Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Hannah John-Kamen, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña
Writers: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers and
Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari
Director: Peyton Reed
Like its first film, Ant-Man and the Wasp follows an Avengers movie, and serves as an extremely fun palette cleanser from the doom and gloom that was Infinity War. Sometimes, you just gotta have a fun romp through San Francisco and quantum realms instead of the drama of having to save the universe.
All of the greats are back from the first outing, with some truly great additions to this corner of the MCU. First off, we finally get to meet the original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne, played by Michelle Pfeiffer. Like the first film, we first get to see her through a flashback with that crazy Marvel de-aging tech, so she looks like she stepped right out of another very prominent superhero franchise, minus the leather. I can’t get over how good this tech is, and the Ant-Man films use it just enough that it doesn’t feel like a distraction or a show-off moment. It is there because it serves the story and arc for the Van Dyne and Pym family.
Oh yeah, this movie pretty much sidelines Paul Rudd in favor of Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas, and it is done entirely to its advantage. Following Civil War, Scott Lang signs a plea deal and is under house arrest, doing fun things like learning to drum, perfecting magic tricks, and telecommuting for the fantastically named XCON. With only a few days left under house arrest, Scott starts having dreams about the Quantum Realm. One quick house break out later, Scott is on the run with Hope and Hank to try to power a device that would enable them to save Janet. Got all of that? Good. Now that we have Scott out of the way, let’s talk about the real star of the movie: Evangeline Lilly as the Wasp.
Yeah, that happens in this movie. Basically, the entire movie is Paul Rudd going “Wait she can do that?! Why am I even here?” and I am inclined to agree. Wasp is Ant-Man without the perfect comic timing. The pair creates such a perfect foil for each other, you will forgive the writers for trying to shove romance between these two partners in crime.
Nearly everything is amped up in this movie special effects-wise, and it is once again used for some great visual gags. You can watch all the car chases in the world, but the one from the third act of this movie has them beat: shrinking cars, giant PEZ dispensers, a tiny sports car with a gleeful Michael Peña behind the wheel. This movie just kicks so much ass. It always makes me grin because it is not ashamed of what it is, and it isn’t embarrassed to be a fun superhero movie.
Another thing? This movie doesn’t have an ant-agonist? Like on purpose? There is Hannah John-Kamen as Ghost, but they investigate the “why” of the character so much, and she genuinely doesn’t want to hurt anyone and has no maniacal plan to destroy the world? It is refreshing as hell how personal this movie is, even compared to the first film.
Ghost looks fantastic too, and while the character is a far cry from the corporate espionage villain from the comics, it doesn’t matter, because this iteration of Ghost is full and complete without having to answer to what was on the page.
One thing that did give me chills in the theater though: seeing Hank Pym in a crazy sci-fi space suit to travel to the Quantum Realm to save his wife. I know, I know, it could have been a character with any name with any silly suit on, but to see Michael Douglas lean into the silliness of the film just set my heart ablaze.
The best gags though? When Paul Rudd gets stuck as a Hobbit because of a malfunctioning suit, and when Paul Rudd gets to do a fantastic Michelle Pfeiffer impression.