ANT MAN & THE WASP (Dir. by Peyton Reed, 118 minutes, USA, 2018)
BY RICHARD SUPLEE GEEK SPACE CORRESPONDENT Where does the Marvel Cinematic Universe go after super soldiers, scientists, gods, raccoons, aliens, and an entire secret nation of Wakanda fought together against a single threat in Avengers: Infinity War? They scaled down — literally. Ant-Man and The Wasp is superhero story with less stakes. But that is not a bad thing. This film is a more personal story. Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang is a divorced dad just trying to keep his life together. He is focused on his new security business, finishing the house arrest sentence he was put on after Captain America: Civil War, and making his daughter happy. Of course no film ever makes it easy for the hero.
Things start cooking when creator of Lang’s shrinking Ant-Man suit, Michael Douglas’s Hank Pym, and his daughter, Evangeline Lily’s Hope van Dyne (the new Wasp) show up asking him to help rescue Pym’s wife/Hope’s mother (Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet Van Dyne) from the mysterious Quantum Realm. Rounding out the cast is the always-great Laurence Fishburne’s Bill Foster and Hannah John-Kamen’s Ava Foster/Ghost as the villains. But these are not “trying to open a portal to destroy the world” villains as so many superhero films have. Ghost can walk through solid objects, but it’s slowly killing her. So she is attempting to steal the same technology Hank Pym needs to save his wife.
The overall plot is simple and predictable at times. It ends with a deus ex machine that you see coming a mile away. But the action is fresh and unique as we see the title characters continuously change size during fights to become smaller targets or throw a 20 foot tall salt shaker at someone. And the humor livens everything up. The film is a throwback to old family films where you know a happy ending is coming. But that is ok. Not every film needs the entire universe to face down an existential threat or for the heroes to lose at the end. Ant-Man and The Wasp proves that film studios do not need to constantly make their films bigger and bigger to entertain audiences.