When looking back at Marvel’s Ant-Man from 2015 one of the biggest praises that was heaped was the sudden change in direction Marvel Studios took with their movies, how they went with a light-hearted tone, and felt that “smaller was better.” Now with Marvel recently coming off of one of the most intense movies in their cinematic universe franchise (Avengers Infinity War) they chose to repeat the same formula that worked so well for them by bringing back the hero whose small stature is easily overpowered by his big heart and compulsion to do what’s right. It is this that Marvel finds the heart.
Ant-Man and the Wasp opens up with a flashback about the eve of the mission where the original Ant-Man and Wasp, Ham Pym (Michael Douglas) and his wife Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) had to stop a missile with a nuclear warhead, and the only way to do so was for Wasp to shrink to sub-atomic sizes in order to get through the metal plating of the rocket and sabotage it. Unfortunately, as Hank understands it, she kept on shrinking into the Quantum Realm (the same realm that Scott visited, and returned from, during his battle with Yellowjacket at the end of the first Ant-Man) and was presumed lost.
Meanwhile Scott is spending some personal time with his daughter Cassie, as he is under house arrest due to his actions during Captain America: Civil War, and is also completely “on the outs” with both Hank and daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) for the same reason, and they are now on the run from the government for breaking the Sokovian Accords. But when Scott has a strange dream involving Janet he’s forced to break his silence with Hank to where he finds himself breaking his house arrest (he only had a few days left) and is reunited with them because of what may actually be inside of his head. Hank and Hope believe that through Quantum Entanglement, Janet may very well have managed to connect herself somehow with Scott, and now Hank and Hope are more than determined to find a way to bring her back.
Sadly those attempts are being thwarted, first off by a very crooked businessman named Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), and then by an extremely formidable threat simply nicknamed Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) because of her ability to quantum phase through solid objects. Because of this Scott is forced to bring “those wombats” back into the picture, and then the next thing you know the characters of Luis (Michael Peña), Kurt (Dave Dastmalchian), and Dave (T.I. Harris) are working alongside our heroes yet one more time. Unfortunately time is off the essence, and the lab that Hank is working out of is continually on the move through the shrinking technology, and that lab is very much wanted by both Burch, for pure reasons of profit, and the Ghost, in the hopes that the experiment Hank is working on will help heal her of the ghostly affliction she has.
What’s wonderful about this cast is everyone’s ability to make that switch from the dramatic acting they are mostly well known for and then switch to this level of comedy. On the other hand, this movie also deals some wonderfully touching moments involving Rudd’s character and he shows that he can deliver the goods when a moment of seriousness is required. However, the greatest joys are those performances from Peña and Douglas. Even though Hank is generally viewed as being no-nonsense, Douglas’ reactionary scenes show a good sense of action comedy, which makes me wonder if Douglas didn’t miss out on an opportunity as a comedic actor. Then there is Evangeline Lilly. Here her character has come to terms with the situation between Hope and Hank, but it wouldn’t be the right type of movie if Hope wasn’t feuding with someone, so Hope’s relationship with Scott is pretty frosty, but by the end of the movie they are definitely working together and watching each other’s back, which helps to give Hope a small sense of emotional vulnerability, despite the fact that as Wasp she is totally badass.
Lastly there is the action. At times it’s almost relentless, but unlike some of the sequences from the first movie that suffered from some questionable editing, the sequences here are hilarious and exciting. It’s been quite some time since a good car chase in the streets of San Francisco has been seen on the big screen, but the one thing that keeps this from getting old is the use of shrinking and expanding cars. In fact, if there is any one issue that I have it would be with the shrinking cars. Whenever we see a car shrink down while in motion the relative speed almost remains a constant, and for that to happen the now very tiny wheels on the car would have to rotate hundreds of times faster just to maintain the speed it was initially traveling at. Nonetheless, even with this one flaw, this movie is a wonderful treat for the entire family to watch. The gags aren’t overly sophisticated, nor are they overly simple. They’re packaged and presented in such a way that people of all ages can enjoy them, as evidenced by the wide range of ages that were laughing throughout this entire movie.
Before I forget, I need to remind you that if you’re going to be seeing Ant-Man and the Wasp to stick around for the credits because the mid-credit break has a scene that clearly identifies when the story for this movie is taking place in relation to the Infinity War, as well as possibly even revealing a tiny plot point that might resurface in the next Avengers movie.
Ant-Man and the Wasp gets 4.5 out of 5 Hello Kitty Pez Dispensers!
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