Ant-Man & The Wasp Review
Although Ant-Man is in the title and movie, this is very much the Wasp’s movie and considering I thought Evangeline Lilly was wasted in the first film (Ant-Man) in 2015, I’ll gladly take it.
Since the first Ant-Man film, a lot has happened. For instance, Scott Lang, the Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), decided to jump onto a plane and take off to Germany to help fight with Captain America. If you don’t know the story (how?) see 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. Flying over there to take place in that fight, however, had Scott — and because they supplied the suit, both Hope Van Dyn (Evangeline Lilly) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) — break the Sokovia Accords. Which if you don’t recall was the 117 Nation agreed upon document to help deal with the world's superheroes and Avengers (once again, see Civil War.) But it boils down to this: Scott broke an International Law to help Captain America and now nearly two years later when this film picks up he’s on house arrest and Hope & Hank are on the run from the law.
Scott’s simply trying to make it through his two years of house arrest and he’s close with only a couple days remaining. That is until Hope picks him up one day and sneaks him out to help with her and Hank’s latest project — attempting to save Janet Van Dyne, Hope’s Mother. Janet was stuck in the Quantum Realm as seen in the first film briefly when she shrunk beyond the molecules of a bomb casing to disarm it. Hope and Hank have been building a way to access to Quantum Realm and need Scott's connection to the realm to help track Janet. Their personal relationship years later is flimsy at best given Scott is the reason they’re now wanted criminals.
The first person you will see kick-ass in Ant-Man & The Wasp is Hope and Evangeline Lilly owns this movie. As seen in the first film she is not only more than capable and better trained than Scott as a fighter, but she is smarter and Lilly owns every one of her scenes. This is very much Hope's story shared with her Father. A story of a little girl losing her Mother at a young age and running with the hope her Father has given her with the chance of bringing her back thirty years later.
The mistakes of our Fathers is the circulating theme for Ant-Man & The Wasp as Hope deals with Hank’s past mistakes and Scott tries to be a good Father to his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson.) The scenes with the two of them are fantastic. Rudd is great with Fortson and their Father/Daughter relationship is grin-inducing with how adorable it can be.
Marvel seems to have finally learned to do away with the villains in their films wanting to end the world to some degree. Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) first appears on-screen as a scary sci-fi monster with initially no motive. She could simply be a goon working for someone else to steal Hank’s technology, but when her true motives are revealed you will feel for her and that's what we continue to need for Marvel villains, some kind of relatability or understanding. She may not stand out as much as Vulture from Spider-Man: Homecoming or Killmonger from Black Panther do, but she’s utterly more interesting than the majority of Marvel villains and more interesting than the previous film's villain, Yellowjacket.
Peyton Reed returns in the director's seat and has learned how to get the best jokes out of his actors and technology. I laughed more in this film than the previous Ant-Man and a lot of that comes from more great delivery of lines from Paul Rudd who is just a star at his timing and charming nature carry some of the more silly scenes. But a lot of my laughs came from simple stuff. The movie is very aware of how silly it is at times, like when a car is shrinking to the size of matchbox followed by a wide angle shot with the zzzing sound of a moving RC car. It hit me as funny and ridiculous every single time. Or a scene in a school which reminded me of an 80's movie.
Michael Peña is back as Scott's friend Luis and once again has a stellar scene as he attempts to explain a story with the delivery only Peña could give us. New additions such as Randall Park as the FBI agent looking over Scott add hilarious scenes and one scene featuring a seagull in the final act had me giggling in my seat for several minutes.
Ant-Man & The Wasp takes everything that made the first film interesting and improves upon its strongest elements. It's charming with a cast that's always a joy to be around and is easily the funniest comic-book film of 2018.
Directors: Peyton Reed
Writers: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari
Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, T.I, David Dastmalchian, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder-Fortson, Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas