Once again, by going small this micro-sized comic hero’s adventures resonate in a big way.
For all the hyperbole surrounding the fate of the universe in the Avengers’ mega-films, it’s refreshing that Marvel is still able to find a heart through Ant-Man’s comical misadventures. 2018 sequel ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp‘ offers fantastic visuals, abundant creativity, and an easygoing ensemble.
Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) has been benched following his little German side trip with good buddy “Cap”. Now under FBI house arrest the most fun he gets to have is through make-believe heists with assists from daughter Cassie (Abby Ryfer Forston, charming) and fellow ex-con sidekick Luis (the one and only Michael Peña).
While Ant-Man creator Hank Pym (an effortless Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) champion on–sans Scott–to locate and save their long thought dead wife/mother Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) now believed to be missing in the ethereal “Quantum Realm”.
In plot-contrivance fashion all quickly reunite to, once again, save the day. And as Hope is now wearing Pym’s hand-crafted “Wasp” suit she becomes Ant-Man’s defacto shrinking partner. Leading to a number of beautifully executed see-it to believe-it action moments as they fight a new gaggle of villains blocking Janet’s rescue.
The extended cast which includes Judy Greer, Randall Park, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, and Lawrence Fishburne provides little more than one-dimensional tonal flavoring. Even phasing bad-ass foil “Ghost” (Hannah John-Kamen) mostly exists to add extra flair to the action.
With the stakes personal (and not global) this off-the-hook lunacy lives solely for fun of it. Sure, there’s constant peril and Janet’s not exactly in a “safe” place. But, with fifteen foot long PEZ dispensers as weapons, an actual matchbox case full of getaway cars, and the use of ants (both regular and human-sized) as faithful minions there’s no chance of things being taken too seriously.
Scott Lang still embodies what it truly means to be “super”. Just an ordinary guy risking his life trying to do the right thing by using a suit made with technology he doesn’t fully understand. Paul Rudd’s bountiful charm and knack for dramedy perfectly befit this micro-sized misfit.
The zany script is teaming with plot-holes and inconsistencies–don’t even get me started on the Physics 101 issues. Yet, with endless running gags, inside jokes, and a total irreverence no one’s likely to care. Having a great time is what it’s all about. Plus Rudd, Lilly, and Douglas create one helluva dysfunctional “super” team. And Peyton Reed, now without the baggage of being just the “replacement“, directs with an assured confidence
Buckle up, lean back, and simply enjoy ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp‘. It ain’t rocket science (well, it tries to be), but it’ll easily hold us over until the Avengers fix the universe in 2019.