Sometimes it’s not all about saving the world, sometimes its just about saving your own world, and that’s exactly where we return to find Scott Lang aka Ant-Man in Ant-Man and The Wasp….and this time he’s getting a partner.
Following the events of Civil War, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) find themselves framed and on the run. With no one to trust but themselves, Pym designs a brand new suit for his daughter Hope and she teams up with Scott as The Wasp, and two set off to clear their names and stop a dangerous new threat to the world.
Director Peyton Reed takes us back to basics with Ant-Man and the Wasp as we catch up with Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang following the events of Captain America: Civil War. Bound on house arrest for two years he’s just days away from his freedom and this has caused some serious issues in his life. But Scott’s not the type of guy to moan or whinge about his situation and is instead making the most of his current life, and that’s exactly why I love Ant-Man so much!
As a director Reed understands that his hero is Marvel’s every man character and again he focuses the narrative, characterization and action of Ant-Man and The Wasp on a less is more philosophy. Sometimes you don’t have to go big to save the world, sometimes it’s far more interesting to keep the narrative contained and have it play out as a more interior story. Reed of course delivers big on his story, but this more contained and personal narrative, which has a real romantic-comedy spin to it, really does something unexpected and different and this once again really shakes up the Marvel Cinematic Universe in terms of content.
Paul Rudd again proves why he’s one of the most in demand actors around with his performance as Scott Lang/Ant-Man. Rudd’s performance as Lang is an homage to the every man out there. While Lang might be a hero, he’s also a bit of a screw-up and again couldn’t help but get caught following the events of Civil War. Having paid the price for it with being under house arrest he’s now desperately again trying to prove to his daughter Cassie that he can be a good Dad and a superhero at the same. Something which Cassie thinks is just the best thing ever.
While Rudd is again back in full action man form, and has the abs to prove it, he’s also really cranking out the comedy! Whether it’s his quick one-liners or his idiotic reactions, Rudd delivers plenty of zingers and this time he gets to inject some great physical comedy into the role thanks to his super shrinking powers. While I can’t go into specifics without running the risks of spoilers I will say that what results are some hilarious scenes that will get you pretty damn giddy.
But if Ant-Man and The Wasp has a scene stealer then it’s undoubtedly the presence of Evangeline Lilly who returns in the role of Hope Van Dyne and who now assumes the mantle of the super powered Wasp. Like Scott’s Ant-Man, Hope also has the ability to change her size, but she gets the added benefits of wings and blasters which deliver a serious sting. While Rudd’s Lang might have been the have-a-go amatuer, Lilly’s Hope is a true professional when it comes to kicking butt and she gets to show off some seriously cool combat moves as she mows through the bad guys.
Things are also a lot more personal this time round for Hope as she and her father, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), try to unlock the mysteries of the Quantum Realm in an effort to retrieve Hope’s long lost mother and Hank’s lifetime love Janet Van Dyne, who disappeared years earlier in a very dangerous mission gone wrong. This commitment to rescue her mother and make things right really gives Hope a dynamic drive and you can’t look away as she’s ready to do everything in her power to set things right. As an audience member I was very excited to see what Lilly could do as The Wasp and I look forward to seeing her in a greater capacity within the MCU going forward.
Ant-Man and The Wasp also gets some interesting villains this time around in the form of Hannah John-Kamen’s Ghost and Walton Goggins exotic and colourful black marketer Sonny Burch. As a villain John-Kamen really does something different with her approach to the villainous Ghost and her particular powers and the predicament that they leave her in cast her as a very interesting character who brings a multitude of feeling to the role. Matched beside John-Kamen is the always dependable Walton Goggins who brings a good helping of charm and quirkiness as Burch. Together they provide plenty of trouble for our heroes.
But how do you deal with bad guys, well teamwork obviously helps. And that’s what this film is all about. While Scott learnt that he could save the day in the first Ant-Man film, here he gets the benefit of a partner in both heroics and love and this is where Ant-Man and The Wasp takes a twist into something that I just loved: a full-on romantic comedy. Yes it’s a change to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but I absolutely loved that Marvel were willing to take that risk and obviously it keeps things fresh as well.
I also have to jump in and say that the action and special effects of Ant-Man and The Wasp are just crazy cool and Reed and his team of creatives really get up to a lot of fun with the film’s unique use of the power of shrinking. Everything shrinks this time from heroes to cars to whole buildings and Reed knows when to use it for both comedy and action. In my own opinion Ant-Man and The Wasp has one of the coolest car chases ever filmed and all I’ll say is that Michael Pena goes on the ride of his life. Seriously you have to watch this on the biggest screen possible because the spectacle just jumps off of the screen. I also liked how Ant-Man and The Wasp really makes this film a ‘science hero’ type of genre piece with so much of the action and narrative interweaving science and the quest for the unknown into the film.
If there’s a central theme to Ant-Man and The Wasp then it’s that above all else family does indeed matter. Whether it’s Scott and Cassie, Hope and Hank or the mission to once again unify the Pym/Van Dyne family, it’s narrative filmmaking that really pulls at your heart strings and I really enjoyed watching it.
Oh and by the way….make sure you stay till the end credits.
If you’re looking for some straight up fun at the cinema then I highly recommend you check out Ant-Man and The Wasp. With a good dose of action and comedy and a double serving of romance it’s a film that really entertains and keeps the MCU fresh while also showing that sometimes the smallest heroes can have a very big impact.
Image: Walt Disney Pictures