“Ant-Man And The Wasp” is the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a sequel to 2015’s “Ant-Man.” The movie is crushing its competition in its opening weekend. According to Variety, the film has garnered $76 million domestically and currently stands in the number one spot at the box office, knocking out “The Incredibles 2.”
Like its predecessor, the film is directed by Peyton Reid, and takes place prior to the events of “Avengers: Infinity War.” The move delivers some genuine laughs, but it seems a bit overcrowded with characters and subplots.
The film picks up two years after the events of “Captain America: Civil War.” Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has three days left of house arrest after he made a plea bargain to avoid jail-time for aiding Steve Rogers. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) are experimenting with trying to bring Hank’s wife and Hope’s mother Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) back into reality after being lost in the “quantum realm.” Scott reluctantly agrees to help, knowing that if he is caught, he could go back to jail for a long time.
They have built a device that would allow them to enter the realm and recover Janet, but the device is sought after by black-market arms dealer Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) and the mysterious Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), a woman who can phase in and out of reality.
Under the guidance of Hank, Scott and Hope suit-up as Ant-Man and the Wasp to keep the technology out of the wrong hands while rescuing someone close to them.
Edgar Wright (“Baby Driver,” “Scott Pilgrim VS The World”) helped write the first film with his knack for crafting a good story. His absence is sorely felt in the sequel.
While I did enjoy the film overall, I felt that the protagonists had to face-off against too many villains. There are plain-clothed criminals, the Ghost, and the FBI all chasing after them as they try to accomplish their goal of infiltrating the realm. At times, it felt overwhelming seeing the duo fight off a seemingly endless supply of canon-fodder thugs.
This includes the subplots in the film. Scott is under house arrest and if he gets caught, he goes back to jail. Michael Peña’s character Luis is starting a business and he needs Scott’s help.
Ghost wants vengeance on Pym for the death of her father. The criminals want Pym’s technology to make weapons. The plots do converge around the climax, but during the first act of the film it felt a bit chaotic.
The same is true of the supporting cast, with the exceptions of Peña and Abby Ryder Fortson playing Scott’s daughter Cassie, they are largely forgettable. Even the talented Laurence Fishburne, making a transition from DC’s “Man of Steel” to the MCU, seemed lost in the overcrowded film. There were just too many cooks in the proverbial kitchen to care about.
As for the main characters, Rudd, Lilly, and Douglas’ performances in the film are top-notch. Lilly’s portrayal of Hope is developed well as she takes on the superhero identity of the Wasp. Rudd delivers hilarious one-liners and brings what we love about Ant-Man back to the screen. Douglas, with his veteran acting skills, takes the lead in this movie. Hannah John-Kamen as the villainous Ghost does a good job of playing a tormented, troubled antagonist who wants revenge for the death of her family. She is not the typical comic book, throwaway villain. Her hurt is deep and her desire for vengeance deadly.
Overall, “Ant-Man And The Wasp” stays true to the action-comedy roots of the first film, creating genuine laughs and eye-popping sequences of fun. Is it a deep film? No, but it is an enjoyable thrill-ride from beginning to end.
Check out the trailer below: