Opening this Friday is the next instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man and The Wasp. While lacking the originality of the first film (and its desire to repeat the beats and moments that made the first one such a unique success), this one still succeeds and does so best when it focuses on the familial relationships that play at the heart of the film.
And if you wait for it, it also explains where Ant-Man and his cohorts were when the events of Infinity War shook the MCU to its core.
The fallout of Civil War has left Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) under house arrest, though the end is in sight. Until he’s released, he’s doing the best he can to make sure his daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) gets the best father-daughter experiences he can provide.
When he has a dream about his descent down to the quantum level of reality from the first film, he has a strange vision involving Hope’s (Evangeline Lilly) mother, Janet Pym (Michelle Pfieffer).
Soon he finds himself broken out of house arrest to help Hope and her father Hank (Micheal Douglas) rescue Janet from the quantum realm. As the characters try to patch up their strained relationships, caused by the events of Civil War, they learn that they aren’t the only ones looking to use the quantum technology, an operative of the now defunct and broken S.H.I.E.L.D., Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) wants to claim it for herself to stabilise her own quantum abilities.
Caught up in the action is an arms dealer, Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) and Scott’s group of ex-cons, including Luis (Micheal Pena).
The problem with Luis is that he’s a one trick pony, there was a great sequence in the first film featuring him, and consequently, that’s all we wanted to see from him in the film, even while Pena tries to elevate the character a little.
Consequently, some of the humour misfires, but on the upside the increased star power of Pfieffer, John-Kamen, and Laurence Fishburne this time around serves to distract from that problem. And when the humour works, the banter amongst the cast tends to be top-notch, and so enjoyable to behold.
The action sequences are fun and inspired, particularly one in a kitchen, which serves as Hope’s introduction as The Wasp and a car chase at the film’s climax. There’s a lot of suspension of disbelief required for some of the shrinking and growing of items, but it’s still a lot of fun to pretend these things could happen, and that is what the film gently reminds us of on a regular basis.
Rudd has an infectious charm that just takes you right in. You imagine that he’s as friendly and likeable as the characters he plays, and that makes you root for him as the hero.
The film entertains, nestling nicely inside the MCU. It expands on the first film, and while not all if it works, it is overall a truly enjoyable film that does best when it focuses on all the family stories that are work in the film.
Evangeline Lilly settles easily into her new role of superhero, and makes a nice partner for Rudd’s Lang, and both of them bring a reality to their characters that is necessary in films like this to help with the suspension of disbelief.
The supporting cast is fantastic, the de-aging CGI used on Pfieffer, Douglas and Fishburne is exceptional, and has come so far from Tron: Legacy.
Ant-Man and The Wasp is another joyous entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and now we settle back and wait for Captain Marvel, and Avengers 4.
Ant-Man and The Wasp opens in theatres this Friday!