Title: Ant-Man and the Wasp
Describe This Movie In One Archer Quote:
STERLING ARCHER: Do you want ants? Because this is how you get ants.
Brief Plot Synopsis: Arthropodal allies avert astral antagonist.
Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: 4 Mellvars out of 5.
Tagline: "Real heroes. Not actual size."
Better Tagline: "Piss off, ghost."
Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: Finishing up two years of house arrest following the events of Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) hasn't been performing any Ant-Man shenanigans. Instead, he's been playing with his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) and helping former cellmate/accomplice Luis (Michael Peña) get their new security company off the ground. Meanwhile, original Ant-Man Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) have been forced into hiding, but are still building a "quantum tunnel" in the hope they can recover Hope's mother Janet from the Quantum Realm.
"Critical" Analysis: So where was Scott Lang (AKA Ant-Man) during Avengers: Infinity War?
We'll get to that. Before we do, your primary takeaway from Ant-Man and the Wasp is that it's in many ways a better film than its predecessor, as second entries in superhero franchises often are (Thor: The Dark World notwithstanding). Stripped of origin story shackles, Scott and Hope are free to join forces and spend most of their time racing against the clock to complete Pym's quantum tunnel before they're thwarted by the mysterious, multi-phasic Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen).
It's also more freely amusing than the first Ant-Man. Maybe it's an obvious development, but the success of his first superhero movie has allowed director Peyton Reed to loosen the reins, and the results are much sure-footed and humorous this time around. Good thing, too, since this franchise is the most reliably comedic in the MCU (Thor: Ragnarok notwithstanding).
And don't let the title fool you, this mostly is the Wasp's movie. Hope is the first we see using a suit, as she dispatches the henchmen of restaurateur/black market dealer Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), and has been actively working with her father their entire off period to bring back her mother. Hope also shows the initiative to...coax Scott into helping them. If your only exposure to Evangeline Lilly's action chops is through those unfortunate Hobbit movies, prepare to be pleasantly surprised.
Which isn't to say Rudd has nothing to do. A big part of his appeal as this character is his sense of loyalty, whether to family or friends, and it's his acknowledgement of how his actions during "that thing in Germany" affected Hank and Hope that convinces him to jeopardize his own near freedom, just as his love for Cassie kept him on the straight and narrow for two years.
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So if you concentrate on the personal dynamics and the emergence of Lilly as an action badass, as well as the continued delightful presence of Michael "Truth Serum" Peña as Luis, it should help you ignore the more ridiculous aspects of the movie, all of which have to do with the science.
Is it pointless to criticize technological shortcomings in a film that exists in a universe peopled by "enhanced metahumans," aliens, sorcerers, and literal gods? Of course, but while the minds at Marvel may have attempted something approaching plausibility with the original Iron Man, billions of dollars in profit mean they don't even need to try anymore. Hence, quantum tunnels and Hank Pym's "mobile lab," a skyscraper that shrinks to suitcase size and is redeployed randombly across San Francisco, a city not known for vast swaths of empty real estate. Also, how you connect the utilities?
Fine, these are dumb complaints. Ant-Man and the Wasp is a lot of fun, with a kickass heroine, relatable villain (Ghost's predicament recalls that of Black Panther's Killmonger), lots of inventive shrink/grow/shrink action, and a plot that thankfully eschews much of the heavy-handedness of latter era Marvel movies. Until the end.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is in theaters today. In answer to the query put forth at the beginning of this review, we do find out what happens to Scott Lang et.al during the climactic moment of Avengers: Infinity War, but you'll have to wait until the mid-credits scene to see it.