Spoiler-Free Ant-Man and the Wasp Review
The last time fans saw Scott Lang, the small-time thief turned small-size superhero called Ant-Man, he was fighting alongside Captain America against Iron Man’s Avengers in Captain America: Civil War, breaking international law and ending up in government custody. We now find Scott, having accepted two years of house arrest, forced to sever any contact with his mentor Hank Pym and Hank’s daughter Hope Van Dyne, who are on the run from authorities due to accidental involvement in Scott’s crimes. When Scott experiences a vision of Hope’s mother Janet, trapped in the microscopic dimension called the Quantum Realm, the three are forced back together in a quest to travel to the mysterious dimension to save Janet and bring her back. Scott puts on the (often malfunctioning) Ant-Man suit once again and is aided by Hope, now with her own shrinking suit and wings, taking own the mantle of the Wasp. Hindering their efforts are a corporate tycoon eager to steal Hank’s valuable technology, FBI agents with their sights set on catching the superheroes, and a mysterious figure tied to Hank’s past with the ability to walk through solid objects.
Paul Rudd returns as Scott Lang, once again portraying the character as the Everyman of superheroes, constantly trying to live a normal, mundane life with his daughter. Rudd once again brings some needed levity to the sometimes too serious superhero genre. As such, the humor is very much ingrained in the film, with many comedic bits being given to the talents of Rudd and co-star Michael Peña, who portrays Scott’s best friend Luis. In a movie with a break-neck plot like Ant-man and the Wasp, the human connection that Rudd brings to the story keeps it from feeling to foreign or bogged down in techno-babble.
As with the first film, the film has equal parts comedy scenes and action set pieces, with the size-altering premise of the characters lending to imaginative re-imaginings of typical action/adventure films. A Bullit-esque car chase through the streets of San Francisco is made into the most entertaining car chase ever due to Scott and Hope shrinking and enlarging through their pursuers’ vehicles, in addition to the villainous Ghost (played by Hannah John-Kamen) spookily “phasing” through cars and trucks.
As the film’s title implies, Evangeline Lily’s role as Hope aka the Wasp is the expanded as she becomes a more active participant in the film’s plot, a change from being a more supporting character that she was in the previous film. Although her character’s relationship with Scott was still fairly unexplored in this film, it was gratifying to see her fight and actively advance the plot, while her persistence to find her mother (played by Michelle Pfeiffer) is the main driver for the film’s story.
Ant-man and the Wasp has quite the daunting task of following the epic Avengers: Infinity War, and while it may not reach a similar scope, its light-hearted adventure gives a nice palate cleanser and gives a reminder that the Marvel Studios films are still pure fun and whimsy, even when Thanos is out lurking. And, of course, be sure to stay for the mid-credit scene, which dramatically leads into the next Avengers’ installment!