REVIEW: Ant-Man and The Wasp
[I wanted to try something different by offering my SPOILER FREE thoughts at the beginning for those who wanted to know my review in a little more depth and then talk about SPOILERS at the END of this blog entry. The spoilers will be clearly noted.]
I went to see Ant-Man & and The Wasp last night and absolutely loved it. I thought that it was just as fun and enjoyable as the first film. Ant-Man is one of my favorite Marvel films, so I was really looking forward to this film. I started to get nervous because I was so excited for it and thought my expectations might be too high. But, I just absolutely loved it.
If you are looking for something as heavy as Avengers: Infinity War or as deep as Black Panther, this is probably not the film for you. However, if you want to take a breathe and enjoy a fun superhero movie, then you will enjoy this. If you liked the first film, you should love Ant-Man and The Wasp.
The film begins with a refresher course of what happened in the first film and gives us an update as to what's happened to Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and the Pyms since the events of Captain America: Civil War. The events of this film happen before Avengers: Infinity War and frees our characters from the death and destruction happening throughout the universe in order to concentrate on smaller (so to speak) issues. Scott is under house arrest for violating the Sokovia Accords as we saw in Captain America: Civil War. He is estranged from Hank (Michael Douglas) and Hope (Evangeline Lilly) who had to go on the run for being his accomplices by giving him the technology. They have been searching for their wife/mother Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfieffer) in the Quantum Realm, having been given hope after Scott returned from there in the first film. They come back together when Scott starts having "memories" about being in the Quantum Realm.
In the race to get the last piece of technology, our heroes find themselves having to fight off a gangster (Walton Goggins) who wants to use Hank's technology to monetize Quantum energy and a woman (Hannah John-Kamen) who has the power of phasing who also wants Hank's technology. And, they have to do all this while trying to keep the Feds away from Scott's house so he isn't caught by the over zealous Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park). Luis (Michael Peña), Dave (T.I. Harris) & Kurt (David Dastmalchian) are back, making a legitimate living as private detectives.
Can I just say how much I've been looking forward to finally have The Wasp in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Many people don't realize how important she is in the Marvel Universe in general. In the comics, she is one of the original Avengers and has consistently been in leadership roles on the team. I wrote a blog entry talking about her history in case you are interested. In this movie, The Wasp is Hope Van Dyne (Lilly), although the original Janet Van Dyne (Pfieffer) is also in the movie. But, for all intents and purposes, Hope is The Wasp. And, she is a great addition to the MCU!
The movie does an amazing job with using the shrinking powers in fight scenes. And, what I love is that both Scott and Hope use the powers differently. As we saw in the first movie, Hope has been training for this her entire life, even though she didn't know about The Wasp until later. And, you can see her utilizing both her martial skills and imagination quite adeptly in her fighting style. Scott is less inventive with his fighting, using his powers for more evasive measures. His advantage over Hope is his ability to grow.
Speaking of growing, this film also introduces to the MCU another famous comic hero in Bill Foster (Lawrence Fishburne). In this movie, he was a former SHIELD agent who worked with Hank on the "Goliath" Project. For those who are familiar with the comics, Goliath was the name of Bill Foster's size changing alter ego. It was quite a treat to see him in the film.
I thought the villains were fun in this movie in different ways. Goggins in more of the humorous gangster with bumbling henchmen. He's more one dimensional, but fun and funny. Ghost (John-Kamen) is more three dimensional with more interesting motivations. She does things because she believes she is right and not for evil, nefarious purposes, even though she is the more dangerous and threatening of the two villains. Randall Park as Agent Jimmy Woo (another character from the comics who's been around for a very long time) is a foil for Scott. He is quite funny in that awkward, wants-to-be-popular way he is on ABC's Fresh Off The Boat.
I loved the relationship between Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) and her dad. In the comics, Scott was also a devoted dad. In fact, in the comics, he stole Hank's technology to help save his daughter's life. I love that she is her father's constant cheerleader. It was also nice to see his relationship with his ex Maggie (Judy Greer) and her husband Paxton (Bobby Cannavale) has also improved. Although, while they give Judy Greer funnier lines, I still think its such an under utilization of this hilarious actress.
