Ant-Man and the Wasp review: ‘a funny, charming and reasonably breezy addition to the Marvel movie-canon’

3 stars


The Wasp and Ant-Man
The Wasp and Ant-Man

I know as much about how Ant-Man (the superhero) works as I do about how Ant-Man (the 2015 Marvel flick) works. I’ve checked, and that sentence definitely makes sense. What’s important is that they both, er, work.

The hero of the piece is a handsome, charming thief (you gotta love those) named Scott Lang, a man who looks like Paul Rudd and whose personality shares similar traits to that of Paul Rudd’s. Anyway, he robs the wrong house, and ends up working with/for, and stealing secret super stuff with/for, a scientist named Hank Pym, and Hank’s daughter, Hope.

What’s Hank’s deal? Well, Hank built a tiny suit and figured out how to make things small. He also figured out a way to communicate with ants (THE BIT THAT BLOODY CONFUSES ME) and, long story short, he hires Scott to become the — dun, dun, DUN — Ant-Man. I’ve left out loads, obviously. The important science stuff, for a start. I also appear to have completely avoided the nightmare fuel that is Scott Lang, training to be the Ant-Man by bonding with actual ants. Oh, and the Avengers stuff can wait.

Anyway, so ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Superhero’ worked. It was well made. It grossed all the money. It was a funny, charming and surprisingly breezy addition to the Marvel movie-canon, and most of that was down to the casting of its titular hero, not to mention some seriously snazzy visuals.

Rudd rocks. It’s a fact, and the Hollywood nice guy who refuses to age, is once again in fine and fit spirits in this sugared-up sequel that — surprise, surprise — remains a funny, charming and reasonably breezy addition to the Marvel movie-canon.

Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man, is under house arrest after helping out Captain America and the lads in Berlin (they had a giant scrap in an airport,

remember; the Ant-Man turned into Giant-Man — it was all quite emotional). He hasn’t left his place in two years, but he has turned his life around.

He and his ex-convict buddies are starting a security business. He and his daughter, Cassie, have never been closer. He and Hank Pym…oh, wait. Scott hasn’t talked to Hank (Michael Douglas) or Hope (Evangeline Lilly) since the last movie. They fell out after Scott ran off to Berlin to help the Avengers. I really do hope you’re keeping up.

So, Scott has just three days left under house arrest — perfect timing, then, for him to start dreaming about Hank’s wife, Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), who, as we learned from the first film, got lost in a bad place known as the quantum realm. But Scott’s been to the quantum realm — and he found his way back!

So (deep breath): Scott calls Hank; Hank and Hope (who has her own suit now, and is known as the Wasp) kidnap Scott; they form a plan to get Janet back; some shady, black-market criminal tries to steal Hank’s technology; the FBI start chasing everyone; and, to make matters worse, a woman who can walk through walls keeps showing up! Oh, and Laurence Fishburne is in the room, too! That’s all you’re getting from me.

It took five people (one of whom is Rudd) to assemble a screenplay for this busy, busy follow-up, and do you know something? It shows. I liked Ant-Man and the Wasp. It’s fun. It passes the time. Marvel continues to trump DC, in every way possible. In a word? It’s grand. Plus, there’s a lot to be said for a superhero film in which the entire world isn’t at stake, and where everyone isn’t worrying about a skyscraper falling on their heads. But it’s a tad too convoluted for its own good.

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There are too many sub-plots; too many villains-of-the-week — too much decoration. In the end, it’s all a bit disposable. Competently directed, edited, acted, and all the rest of it — but once it’s over, it’s over. It’s out of your head in the time it takes you to stroll on out of the cinema.

It’s a good thing, then, that it’s funny. Yep, these Marvel episodes are always better when they’re not taking themselves too seriously. Ant-Man and the Wasp is no exception.

A charismatic Lilly (the franchise’s new MVP) and a boisterous Rudd (always a delight) make for a cracking duo.

Douglas has some fun of his own in a super suit. Pfeiffer just about gets a look-in. And then there’s Michael Pena as Scott’s giddy BFF, Luis. Somebody give that man his own spin-off movie. Pronto.

Here’s Paul Whitington’s review: Ant-Man and the Wasp movie review: It has its faults but Paul Rudd makes the ride worth watching

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