In their first film since Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel shows what is going on with Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and company during the events of Infinity War in Ant-Man and the Wasp.
In the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War, Scott has been arrested and has spent the past two years on house arrest and out of contact with Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly). Life isn’t all that bad for Scott, however, as we open to see him spending time with his daughter and there is a working relationship between his ex-wife, Maggie (Judy Greer) and Paxton (Bobby Cannavale). Meanwhile, his best friend, Luis (Michael Pena) is starting a security firm with Rudd, appropriately titled X-Con.
But, just three days before his sentence is to end, Scott has a vision of Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) playing hide-and-seek with a young Hope and contacts Hope and Hank, which causes Scott to reconnect with Hope and Hank.
Since the events of Civil War, Hope and Hank have become fugitives and are living their life on the run, moving their lab (literally the building, disguised as a dinghy apartment) thanks to their technology. After Scott was able to enter the quantum realm and return, Hope and Hank have worked tirelessly to replicate what Scott did as Janet, Hank’s wife and Hope’s mother, has been stuck in that realm for 30 years and Scott’s vision happens to occur just as they open a portal to the realm, and they realize that Janet and Scott and quantumly entangled and he is the key to bringing her back. Meanwhile, Ava Starr (Hannah John-Kamen), a victim of her father’s quantum experiment that has left her in an inconsistent, intangible state, seeks to extract Janet’s quantum energy to save her life – which Hank fears will come at the cost of Janet’s and refuses. As the two jockey for the lab, black market dealer Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) is also trying to seize the lab for his own personal gang and the trio must dodge the FBI.
While the first Ant-Man did a great job handling the hard task of showing how powerful an ant-sized hero can be, this film expands on it, this time with Ant-Man’s partner, the Wasp (Hope). While the Wasp can shrink, like Ant-Man, she also has the ability to fly and is equipped with blasters. Training for years to carry the mantle of the Wasp, Hope is not just fully confident in her abilities, but she doesn’t require the learning curve when it comes to fighting like Scott did in the first film, and we are introduced to it early on as she has to battle Sonny and his crew early in the film in a kitchen battle that includes her enlarging a salt shaker to block an exit, dodging kitchen knives and running from a meat tenderizer while shifting between full-size and bug-size and beating up multiple opponents with ease.
With just a bit of screen-time in the first film, Luis was a memorable character who provided great comic relief and a hilarious exposition through a rapidly described game of telephone. His role was expanded in this film and it pays off as his character grows with Scott with their business together as well as the fact that he even gets his hands dirty a bit.
Also seeing an increase in screentime is Scott’s school-aged daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Forston). Cassie is simply a child who loves her dad and doesn’t see him as a flawed person. Her idolization of her father is another source of comic relief in the film and adds levity to Scott’s low moments. She wants to be the hero she thinks her father is, but he also comes to the realization in the film that he is doing that he does to provide a better world for her.
Along with the great action provided in the film, the CGI is also fantastic, including a foray into the quantum realm with enough attention to detail to include tardigrades and another opening scene that features a de-agified Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer.
While the film’s action and comedy are again on-point, the film lacks a real villain, but at the end of the day, the movie isn’t a typical comic film, it’s a rescue film that is 30 years in the making (in their universe). Given that they only have two hours to bring back Janet, time is the true villain of the film and the Ghost, FBI and Sonny are all just obstacles in the race against time.
The 20th film of the MCU, Ant-Man and the Wasp definitely ranks on the higher end of the spectrum and while it will be forced to live in the shadow of Avengers: Infinity War, it does fine as a standalone film and even adds some clarity of what’s to come in the upcoming Avengers film in the post-credit scene. People won’t be rushing to see this in theaters, but it’s definitely an enjoyable summer flick filled with action, and good-humored dialogue, even if the story isn’t overly compelling.