I was a little worried that they might try to over utilize Luis, Dave and Kurt. Movies that find characters are popular in the first movie try to give us too much in the sequel. But, I thought there was just enough of them. And, I appreciate they didn't try to exploit Luis's fast talking storytelling too much.
And, like in the first film, we see a young Michael Douglas. We also see a young Michelle Pfieffer (her 80s hair is amazing) and Lawrence Fishburne. Its amazing how they are able to make actors look so young so seamlessly.
Again, if you are looking for something really deep, you will need to lower your expectations for Ant-Man & The Wasp. I don't mean that to be insulting. This is a snaller (again, no pun intended) film and was always intended to be that. But, it is so fun and I can't wait to watch it again.
Be sure to stay through the credits! If you are a Marvel fan and don't stay through the credits, who are you? There are two credits scenes, the first one, mid-credits, got its own applause at my showing.
But, I won't go into that until after my SPOILER jump.
OKAY, now, I will go into my SPOILER FILLED THOUGHTS. So, if you have not seen this film, do not go past this until you've seen it.
OKAY, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED THAT SPOILERS ARE AHEAD...
Can we talk about that mid-credit scene?!?! WOW! People were hooting and hollering after that scene because of its link to Avengers: Infinity War. I love how they put Scott in this dangerous situation only to find out that Hank, Hope and Janet are victims of Thanos's snap!!!! I need to know, now, how he gets back from the Quantum Realm. He is supposed to be in Avengers 4, but we don't know how big a role he'll have. Boy, does this give us something to look forward to.
I like how Ghost was not some kind of conqueror, but is trying to save her own life. I really enjoyed John-Kamen's performance who gave the character a spooky, yet sympathetic portrayal. Ghost might not be the best Marvel villain in the vein of what we've seen lately, but, I do think she is 100 steps up over Darren Cross/Yellow Jacket from the last film. I was floored when we found out that Bill Foster was helping her as her adoptive dad. He is a good guy in the comics and, really, he is somebody who is good here, but has let his chip on his shoulder with Hank get him clearly on Ghost's side.
Like I said earlier, I was afraid they were going to over use Luis's fast talking storytelling, but I appreciate they used it only once. And, that they did it while he was injected with "truth serum." I think its fun that they gave him a greater role without making it feel like he had a greater role.
Also, like I said earlier, I enjoyed the relationship between Cassie and Scott. I think it was interesting when she kept suggesting being his partner. I think this opens the door for her to eventually become a superhero in her own right (in the comics, she eventually becomes a hero named Stature). Rumor has it that an older teenage Cassie will appear as Stature in Avengers 4. But, again, this is a rumor. Although, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has said that Young Avengers, of which Stature is a member, is being looked at for development.
I'm curious to see how important the Quantum Realm becomes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe now. Now that they have basically developed a bridge there, is it possible we'll see more of the denizens of that world. I know it will probably never happen unless they can get the rights back to them, but, could we see the Microverse from the Micronauts comic book of the 80s? I would die if that happened.
I do want to hear more about Janet's experiences in the Quantum Realm. Twenty years is a long time to be trapped in a place that looks like a bunch of blobs. What did she do there? Was there any other life forms? It looks like there was some kind of threat because she had some kind of weapon with her. Where did she get the cloth for her hood and cape? I hope we get to hear more about her adventures there.
Stan Lee's cameo was hilarious. “The '60s were great but now I'm paying for it.” Love it! I think his quote is going to be one of the more memorable ones from this film.
I'm looking forward to seeing the film once again. There are supposed to be lots of Easter Eggs to upcoming Marvel films while in the Quantum Realm, so its worth it just for that. But, again, I cannot reiterate how fun I found this film. I really think it is a worthy sequel to the original.
What was your favorite part of Ant-Man and The Wasp?