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. (from IMDB)
When Ant-Man released three years ago, the film - like the hero - was an underdog of sorts. Few had much faith in it being good or doing well at the box office. But upon its release, moviegoers and Marvel fans alike found a lot to enjoy about the action/adventure film. 2016's Captain America: Civil War cemented Paul Rudd's Scott Lang in the MCU, and now 2018's Ant-Man and the Wasp shows Scott paying for his alliance with Cap in that film.
While Avengers: Infinity War changed the game just two months before the release of this film, we saw that Scott and Ant-Man were nowhere to be found. We learn that he's been on house arrest for the past two years and is just days away from being finishing out his time served. We also soon learn that Michael Douglas' Hank Pym and his daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) have been in hiding since the events of the first Ant-Man, and Scott hasn't seen them since before the events in Civil War. But Ant-Man and the Wasp sheds some light on the quantum realm, a place Scott visited during the climax of the first film. We know Hank's wife/Hope's mother was lost there many years ago, and it's revealed that Scott may be the key to finding her and rescuing her from that realm. What ensues is a reunion of sorts that proves that size does matter - big and small alike.
In regards to sequels, Ant-Man and the Wasp is actually very different from its predecessor - much in the same way that Captain America: Winter Soldier was compared to The First Avenger. Most sequels end up piggybacking on what was successful from the first outing and copies it too much. Ant-Man and the Wasp does well to avoid this for the most part, while upping the shrinking and enlarging antics from the first one. There are aspects of the first one that are a little missed here -- like Scott's journey to becoming Ant-Man was actually a real charm of the first one -- but we're introduced to a lot of new things, and we finally get to see Hope suit up as The Wasp!
I've been a fan of Evangeline Lilly since binging all six seasons of Lost on Amazon several years ago. It's been a treat to see her join the MCU, but this movie really gives her a chance to shine as a hero alongside Ant-Man. Lilly proved on Lost that she's a versatile actress with an intense emotional range, and she brings that depth to Hope in these films. Ant-Man used a mid-credits scene to tease Hope's graduation to becoming The Wasp, and the pay-off is great here. It's apparent that she's spent the past couple years with the technology, and her first action sequence in the film (in a restaurant kitchen) is just gold.
Because the scale of these individual hero films need to keep to isolated locations of mayhem and peril (otherwise, where are the Avengers or other heroes?), the stories stay much more personal in scope. As usual, the villain in this film has some kind of connection to Hank Pym's past, but it works in allowing the film to be just as much about getting to and searching the quantum realm for Janet as it is about the film's villain. And, really, the "villains" of the film are far less evil than the usual villain, which makes it easier to understand their motivations and what drives them. Ready Player One's Hannah John-Kamen is good as "Ghost," but she feels like a distraction from the main storyline (even though she certainly impacts it). She definitely stills adds to some of the movie's best scenes, though. Unfortunately, while I loved Michael Peņa as Luis, along with Lang's other ex-con buddies, they felt a little shoehorned into this story. It was great seeing them again, but there were definitely points where they made the movie feel like a sequel. I'm curious how repeat viewings may impact that feeling, but I think, in the long run, I'm glad they were included somehow.
The content is right on par with the first film, if not a little darker and more ominous in tone at times. (I've debated on whether or not my 7-year-old son could/should see the first Ant-Man movie, while I'm pretty sure he'd find this one to be a little too intense. After all, he was scared during a few moments in last month's Incredibles 2.) The profanity isn't constant, but there are 2 clear uses of the "S" word and one partial one, as well as a sort of masked "S.O.B." (by characters talking over each other), and a handful of other profanities, including around 10 uses of "d*mn,' 1 "g*dd*mn," and a bunch of other cuss words. Again, it isn't constant, but it's there and it definitely didn't need to be (especially the blasphemy). There's loads of action violence, but nothing graphic (aside from seeing a needle go into a person's arm). And there are only a couple suggestive jokes, but nothing truly crude. One scene where Scott and another man compare how big they've gotten (like, as Ant-Man) is used as a setup for Hope to ask them to stop comparing "size," but it's all played for laughs and handled subtly. And when Hank suggests that his wife and Scott had some kind of "quantum entanglement," Scott quickly says that he would never, but Hank corrects him that it's something else.
Overall, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a delightful superhero film that I can't wait to see again. It continues to pave the way to Avengers 4 next May, and it certainly has me eagerly anticipating Captain Marvel in March. By the way, don't miss the mid-credits scene as it directly relates to the finale of Avengers: Infinity War and sets up how Ant-Man will possibly come into play in future films. (There is a post-credits scene, but it's not crucial to see, although it is kind of amusing.)- John DiBiase (reviewed: 7/7/18)
Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.
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