Hello, my fellow geeks!
I have finally taken the time to check out Ant-Man and the Wasp in theaters. I wanted a day, or two, to gather my thoughts on the film so I could put together a well thought out review. Marvel's Ant-Man and the Wasp is a step in the right direction for the mini-sized franchise, and I am quite happy with Payton Reed's vision. I usually take notes for this stuff, but this time, I'm winging it. ;)
After announcements of Paul Rudd's casting as Scott Lang, I knew that the Ant-Man movies would have plenty of comedy. Ant-Man and the Wasp offer gags in every sense of the word and has the bigger budget to pull off the physical comedy that is often used in lower budget movies. The film has taken what worked in the original and expanded on everything. Like most good sequels, movie franchises build upon the foundation that has been created and makes things bigger. Ant-Man and The Wasp poke fun at this by making everything smaller.
After the events of Civil War, we meet up with Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) under house arrest. The crimes he committed have placed him under government watch, and he has opted to get out of a cell to be able to see his daughter, Cassie Lang. After Scott realizes that he still shares a connection with Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), He reaches out to Hank Pym to discuss this connection. This moment puts the entire movie in motion and shows us the relatively small stakes on the line. The characters have their families hanging in the balance which is, of course, terrifying to them, but it's not quite Thanos big.
Scott and the Pyms have family issues to deal with, but Ava, AKA, Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) has her own life on the line. Her evil motives are self-imposed and believable to a certain extent. I have to question some of her actions. I understand she is angry at S.H.I.E.LD. for abandoning her and lying to her but it does not excuse her rash decisions to kill. Even after Bill Foster's advice, Ava's blind rage takes over. These are stories based in comics, so characters thinking so rational that they become villains is not out of the ordinary. The only saving grace of these moments is that Marvel seems to be setting up a possible inclusion of a team made of super villains called Thunderbolts. Here is hoping to that coming to pass.
Marvel's Ant-Man and the Wasp is a fantastic looking movie. Its ridiculous fight scenes feel so grounded. When we see Ant-Man skating with a flatbed truck in the middle of a car chase, it feels almost improvised in its execution. The time it takes to craft the CGI elements in the sequence argues that it was not improvised at all, but that does not change how we, the audience, feel in the moment.
Early in the movie, we have our first fight featuring Hope Van Dyne's Wasp (Evangeline Lilly). Her battle with Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) and his goons is spectacular. It shows the true extent of Hope's abilities. Hope is the one who trained Scott in the first movie, and the point is driven home with this battle. As she jumps over the kitchen counter, tosses the salt shaker just to enlarge it to block the kitchen door, I thought to myself this is a Wasp that has earned the title of superhero. Hope was destined to be the Wasp we see on screen. I like Evangeline Lilly in this role, and that is not just because I'm a huge fan of Lost.
Although most of the action scenes are handled with CGI, the choreographed fights are treated very well. The mid-battle shrinking and growing is treated with a soft brush. None of the matches seem out of place or floaty when the CGI is implemented. The car chase sequence as I mentioned earlier is one of my favorites. Driving and altering the size and scale of the vehicle is playful, especially for anyone who has played with a Hot Wheels toy.
Connection to the MCU
This movie is somewhat secluded from all of the other events that take place in the MCU. The events of Captain America: Civil War are still felt by all of the characters which is a good thing. I'm happy to see how Scott is dealing with the mistakes he made without them going too deep into the lore of the MCU. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope Van Dyne have been on the run for a long time, and their habits help to drive that point home. Their constant shrinking and growing of buildings and cars is well thought out and seems to be very typical for them, while Scott is in awe after the first few size-altered moves. I move every few months to a new city, and I would give any amount of money to have Pym particles at my disposal.
It is not until the end of the film that we see what happened to Hank, Hope, Janet, and Scott during the infamous Thanos Snap. Just moments after sending Scott into the Quantum Realm we find out that Hank, Hope, and Janet have been dusted; Leaving Scott stuck with no way back. I'll leave the speculation to other content creators for now.
All in all, I think that Marvel's Ant-Man and the Wasp is a great movie. It holds true to its comedic roots and reminds us that size doesn't matter. I believe that to be true for this movie. The stakes are low, the jokes are abundant, and the action is wide placed. I can't wait to see more Ant-Man in Avengers 4, but as for the Wasp; I hope the Avengers bring her back soon.