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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Peyton Reed, Paul Rudd, and Evangeline Lily Note: This review was a special request by Marianne Brody. 

Peyton Reed's Ant-Man and the Wasp is the continuation of both Ant-Man and Captain America: Civil War. With a lot of catching up to do, and very little that could just be swept under the rug, Ant-Man and the Wasp writes itself into corners. As quickly as the title characters grow and shrink, the movie impressively writes itself out of those corners, and apart from the original.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has been under house arrest since helping Captain America and Falcon in Germany, and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lily) have cut ties with Scott and have been laying low because the FBI sees them and their tech as national security threats. All three have to come out in the open when they discover a way into the Quantum Realm to save the original Wasp, Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer). Once they're exposed, everyone comes after them. FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), Ava Starr/ Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) and Hank's old partner Bill Foster/Ghost (Laurence Fishburne), and a black market tech dealer named Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), form a busy, but dynamic, rogues gallery.

Peyton Reed, Paul Rudd, and Evangeline Lily
Behind the Scenes: Peyton Reed, Paul Rudd, and Evangeline Lily | Copyright 2019 Marvel/Disney

Ant-Man and The Wasp acknowledges what's come before in the MCU, giving the universe real weight and consequences. However, it also starts the movie out on the wrong foot. There's a mean-spiritedness to the trio's early scenes together, and it's made worse when considering that Scott at least was fighting against Tony and Sokovia Accords, something they'd support on principle. Hank and Hope take every possible jab they can at Scott, joking about his (lack of a) relationship with "Cap," his lack of knowledge about the Quantum Realm, even a bit about his house arrest, until they can't anymore When it starts feeling old, the original Ant-Man humor and chemistry opens back up like a window. 

There's one joke in Cassie's, Scott's daughter, (Abby Ryder Fortson) school to bring the band back together. It's because of something that could've happened to any of them (even Hank who gets his hands dirty this time), is temporary, and just works as a great gag in general. The movie really gets moving after this, and is even able to pull it off one more time during one of the last action scenes. 

This is not an action-heavy movie, but the fights are pretty fun and, once five noticeable seconds of car manufacturer product placement is out of the way, the chases are even better. A lot of time is spent with the heroes instead. Yellowjacket, from last time, may have been the bald boardroom member to break the camel's back for corporate MCU villains, even though he may have been one of the underrated ones. This time, every bad guy except Sonny Burch is empathetic and just trying to do their best with given circumstances. Goggins' character actually feels pretty unnecessary compared to the others, but he gives a good performance.

Both movies have had a greedy jerk escape and/or survive at the end. If the MCU wants to take a stab at the Sinister Six, just with Ant-Man and his rogues, they're setting it up well. Here and now though, there's no disgustingly evil villain, there's (mostly) just people trying to get by or, in Ava's case, survive. It's reflected in the trio as well, and in Scott's other cronies, who have now gone legit. Yes, Michael Peña is back as Luis, cranked up to eleven, and he's cranking everyone else up with him. 

The best parts of the fights are when characters are caught off guard. The best and the worst parts of Ant-Man and the Wasp are when the audience is caught off guard. Hang in there for those best parts. 




Unknown said...

I didn't realize you did so many reviews. I didn't get a chance to see this with everything going on this year. Based on your review, I will check it out sometime when I can on digital or netflix. The first one was okay. I'd be willing to check this one out sometime.