ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
Director: Peyton Reed
Cast: 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, with Michelle Pfeiffer, with Laurence Fishburne, and Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym
UK Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Genre: Superhero | Action | Comedy • Year: 2018 • Country: United States • Running Time: 118 minutes • Aspect Ratio: 1.90 : 1 (IMAX version: some scenes) | 2.39 : 1 (standard) • Image: Colour • Language: English • Rating: 12A
The summer blockbuster season is well and truly underway, and following the major releases of Incredibles 2 and Mission: Impossible – Fallout, now comes the turn of Marvel Studios with their latest entry, Ant-Man and the Wasp, a hugely entertaining sequel to 2015’s surprise hit, Ant-Man, and a much needed pick-me-up from the Marvel team following the jaw-dropping, cliff-hanger climax to Avengers: Infinity War.
Building on the success of the first film, Ant-Man and the Wasp sees returning director Peyton Reed ramp up the scale, energy and general theatrics for another thrilling, action-packed (and largely tongue-in-cheek) popcorn adventure with the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most accessible and relatable everyman, Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd).
The film opens with an ankle-tagged Lang nearing the end of a two-year house arrest sentence following his part in the destructive battle between ‘The Cap’ (“that’s what his friends call him” Lang boasts!) and the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War. In that time he has whiled away the long, monotonous days lounging around in front of the TV, playing the drums, mastering close-up magic tricks, and struggling to entertain his daughter Cassie (a confident, Mara Wilson-esque Abby Ryder Fortson) during her fleeting visits. Meanwhile, original Ant-Man, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope van Dyne/The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) – who have since gone into hiding and cut ties with Lang – have been hard at work building a secretive pop-up lab in the hope of rescuing Pym’s wife/Hope’s mother, Janet (the original Wasp), who disappeared in the Quantum Realm some thirty-years earlier.
However when Lang receives a mysterious message from Janet (telepathically), Hank and Hope soon pounce on the opportunity to reel him back in and uncover the secrets in his head, with Lang forced to break his parole and don the famous size-shifting suit once again. Though a host of antagonists – including: Walton Goggins’ shady black-market tech dealer, Sonny Burch; Randall Park’s bumbling FBI agent – and Lang’s parole officer – Jimmy Woo; and Hannah John-Kamen’s ruthless Ava Starr / Ghost, a conflicted young woman suffering from molecular instability and desparate to find a cure for her inner pain, no matter the cost – are on hand throughout to throw numerous disastrous spanners in the works.
Despite a busy and jam-packed screenplay – co-written by no less than five credited screenwriters (Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, and Gabriel Ferrari) – Reed does a solid job in juggling the various plot strands, balancing the frequent humour and sarcasm (some of which does feel a little forced), and drawing out the relatable human elements that effectively ground it.
True to form with Marvel, the work of the design and effects teams is consistently impressive and suitably epic in scope, leading to some memorable action sequences and captivating (if often hilarious) set pieces. Reed and the team have great fun toying (quite literally) with the various shrinking objects – here everything from people to cars and buildings – as well as utilising Pym’s loyal army of ant assistants to great effect, and playing about with Lang’s constantly malfunctioning suit which sees the diminutive hero grow to giant size.
Led by Rudd, Lilly and Douglas, the sturdy and engaging ensemble do great work throughout, with the likes of Michael Peña, Randall Park, David Dastmalchian, Tip “T.I.” Harris, and Bobby Cannavale further elevating the comedic aspects of the film.
The Ant-Man series may not have the overall polish and extravagance of some of the other, better-know superhero franchises, however in its own unique and playful way, Ant-Man and the Wasp proves an absolute winner, and a perfect big screen blockbuster just in time for the summer holidays!