Paul Rudd is once again amongst the ants as he suits up for Marvel’s ‘Ant-Man’ sequel…
Spoiler free review
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michael Pena, Hannah John-Kamen, Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Pfeiffer
Directed by: Peyton Reed / Written by: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Farrari / 118 minutes
What’s it about?
Under house arrest after joining Captain America’s fight against Tony Stark’s Iron Man, Scott Lang finds he must become Ant-Man again and team-up with Hope Van Dyne – now the Wasp – when Hank Pym discovers a way to rescue his wife from the Quantum Realm…
Following its U.S. release in July, Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp has finally arrived in U.K. cinemas. The sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp provides essentially more of the same but is no less enjoyable for it. Picking up two years after the events of Captain America: Civil War (and taking place prior to Avengers: Infinity War), we’re reintroduced to ex-con turned superhero Scott Lang, who has been sentenced to house arrest after siding with Captain America against Iron Man and the rest of the pro-Sokovia Accord heroes. Days away from the end of his sentence, Lang focuses on being the best father he can be to his daughter Cassie and staying out of trouble. But as Lang starts to experience strange ‘dreams’ about the Quantum Realm he finds himself reaching out to Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne – currently fugitives from the law – who believe they’ve found a way to rescue Pym’s wife, Janet from the sub-molecular dimension.
Ant-Man director Peyton Reed returns to helm this second instalment and together with the terrific cast delivers a fun popcorn adventure that has the same mix of action, humour and heart that entertained audiences the first time around. It’s scale is more confined than the epic, galaxy-spanning Infinity War but a refreshing change of pace in the wake of that cinematic behemoth. That’s not to say that Ant-Man and the Wasp doesn’t have some great set-pieces and Reed is once again skilful in staging inventive action scenes that make the most out of repeatedly shrinking/enlarging people – and objects – without it ever becoming tiresome or gimmicky. Yet, at its core Ant-Man and the Wasp is a story about family and the lengths people will go to for those they care about which is something everyone can relate to and become invested in.
Paul Rudd confidently reprises the role of Scott Lang/Ant-Man, his playful approach to the part enhanced by the charm of his relationship with Cassie and the rapport he has with Abby Rider Forston. Let’s not forget that this is called Ant-Man and the Wasp though and following through on the promise of Ant-Man’s post-credits scene, Evangeline Lilly is offered equal opportunity to get in on the action as Hope Van Dyne suits up as the Wasp and there are many great scenes for her, including a nifty kitchen-based fight sequence. Lilly and Rudd share good chemistry as well and the pair really do feel like a team, their talents better utilised together than apart. Michael Douglas also makes a welcome return as Hank Pym adding a cantankerous yet fatherly dynamic to the team.
Michael Pena’s Luis was Ant-Man’s secret weapon with numerous memorable comic moments and that’s more or less the same here although this time around it feels a little overplayed, particularly evident in the repetition of the hilarious ‘monologuing’ scene that, whilst amusing, isn’t quite as effective as it was originally.
Game of Thrones and Ready Palyer One actress Hannah John-Kamen plays the main antagonist, a meta-human known as ‘Ghost’ who is an interesting character with an intriguing backstory that promises depth but ultimately isn’t as fully explored as one would hope. Adding to the threat is Walton Goggins (Predators) as underworld dealer Sonny Burch, similarly underdeveloped but provides an extra element of villainy non-the-less.
Laurence Fishburne brings further star value in a small albeit key role as Pym’s former colleague, Dr. Bill Foster facilitating some wonderfully tense rivalry between the two. Unfortunately, Michelle Pfeiffer is surprisingly underserved as Janet Van Dyne – what moments she has are significant but the film’s screenplay doesn’t provide enough room for development.
Whilst the use of humour in some of Marvel’s other efforts can be overutilised and not always hit the mark, it’s pretty much perfectly executed here and in a similar vein to Guardians of the Galaxy it feels integral to the world of Ant-Man. Making light of absurd concepts and situations is part of what makes this iteration of the character (coupled with Rudd’s performance and comic timing) work successfully and only adds to the appeal.
Ant-Man and the Wasp doesn’t do anything daring or different but it’s as enjoyable as the first film and the right sort of tonal shift for those still reeling from the emotional shocks of Infinity War whilst preparing viewers for what’s to come.
The bottom line: Ant-Man and the Wasp provides more of the same in a comic book romp that amongst its inventive action is funny, exciting and heartfelt.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is in cinemas now.