequel, I truly hoped that Marvel would carry through with Wasp and bring her character into the forefront, particularly as she was one of the first superheroes in the comic version of the Avengers. Bringing that focus to her character is important because she is an iconic character in the Marvel universe but also as one of the first female characters to have that spotlight. For this sequel, the writers mixed both, giving Wasp her time in the sun and bringing in Scott, his family and the funny. While not groundbreaking, the movie was funnier than the first and had all the character I have hoped for.
“Ant-Man and the Wasp” follows Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) after the events of “Captain America: Civil War” in which he escapes from the Raft prison. He is now under house arrest, balancing his life as a father with his other responsibilities, building a business with his partner, Luis (Michael Pena) and being Ant-Man. He’s built his relationship with his daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) all while being under the watchful eye of FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park).
After Scott has a strange dream, Hope Van Dyke (Evangeline Lilly) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) present him with a new mission, one that will bring to light secrets from their past. Scott teams up with Hope as the Wasp as they work together as a team, fighting off others who want Pym’s technology for their own reasons, including a mysterious Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) and getting help from friends and allies, including an old partner of Pym’s, Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne).
One of the key elements to this movie being entertaining was the comedy. Scott is presented as a regular guy, one who struggles and it influences his relationships and his responsibilities as a parent. But in those moments are where comedy gold lies, as the writers give us joke after joke that made the entire audience laugh. From the dynamic between Scott and Luis to his playing with his daughter to him learning magic tricks to pass the time during house arrest, there was enough lighthearted humor to keep everyone in stitches. While it isn’t groundbreaking, the humor is reliant on Paul Rudd’s every-man character and Evangeline Lilly’s wit along with Michael Pena’s improvisation skills and all of that made for a movie that was funnier to me than the first.
The other critical piece for me was how much story would involve Wasp. At the end of Ant-Man, Hope Van Dyke received her own suit from Hank. In this film, we get to see just how bad-ass she is as a hero and just what she can do, fighting with skill and intelligence, highlighting a different set of skills than Scott and her own style. Not only does she get her own suit but she gets her own story as the mission uncovers secrets dealing with her family and we learn more about her character as well as what she is willing to fight for as a superhero. Getting to see a more confident and more dynamic Hope on screen as Wasp was not only encouraging for the next female led movies to come out of the MCU but it was absolutely one of the high points of the film. I also love that the unifying theme of the film is family, both for Scott and for Hope, as they each balance their responsibilities for family with their role as superheroes.
Adding into the comedy and Hope’s story line, we also got incredible action sequences and effects. The science was engaging, was easy to follow and the effects as the characters shrink and enlarge was exciting. Those effects were well built as they were happening with seconds, one right after another. Especially in a chase sequence, these were thrilling and that sequence was one of the best I’ve seen in any film. I also liked the way Ghost was depicted, her abilities to phase as well as her role in the film as a antagonist to the story’s heroes. I liked that the creators decided to make the character female, rightly deciding that her gender didn’t matter to her actions in the film. Between her character and the fights with Ant-Man and Wasp, the writing kept me absorbed in the movie.
We also got some emotional and compelling acting. Paul Rudd did a brilliant job of portraying the comedy elements for his character as well as touching scenes with his daughter and Hope. Michael Douglas is talented as Pym as he works to find answers for his daughter and himself. Evangeline Lilly is a strong lead, amazing in her action sequences and showing up Ant-Man at almost every turn. Michael Pena is hilarious as are Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris as Dave and David Dastmalchian as Kurt, Scott’s partners in the business. I found Hannah John-Kamen especially compelling and complex as the Ghost while Laurence Fishburne was his normal stellar self.
Parts of the movie were predictable. Walter Goggins plays Sonny Burch a low level criminal. I was not surprised by either his role within the film or the actions his character takes. However, his character adds to the action and comedy and his acting is flawless. The goal of the characters is simple to figure out. While it is true that I wasn’t surprised, I still found the film engaging and fun, enjoying it immensely.
If you liked the original Ant-Man, I think you will love the sequel. Not only is it funnier with even more of the action sequences like the first movie, it has even more of the Wasp, complex villains, and a story to keep you engaged and entertained. The science is well thought out while the themes are all about family. Paul Rudd is the perfect Ant-Man and I love Evangeline Lilly as Wasp. After the darker “Avengers: Infinity War” this is just the antidote, a lighthearted movie with tons of action and lots of fun.
Rating: 4.5 Quantum Tunnels out of 5.
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