Friday, July 6, 2018

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip "T.I." Harris, David Dastmalchian, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, and Michael Douglas. Directed by Peyton Reed. Screenplay by Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari. Based on Ant-Man by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby; and Wasp by Stan Lee, Ernie Hart, Jack Kirby Produced by Kevin Feige, Stephen Broussard. Runtime: 118 minutes. U.S. Color Superhero, Action

Two years after appearing in Captain America: Civil War (2016), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is back. In the intervening years, Scott Lang has been serving house arrest by the FBI for his actions in Germany. Meanwhile, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), are also wanted by authorities and are on the run. The most important thing in Scott's life is his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson), whom his ex-wife Maggie (Judy Greer) and her new husband Jim Paxton (Bobby Cannavale) now encourage he see.

Hank and Hope, however, are now estranged from Scott and have their own familial interest, which revolves around Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), Hank's wife, Hope's mother, and the original Wasp. Based on what they think Scott knows, they can get her back from the quantum realm in which she has been trapped for the last 30 years.

Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) is only one of several
villains keeping Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) from his goal.

But things are never that easy in a Marvel movie, as the Pyms have to fight not only Scott's reluctance to help but also an arms dealer turned restauranteur, Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), and Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), who also needs to return to the Quantum Realm and, like practically everyone in the two films, has it out for Hank. Also along for the ride are Scott's ex-con friends Luis (Michael Peña), Dave (Tip "T.I." Harris), and Kurt (David Dastmalchian).

There is the usual humor and action mix throughout the film that marked the first Ant-Man (2015) and has been the earmark of the MCU throughout its now 20 film run. If you've seen the original film, and have kept up on the Marvel film series, then you will not be disappointed here. This is a more ambitious effort than the first one and luckily, bigger does mean better or at least as good as the first film. (All too often the reverse is true).

There are a lot of special effects in this film, which is to be expected in a film where characters and objects can get smaller and larger with the push of a button, but they never really seem to overwhelm the film with their wizardry. Rather, they seem necessary to telling the story the way it should be told.

Ant-Man and Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) seem to have good chemistry on screen.

Paul Rudd is, as he always seems to be, likable in the role and he does seem to have some chemistry with Evangeline Lilly. Together with Peña, Harris, and Dastmalchian, Rudd provides most of the humor in the film, even contributing to the screenplay.

Luis (Michael Peña) helps provide some of the humor in the film along with Rudd.

Lilly and Douglas make a good father-daughter team as well. Douglas, who sounds more like his father, Kirk, with each passing year, is also solid in the role of the elder Pym. But despite the gray hair, you can tell that he still thinks he can take on anything that he wants.

Hope and her father Hank (Michael Douglas), while on the run,
devise a way to bring his wife back from beyond hope.

Michelle Pfeiffer is new to the series and, while she doesn't have all that much screen time, proves that she is still a good actress and still quite beautiful.

Someone who I'm sorry to say we see less and less of on film is Judy Greer. I like her, but in most films she's in, she gets very little screentime, at least in the ones I've seen. Maggie's and Jim's change of mind about Scott seems like a complete 180 from the previous film but is still nice to see.

A word of caution, to get the most out of the film and there are two additional scenes, one mid-credit and the other post, it would definitely add to your enjoyment if you have seen Avengers: Infinity War (2018).

So, at least with Ant-Man and the Wasp, the Marvel Cinematic Universe seems to show little signs of slowing down or even going away. As we enter Phase Four, there still seems to be a lot left in the tank and stories and characters left to explore.

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