It’s nice to get some light-hearted laughs again after the heartbreaking ending of ‘Infinity War!’
Two years since the events of Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang, a.k.a. Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) has been under house arrest for his taking part in the fight in Germany. Because he used Dr. Hank Pym’s (Michael Douglas) shrinking suit in the fight, the FBI have labeled Pym as an accomplice and are hunting him down. This caused Scott’s partnership with him, as well as his possible romantic relationship with Pym’s daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly) to dissolve. Despite that, Scott has been able reconnect with his daughter, maintain a friendship with his former wife and her new fiancée, and start a new business with his old heist crew, including his close friend Luis (Michael Peña).
Just three days away from his sentence being completed, Scott has a vision of Hope’s mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) who had been trapped in the Quantum Realm, an alternate microscopic universe, for over fifteen years. When he informs the Pyms of his vision, they decide to have Scott help them find her, since Scott had entered the Quantum Realm before in the events of the first Ant-Man. However, there is a threat that stands in their way, two actually. One is a woman (Hannah John-Kamen) known as “Ghost” who, due to a laboratory accident, has the ability to phase through objects, and will fight anyone to get her hands on Pym’s technology for a cure. Another is a greedy businessman who is interested in profiting off of Pym’s technology. Scott will have to team up with Hope, who has also donned her father’s technology, becoming “the Wasp”, and re-enter the quantum zone to find her mother before they are too late.
When Ant-Man was released in 2015, many audience members were shocked that the filmmakers were able to take a rather silly concept a make an entertaining film. This sequel, once again directed by Peyton Reed, is not only good, but it might be even better than the first one. One reason why is because since the protagonists have already been established in the previous film, there is more room for them to develop their personalities and relationships with one another. Scott’s respective relationships with his daughter and Hope are the real standouts.
The comedy is perhaps the film’s strongest element, and the filmmakers have wisely taken advantage of the special effects and generate some clever visual gags. One of the best moments in a movie full of clever moments includes a collection of shrunken getaway cars posing as a Hot Wheels collection. Is the comedy here as funny as Thor Ragnarok? Not quite, but there are still some moments that are gut-bustlingly funny.
Even though Edgar Wright is not involved in writing the screenplay this time around, it is nice to see that his style has carried through to the sequel, and much of that is attributed to Michael Peña. This whole cast is excellent, as I did feel myself really caring for these characters, and its quality is elevated even more by the inclusions of Randall Park and Laurence Fishburne.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe was criticized in the past for having weak villains as compared to their heroes. Thankfully, they seemed to be improving on this flaw with the respective villains in Thor Ragnarok, Black Panther, and Infinity War. Ant Man and the Wasp gives us a rather unique villain in the form of Ghost, who is set up more like a tragic villain who does things out of desperation, given her condition. Sadly, we do also have a greedy businessman whose only interest is making money, while occasionally taunting the protagonist. Basically it is the same role Walton Goggins, played in this year’s reboot of Tomb Raider; and what do you know, the character here is also played by Walton Goggins! Thankfully, his presence in this film is an upgrade compared to that in Tomb Raider.
If I do have any other real complaint with this film, it would be that it could have had a more creative climax. That’s not to say the climax isn’t fun, but the climactic fight of the previous Ant-Man took place on a Thomas the Tank Engine play set while the characters were shrunken down. A more hysterical setting would have benefited the final fight sequence, although I do admit that the film makes a clever use out of San Francisco’s infamous Lombart Street.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is another grand addition to the ever-growing Marvel Cinematic Universe. With fantastic special effects, a sharp sense of humor, and an incredible cast, the film expands on the strengths of the first film and finds new areas to explore. And yes, stay after the credits. You will find out the fate of the cast of Ant-Man as a result of the events of Infinity War.