Spoiler filled review by Lavender Vroman
If “Avengers: Infinity War” is the Shakespearean tragedy of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Ant-Man and The Wasp” -- with its bubblegum-light vibes – is more like a Saturday morning cartoon.
I’ll admit this comes as something of a relief. After the trauma triggered by the infamous Thanos “Snap,” it’s nice we don’t have to go back to that dark place again just yet … at least not until the end credits anyway. (Warning: Spoilers ahead!)
On the other hand, maybe we’ve been primed by “Infinity War” to expect more from our Marvel movies. While Ant-Man’s second outing is undeniably fun, it’s also vaguely unsatisfying in the way it only skims the surface of its characters’ emotions and relationships.
“Ant-Man and The Wasp” bridges the gap between the events of “Captain America: Civil War” and “Infinity War.” After siding with Cap and friends, violating the Sokovia Accords, and reaching a plea deal with the government, reformed thief Scott Lang is days away from release from house arrest.
He’s preparing to open a security consulting business with former partner in crime Luis (scene-stealer Michael Pena) and spend quality time with daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) when he experiences an unsettling vision from the Quantum Realm, the mind-warping alternate dimension he narrowly escaped at the end of the first film.
This “quantum entanglement” reunites him with physicist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly), who are more than a little pissed at Scott, but need his help in rescuing Hope’s mother Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the Quantum Realm, where she’s been lost for 30 years.
This may sound like weighty subject matter, but director Peyton Reed is clearly not taking much of anything seriously here. When it comes to goofiness, the movie goes for broke with enjoyable results, from Scott’s glitchy new suit, to his comic banter with Randall Park’s S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Woo, to the super-sized Hello Kitty Pez dispenser that makes an appearance in a key action scene.
There are trippy excursions into the Quantum Realm, Morrissey jokes, an extended gag involving truth serum, a high-tech lab that shrinks to the size of a piece of rolling hand luggage, a portable set of Matchbox cars that can be sized up or down for any occasion, and a scene in which Scott makes googly eyes at Douglas.
As with the first film, Rudd and his awkward, smart-ass charm prove irresistible, although Ant-Man’s bad boy attitude seems to be missing this time around. As for The Wasp, it’s great to finally see Lilly take her rightful place front and center as a costumed hero after being denied that in the first movie.
“Ant-Man and The Wasp” also presents us with a cool, new (to the movies) villain – Ghost, who can “phase” through solid objects and matter. Hannah John-Kamen plays the baddie with a desperate, creepy intensity, enhanced by her faceless white armored suit.
Although the film delves briefly into Ghost’s backstory – she was born of an accident in one of Pym’s labs – I was left wanting more of this character. I also would have loved to see more from one-time Catwoman Pfeiffer, as well as Laurence Fishburne, who plays a longtime rival of Pym’s.
While many of the fan theories surrounding “Ant-Man and The Wasp” ultimately prove false, the film leaves us some juicy tidbits to chew over when speculating about future Marvel movie developments.
Is the movie foreshadowing a future team-up between Scott and daughter Cassie, per the comic books? What are the repercussions of Janet’s mysterious “healing” of Ghost?
An end-credit scene reveals that Hope, Hank, and Janet are all dusted in the Snap while Scott is apparently stuck again in the Quantum Realm. What does that mean for the next “Avengers” movie?
Could the newly discovered time vortex and healing particles of the Quantum Realm help the remaining Avengers reverse the Snap?
There’s more than enough time to cook up some new theories. Let’s get cracking!
Thanks Lavender! You can read more from her at No Man's Land Blog and leave a comment below with your thoughts on Ant-Man and the Wasp.
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