No matter how small a film, Marvel has a magic that transcends the quantum realm. With just a tiny bit of effort and the help of a good story, The Marvel Movie franchise has managed a Ten Year franchise composed of several movies of varying stature. From the Goliaths that are the the Avengers to the clever shorts that fill in the holes between the films, Marvel has been able to create a varied and interesting universe. Today’s movie may be a smaller entry but it is quite the grand adventure nonetheless, This is Ant-man & the Wasp.
Picking up not long after the events of Captain America Civil War, Ant-Man and the Wasp finds Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) in house arrest, just days away from being released. With the FBI breathing down his throat, his attempts at reconnecting with his daughter and starting a new security firm, Scott is a busy man. That is, he thought he was busy. Soon he is back in the business of being Ant-Man when Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) arrive with news that he can help them save the lost Janet Van Dyne from the Quantum Realm. Of course, it’s not that easy as there are others interested in the technology that will allow Scott and team to travel to the quantum realm.
Once again, Paul Rudd steals the show. The man doesn’t seem to have a limit in his abilities and this is one where he really gets to stretch his legs a little. I won’t spoil it for you but there is one particular scene where he gets to act out of his comfort zone and man does he do a tremendous job.
Evangeline Lilly does an incredible job as The Wasp and, in all honesty, is a much better action star than Rudd but when the two of them get together, there is certainly some chemistry between them. I have to say, I really hope that we get more of this pair in future sequels.
I was also very pleased to see actor Randall Park as FBI Agent Jimmy Woo. Those of you not familiar with Park’s work should give his television series Fresh off The Boat a try. He is a hilarious actor and it is such a thrill to see him on the big screen in a major film like this.
The supporting cast is great. Michael Peña, Bobby Cannavale and T.I., are back as Scott Lang’s ne’er-do-well teammates and they are simply terrific. Peña himself is a delight to watch and, just as in the last film, manages to keep the fun humor throughout. Everyone else, from Laurence Fishburne as Bill Foster, Walton Goggins as the black market dealer Sonny Burch and Hannah John-Kamen as the villainous Ghost, do a great job in their roles. More on the villainous side of things below.
Every Marvel film has to have a villian and this one is certainly not short in that department. The obvious one is Ghost played by Hannah John-Kamen. Hannah plays a young woman who is stricken with an affliction indirectly caused by Hank Pym himself and decides that only his technology can save her. With the help of someone else, she manages to be a thorn in the side of our heroes for much of the film. The problem is, even with her quantum abilities, the character comes off as a little one dimensional. It is not the actresses fault in any way as she does a great job playing the part it is the character herself.
Once again we have a villian who wants X to do Y and will go through Z to get it. It is a tried and true formula and will likely be the format for every superhero movie to come but, having been done so many times, she comes across as a rather cliched villain at best. Although they do try to inject some back story into her origin story, it is something that would have been better served if it had been subtly setup in a previous film. All at once you are expected to care for her plight and, to be honest, you just hope she gets squashed.
The other villain is Sonny Burch played by Walton Goggins. Sonny is an unscrupulous man who sells tech and arms that SHIELD and the FBI would probably like to keep out of the hands of civilians. Hope has been using him to get equipment but soon finds that he wants more and has informed some ‘dangerous people’ about her and Hank’s plans. Throughout the movie he has one goal and one goal only, to secure Hank Pym’s lab at all costs. The writers never try to inject any backstory or emotional attachment to Sonny and that is great. The cool thing is, this give some implication that there are new villians popping up and, in the wake of the Thanos finger snap, there will certainly be a void to fill…
As with all Marvel films this is one that is chock full of special effects, from the obvious shrinking and growing of our heros to even some pretty cool visuals in the micro-verse. The thing that really stood out to me in this is Marvel’s perfection of the De-Aging process. In the film we once again see a younger Michael Douglas but this time we see a deaged Michelle Pfeiffer as well and, to be honest, they did such a wonderful job that I had completely forgotten that she was in her 60’s already. In fact, when she appeared later in the film without the deaging wizardry, I was a little taken aback by he appearance. I am not saying she looks old by any means (and it was obvious that they aged her a little too), but with her showing up as the Michelle Pfeiffer I grew up with and then later as the Michelle Pfeiffer of today all in the same film, I have to say it was some serious movie magic. The remainder of the film was superb in its delivery of special effects, even the giant ants were believable and that in itself is quite the feat. There is also a great bit where they play with Scott Lang’s size due to a malfunctioning suit and it is nothing short of brilliant.
Where Do We Go From Here?
This is spoiler territory so go back now if you haven’t seen it.
Needless to say this film expains what Scott and team were doing during the events of Avengers Civil War and, since Scott was under house arrest, it didn’t look like he would have been able to go anywhere to fight anything. In fact, it was due to his last team up with the Avengers that got him in this spot so ‘ef those guys’ right?
It is not until the very end of the film, in the end credit scene in fact, that we see what happens to the team right at the finger snap moment. Let’s set this up. Scott is in the quantum realm securing some ‘Quantum juice?’ to help with the healing process of a certain character. Janet, Hope and Hank are outside talking with him when suddenly he loses contact because, guess what, they have turned to dust. So Scott is now trapped in the Quantum Realm with limited air and no way back. So what does that mean for the future of Ant-Man and the Wasp? Here are some theories.
Just before going in, Janet Van Dyne warns Scott to beware of Time Vortex’s while in there as they will never get him back. Could this be how Scott gets out? Does he travel back in time to find someone to help or does he run into Captain Marvel in the Quantum Realm?
Let’s talk a minute about the Quantum Bands. No this isn’t some new age music group, the Quantum Bands are one of the most powerful artifacts of the Marvel universe and are significantly tied in with our upcoming movie hero Captain Marvel. In fact, they were used by one of Captain Marvels allies, a man known as Quasar. Since the MCU likes to blend some things from time to time, it is not unreasonable to think that the Quantum Bands will be used in some way as the macguffin in the upcoming film. Why is this important? Well the Quantum Bands are powered by Quantum Energy and Scott is trapped in the Quantum Realm so…you put it all together. It may be a stretch but then again, this is a comic book universe we are talking about here.
While this is an important film to the overall story of the MCU, it is also a very strong standalone entry that can be enjoyed by anyone who happens by. The humor is spot on, the cast is magnificent and the special effects are literally out of this world. I went in expecting more of the same and left entertained and happy. Overall this was a much more fulfilling and cohesive story than the first Ant-Man film and for that, I liked it even more. Sure the villain was a little one dimensional as a character but we cant always have a major threat in every film. Sometimes, they need to be personal.
Marvel once again knocks it out of the park and this only makes me more excited for next year when we get to see Captain Marvel on the big screen.
Late To The Game 7/15/2018
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