Ant-Man and the Wasp, 2018.
Directed by Peyton Reed.
Starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Hannah John-Kamen, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Abby Ryder Fortson, Bobby Cannavale, T.I., David Dastmalchian, Divian Ladwa, Laurence Fishburne, Judy Greer, Randall Park, Michael Cerveris, Rob Archer, Sean Kleier, Goran Kostic, Benjamin Byron Davis, Riann Steele, and Michelle Pfeiffer.
As Scott Lang balances being both a Super Hero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past.
And deep breath. After the joyous cataclysm of Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a welcome disposable dose of silliness. Now some 20 films into the ever-growing universe, Marvel have fine-tuned the release schedule to a science, venturing from the very largest to the very literally smallest film in the space of a few months.
They too understand that not every film necessarily needs to be world changing. Although Ant-Man and the Wasp does lay the pieces of a future journey further into the quantum realm, it does this flippantly. It has little care for the world around it: no Cap, no Stark, no Guardians, just Paul Rudd and co. acting like fools.
Rudd returns as Scott Lang now under house arrest following the events of Captain America: Civil War. Under the watchful eye of S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jimmy Woo (a delightful Randall Park), he is limited to reenacting his past heroics with daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Forston) and learning sleight of hand magic tricks – which in a running gag seems to only impress adults.
Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and father Hank Pym have different plans for Lang. On the hunt for missing wife Janet deep in the quantum realm, they up Lang days before release in hope that he can bring her home. All this whilst fighting mysterious, phase shifting villain Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) and sleazy, gangster type Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins).
Director Peyton Reed exploits Rudd for everything he’s worth, creating what is effectively a greatest hits of Rudd-isms. Dramatically he has the least to do, and even at a time in which the film delves into dramatic exposition, Rudd is made to play class clown.
It’s much needed, drama never exactly suited Ant-Man. The first film was at its best when it played with the conventions of a grown man shrinking, making a Thomas the Tank Engine toy the most dangerous foe he could face. And Reed has learnt from that.
There’s more Michael Peña and his merry band of boobs. There’s more of his joyous retelling of stories, more David Dastmalchian’s Kurt who reveals himself to be horrified by folktale villain “Baba Yaga,” and more shrinking silliness.
The whole thing is fun, nothing more, nothing less. So at an excessive 118 minutes, it’s a shame there’s all too much dead weight. A final, albeit entertaining car chase drags unnecessarily and the addition of Laurence Fishburne as onetime Pym colleague Dr. Bill Foster exists only as a mechanism for exposition.
It’s here when it begs the questions; is it fun enough? Well, maybe. Reed plays Ant-Man and the Wasp like a live-action animation, playing into Saturday morning serialised adventure shows of your youth. Moments needed to be taken seriously sit awkwardly in the mix, but there’s enough to enjoy around it that they can be buried beneath a giggle.
Go for scene-stealer Michael Peña and Rudd upping the ante on his Rudd-isms, stay reluctantly for the mid-credits sequence that, well you know…
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★