WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES/MARVEL STUDIOS (2018)

 

Director: Peyton Reed

 

Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Peña, Hannah John-Kamen, Lauren Fishburne

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s….Ant-Man…but he does have a Wasp this time.

 

The least intimidating sounding superhero returns in the sequel to 2015’s surprise hit, with Paul Rudd donning the ant suit once more and being joined by Evangeline Lilly for this slice of Marvel action-comedy-fungasm. After the exhilarating highs and emotions of Avengers: Infinity War, something lighter was definitely needed and this was the movie to bring it.

Still under house arrest after violating the Sokovia Accord, Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Rudd) is quickly pulled back into the superhero life after former associate Hank Pym (Douglas) and his daughter Hope/Wasp (Lilly) open a tunnel to the quantum realm, where Hank’s wife Janet van Dyne (Pfeiffer) has been in purgatory since 1987. Black-market dealer Sonny Burch (Goggins) wants in on the technology, but they hadn’t bet on a quantumly unstable arse-kicking machine, Ghost (John-Kamen) showing up to foil their plans. It’s a race against time and many obstacles to save Janet from the quantum realm and bring her back to our world.

 

Avengers: Infinity War was an exhausting, though excellent, spectacle and it’s quite a relief that the next movie on the Marvel conveyor belt was Ant-Man and the Wasp – clearly never going to be a deathfest like what came before. With Paul Rudd in charming good form and Evangeline Lilly as his arse-kicking cohort (both excellent together and individually), things were always going to be OK, and so they were. This is a very decent movie full of what we have come to expect from Marvel – action, fun, humour, big set pieces and cool costumes – and a great cleanser ahead of the next big releases that will shape the MCU’s future.

 

Side note: Hannah John-Kamen is wonderful.

 

It’s all very sciencey and technical this time around – Lang himself asking whether every word has “quantum in front of it”. We get trips to different realms that look like a mad acid trip, assassins who aren’t fully in this world, salt shakers as huge weapons and Michael Douglas as well. In that sense, it does feel very much like a “comic book movie” (with Michael Douglas) and some of the set pieces involving Ant-Man and the Wasp in action compliment this nicely. The action is at times fast and furious, but after Infinity War it was always going to feel a bit anti-climactic – though the use of shrinking and growing in these scenes was utilised well. The gags throughout land wonderfully, with Peña and Randall Park sharing the majority of the movies better laughs (see: truth serum scene) and the humour once again never really felt out of place – unlike Stan Lee’s ubiquitous cameo.

 

There’s a lot to like and not an awful lot to dislike about Ant-Man and the Wasp. It’s what we have come to expect now from Marvel and its drastic shift in tone from Infinity War may in fact benefit the movie more. Full of action, fun, humour, colour and Michael Douglas, if you simply want a good old superhero flick, you won’t be disappointed here.

July 25th 2018

© 2016 Matt Hudson / What I Watched Tonight / Essex

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