Ant-Man and the Wasp

antmanwasp

Founding Avengers finally get their due

I don’t think I’ve seen a bad movie from Marvel Studios yet. I’ll grant I’m not wild about the Hulk, but I’ve never really liked the character (barring Peter David’s amazing run on the comic) and I’m not sure how much that one counts considering they recast the main character and the teased villain was never followed up on. I had my doubts when I heard about the Ant-Man movie, and ended up loving it. So I was looking forward to Ant-Man and The Wasp.

 

I was right to be. It’s a really fun movie. They follow up on the first Ant-Man movie, and also tie it in neatly to the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War, which is the last time we saw Ant-Man Scott Lang. I love that Marvel Cinematic Universe, from the movies to the various tv shows, all fits together pretty well but, in my opinion, not in an intrusive way. That’s what I love about the big comic book universes, and they’re doing a good job of it with these movies (and the CW/DC shows, but that’s another story).

 

I’m wondering if the movie we saw had some issues, since it started off really abruptly with no lead in at all. It’s Pym and Hope talking about Scott’s journey to the quantum realm in the first movie, and what it might mean for their family. Then we see Scott Lang, bored out of his mind, under house arrest since he and his side were caught during Civil War. I’m not quite sure how this squares with the strongly implied rescue Cap did at the end of that movie, but that’s not a big issue. Scott is clearly trying as hard as he can to be the best father he can to Cassie, and is apparently on good terms with his ex-wife and her new husband, so at least they’ve made progress there.

 

Several plot elements kick in as the movie goes on. The Pyms have their own quest which they touch on in the opening scene, complicated by being on the run following Scott’s decisions in Civil War. Scott is trying to deal with being under house arrest, his family obligations, and helping run a small business with his insane crew from the first movie: Luis (Michael Pena), Dave (Tip TI Harris), and Kurt (David Dastmalchian). There’s a new villain running around, the Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen). And there’s a crooked businessman, Sonny Burch, played by a personal favorite of mine, Walton Goggins. We also get to see Bill Foster, who is at various points Black Goliath and Giant Man in the comics, played by Laurence Fishburne. Keeping zealous watch on Scott is Jimmy Woo (a SHIELD agent in the comics, now an FBI agent in the movie) played by Randall Park of Fresh off the Boat fame.

 

There’s a lot of action throughout the movie, and some great uses of Pym particles to both shrink and grow. There’s the estrangement between the Pyms and Scott to deal with, as well as them being on the run, their family issue, the Ghost’s agenda, and some unexpected betrayals along the way. There’s also the really great humor that carries on from the Ant-Man movie. The “truth serum” scenes were especially great, and most of Woo’s appearances were good for a laugh or two, especially near the end.

 

I’m generally not a big fan of child actors. Abby Ryder Fortson, who plays Scott’s daughter Cassie (eventually the hero Stature in the comics) is adorable, funny, and convincingly devoted to her dad while still remaining a believable kid. I think she might be one to watch as she grows up if she sticks with acting.

 

Marvel is known by now for their end scenes. This movie has two. The first is a shocking tie-in to Avengers: Infinity War that I didn’t remotely see coming that left me sitting there amazed. The second was a sight gag that I’d seen in the commercials that I honestly don’t think was worth staying there for. But man, that first one…

 

What I liked: I usually don’t like this kind of movie where the lead is essentially a big man-child, but Paul Rudd pulls it off and makes Scott Lang likeable. Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas are great as Wasp/Hope Van Dyne and Henry Pym. Michelle Pfeiffer is great as Janet Van Dyne and is aging amazingly well. The combination of humor and action was nicely balanced. It’s a hero movie that’s a comedy but also the recurring theme is family, which sounds like it’s too much at once but I think they did a great job with it. And that first end scene with the tie-in was stunning.

 

What I didn’t: The second end scene was both a lot weaker than the first and sight gag that had been spoiled. I don’t like the direction they picked for Bill Foster. Jimmy Woo went from a talented SHIELD agent to a bumbling comic relief Keystone Cop. I’m not sure I get the timing of what led into the first end scene in the greater Marvel Universe. I have a question about where Scott got something he used to help the Pyms escape at one point.

 

Despite those quibbles, I really enjoyed this movie. It’s a worthy addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as far as I’m concerned. I’ll give it a strong 3.5 out of 5, and I look forward to the characters returning in whatever they end up calling Avengers: Infinity War II.

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