After the events of 2014’s Captain America: Civil War, in order to be with his daughter Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang/Ant-Man took a deal to get out of jail; a bargain which included a 2-year house arrest and no more getting very small. But just when he thinks he’s out, they pull him back in for a sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man, although this time he’s not alone.
Evangeline Lilly reprises her role as Lang’s love interest Hope Van Dyne while also assuming the mantle of another diminutive superhero, hence the mouthful of a title Ant-Man and the Wasp (AMATW). Michael Douglas is also back as Hank Pym, Van Dyne’s father and creator of the Pym Particles that allow for both her and Scott to shrink. Michael Peña as Lang’s fast-talking partner-in-crime also reprises his role as fan-favorite Luis.
But there are new faces in the mix as well, which belong to Michelle Pfeiffer as Pym’s wife and original Wasp Janet Van Dyne, and Laurence Fishburne as Pym’s college buddy and rival Dr. Bill Foster (who fans know as the towering superhero, Goliath).
As the 20th (!) film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), AMATW has both quite the legacy to fuel it and high expectations to hamper it. Perhaps that’s why Marvel pulled out all the stops for a lightweight cinematic entry compared to Avengers: Infinity War (AIW), at least where the effects are concerned. However, even the villainous combination of all-too-human gangster Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) and superhuman, phase-shifting Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) are weaksauce comparatively, as are the stakes in this film. But more personal risks are actually a welcome change from the fate of the universe hanging in the balance in every other Marvel film.
AMATW is also quite the palate cleanser from Marvel’s last release, the more serious and gloomy AIW. Instead, this film is breezy – ignoring pesky details that might weigh it down in favor of a light-hearted attitude, while also being flat-out silly in spots. Although its fast pace, witty dialog, visual gags, and great cast outweigh its inconsequentiality, it still feels more like a free-standing one-off rather than part of the whole MCU storyline… at least until the mid-credits scene.
The result is a very family-friendly PG-13 action-adventure (unlike Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom which is fairly violent and grisly for PG-13) that still does what you expect a Marvel movie to do, especially the Ant-Man property: be entertaining and fun to watch.
However, being a Marvel movie, there is that mid-credits scene which is worth waiting around for, and an end-credits tag that is absolutely not.
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Distributor: Buena Vista
Runtime: 1 hrs. 58 min.
Rated PG-13 for some sci-fi action violence
Directed by: Peyton Reed
Writing Credits: Chris McKenna (written by) & Erik Sommers (written by) and Paul Rudd (written by) & Andrew Barrer (written by) & Gabriel Ferrari (written by)
Stars: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Hannah John-Kamen, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas