Everyone remember Avengers: Infinity War? The culmination of the first 10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that was paced with amazing action sets, high stakes, and ripped out the hearts of fans all over the world by the time the end credits rolled. But we missed out on one of the more entertaining Avengers.Where was Ant-Man? The twentieth entry in the MCU franchise, Ant-Man and The Wasp, answers that very question.
(This Review is Spoiler-Free)
Ant-Man and The Wasp takes places after the events of Captain America: Civil War, in which Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) fought alongside Captain America and his friends. After working out a deal with the government, Lang is placed under house arrest. But when Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) need help, they reconnect with Lang in order to save a life: Hank’s wife, Hope’s mother and the original Wasp, Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer).This movie starts similarly to 2015’s Ant-Man, where we get some backstory into Hank’s life when he donned the red suit. It also gives us a more expanded look into the fateful mission where Janet became lost in the Quantum Realm. Once again, Marvel decided to go with a digital touch up on the seasoned performers. They look so well done, it looks like we’re back in the 1980s when Douglas and Pfeiffer were two of the biggest stars in the industry. Good job, Marvel and digital artists.
In present-day San Francisco, Lang’s spent the last two years under house arrest and the watchful but suspicious eyes of the FBI. Cut off from his new heroic friends, Lang spends his time keeping himself occupied and being a father to his adorable daughter, Cassie. We also learn that his mentor, Dr. Pym, and Pym’s daughter have cut ties with Lang due to his actions that went against the Sokovia Accords. When a side-effect from his foray into the realm during the previous film comes to light, Hope – now reborn as the next generation Wasp – kidnaps Lang from house arrest, reluctantly asking for his help in opening the Quantum Realm to save her mother.
While this seems like a very basic story (and trust me, it is), nothing is ever that simple in the MCU. While the reunited Team Ant-Man is focusing on locating Janet, they run into a new baddie in Hannah John-Kamen’s Ghost. The matter phasing villain follows Marvel’s strategy of making their bad guy – or in this case, woman – not just a dastardly, I-want-to-rule-or-destroy-the-world, endgame villain. We have Thanos for all of that. Ghost’s backstory made me want to pull for her almost as much as I was pulling for the heroes in their quest. The original Ghost from the comics was a male but I support the creative team’s decision to make the gender irrelevant and cast a female into the role. John-Kamen’s portrayal was great to me, solid in making the character her own and having the audience like her on some level as a “villain”. Charismatic bad guy veteran Walton Goggins was more believable, bathing in classic villain tropes.
The returning cast made the same contributions as they did in the first movie to hilarious effect. Michael Pena’s Luis continues to be the comedic go-to guy who knows a lot of backstory. Lawrence Fishburne and Michael Douglas have solid supporting roles. Lilly looked phenomenal as the Wasp, finally given more to do and be a part of the action. Paul Rudd sticks to what he knows as the charming funny guy and the heart of the film and story. We also lightly touch on the relationship between the two leads in between the two leads, including the ramifications of Civil War.Overall, Ant-Man and The Wasp is a standalone comedy caper/rescue mission film and works better that way. Similar to Black Panther, which also picks up after Civil War, it stands on its own as a movie and only ties into the larger universe during the famous post-credits scenes.
There was more fun with the shrinking tech in this outing to add to the comedic flavor. Returning director Peyton Reed sticks to Ant-Man’s strength of family with a heroic twist. The post-credits ending is amazing as we find out Ant-Man’s whereabouts when Thanos pulled off his heart wrenching victory from Infinity War. How Lang gets out of this will be anyone’s guess until next year’s Avengers 4.
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