Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Director: Peyton Reed
Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña
Synopsis: As Scott Lang balances being both a superhero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past.
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for some sci-fi action violence)
Release Date: July 6, 2018
Following the events of Captain America: Civil War (Anthony and Joe Russo, 2016), Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is living under house arrest and coping with the consequences of his actions while doing his best to maintain close connection to his daughter Cassie (Abbie Ryder Fortson), while also lamenting his lost connection with Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). After an oddly realistic dream about the quantum realm one night, he's contacted by both of his former colleagues in seeking his aide for a new mission.
Ant-Man (Peyton Reed, 2015) was a film that stood out in the Marvel Cinematic Universe due to its more humble, laid back direction that featured cleverly entertaining action sequences that played with perspective and took full advantage of the size difference of the title hero while also delivering Marvel's signature humor and fun atmosphere. Importantly though, the film took itself seriously, never feeling cartoonish or silly in its approach to defining its hero, and the stakes and issues presented felt as real as any other full-sized Marvel film.
Thankfully, director Peyton Reed keeps that approach as he returns to helm Ant-Man and the Wasp in a film that takes the memorable action sequences from the original and expands them to even more creative and exciting territories, delivering pure entertainment joy. Whether its running across thrown knives or racing down the road in a matchbox-sized car or being over sixty feet tall, Ant-Man and the Wasp comes in all sizes, keeping viewers guessing as to what's coming next. And yes, it's all delivered with Marvel's high budget visual effects work that is a marvel in its own right.
But it wasn't just the unique size and clever perception action sequences that made Ant-Man a success--it was the highly charming and irresistible performance from Paul Rudd, who delivers in the same fashion for The Wasp. The supporting cast, particularly Michael Peña, also deliver many laughs and most of the jokes as a whole land, further elevating the already fun atmosphere of the film.
The only drawback to The Wasp is that the film features two antagonists--one of whom--Sonny Burch (Walter Goggins) is out to profit on Hank and Hope's quantum research. There's very little interest in his character or his motives, partly because we've seen this plot thread countless times in other films but also because the second antagonist is far more interesting and dynamic--and that's Ava (Hannah John-Kamen), who's an orphaned young woman who's struggling with an increasingly unstable condition that allows her to walk through solid objects. Though she puts others in harm's way, we ultimately sympathize with her to an extent as her motivations all stem from her life clock ticking.
Ant-Man and the Wasp features gleefully entertaining action sequences, genuinely funny humor and another charming performance from Paul Rudd, who's further aided by a strong supporting cast. Though it doesn't quite live up to the original's bite, Ant-Man and the Wasp is still an above-average sequel that will certainly please fans of the first film.
Written by Anthony Watkins, July 16, 2018