Movie review Ant-Man and the Wasp: Back in 2015, a small-scale, lesser-known superhero named ‘Ant-Man’ carrying heavy-scale burden to follow up the Marvel’s ambitious (yet convoluted) assemble, Avengers: Age of Ultron was almost unimaginable. Stormed with production issue—when the appointed director, Edgar Wright, left due to creative difference and get replaced by Yes Man director, Peyton Reed—Ant-Man was, again, almost an expected trainwreck. Only, it did not end up becoming one; it instead becomes one of Marvel’s most prominent standalone movies which blends superhero action, unapologetic comedy and warm family drama.
In 2018, Ant-Man makes a come-back in a similar role to the previous film—to clean the palette after the devastating Avengers: Infinity War. In doing so, Ant-Man and the Wasp, still helmed by Reed, stays a small movie that completes the grand image of a bigger one. Effective proportion is what it takes to do the role. It stays minuscule and distant from the recent event, but it paves a way to be an important addition (or even key-point) in the next grand event, which as we may expect is the untitled fourth Avengers movie.
Ant-Man and the Wasp takes place some time after Scott Lang’s (Paul Rudd) colossal showdown in Civil War (2016). For his ‘infringement’ of Sokovia Accord, Scott is home-bound—put into a two-year house arrest by the FBI—where he receives a random vision of his experience in quantum realm plus a mysterious encounter. At the same time, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), Scott’s Ant-Man mentor, and his daughter, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) become somewhat convinced that they can rescue, Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer)—Hank’s wife and, of course, Hope’s mother—from the same quantum realm after receiving Scott’s cue. As the plan is set in motion, Hank, Hope and Pym are tangled in a turbid feud with Randall Park led FBI, black market mogul (Walton Goggins) and a ghost-like villain (Hannah John-Kamen).
Now building from the scratch, Peyton Reed is still able to find balance in delivering Marvel sleek formula with heightened level of comedy and family drama. Paul Rudd takes over most of the drama as his character attempts to become a good father, a good ex-husband and, most importantly, a good Ant-Man. Rudd’s chemistry with his on-screen daughter, Abby Ryder Fortson, is delicate—mirroring Hank Pym and Hope van Dyne’s relationship. It gets even warmer when Judy Greer as Scott’s ex-wife and Bobby Canavale as the ex-wife’s new husband also appear on the screen together.
Rudd’s comedic charisma easily finds a way to manifest on-screen with his uncontrollable quips and banters with other character—most notably with Michael Peña’s Luis creating the most likeable Marvel superhero-sidekick team; and with Randall Park as a ‘Forever Bothering Individual’ agent who supervises Scott. With such comedy magnificos in the ensemble of cast, Marvel could even make a standalone, less-superhero more-comedy spinoff of this. The comedy is fresh even with glorified callback to the predecessor’s screen-stealing monologues and expanded kids’ toys (this time, it’s not a toy, though; it’s a Pez!).
While Paul Rudd takes care of everything that makes Ant-Man different from other Marvel movies, it’s Evangeline Lilly who’s connecting this family dramedy into Marvel Cinematic Universe. Her Wasp takes over the Marvel-lous action part and the resourceful DNA, in which she’s finding tons of joy in delivering such a badass performance. On the opposite corner, Hannah John-Kamen’s Ghost is an ambivalent Marvel villain with enticing phasing gift (or curse?). As a villain, she delivers the part effectively to give sense of urgency; yet, with superheroes as likeable as Ant-Man (and The Wasp) as well, she’s completely outshone.
Final verdict: With casts ranging from comedy magnificos to award-winning living legends, this blend is effortlessly likable. Ant-Man and the Wasp is easily Marvel’s finest family drama which always stays small to give ways to something big in the future.
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Directed by: Peyton Reed Written by: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari Starred by: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer Runtime: 118 mins