Review – ANT-MAN AND THE WASP by Jo Hyde

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SYNOPSIS: From the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes a new chapter featuring heroes with the astonishing ability to shrink: “Ant-Man and The Wasp.” In the aftermath of “Captain America: Civil War,” Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to rebalance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from their past.

You WILL be entertained!

Ant-Man and the Wasp delivers just under 2 hours of satisfying fun and action.  Even though it’s near impossible to recreate the energy and novelty of 2015’s Ant-Man, director Peyton Reed delivers a pleasing sequel. Speaking of sequels, be sure to stay for the after-credits bonus scenes.

Context is important in the set-up of the narrative. The film takes place 2 years after Ant-Man and follows the events of Captain America: Civil War. Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) has been under house-arrest for his part in the Avengers’ shenanigans of that film. Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and daughter Hope Van Dyne/Wasp (Evangeline Lily) are also on the run from the FBI due to the same circumstances. Their truly remarkable means of escape and evasion will astound you! Scott will learn that they’ve been working on new devices to try to locate and rescue their wife and mom, Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the Quantum Realm. Janet was the original Wasp and became trapped there on her last mission. Her suit has been up-dated for Hope who has honed her skills to the super hero level.

Scott’s prison buddies, Luis (Michael Pena), Dave (T.I.), and Kurt (David Dastmalchian) have a security company, and provide the absolute funniest scenes in the film. Abby Ryder Fortson returns as Scott’s daughter Cassie, as do Judy Greer as Scott’s ex-wife Maggie and Bobby Canavale as Maggie’s fiancé Paxton. Randall Park plays frustrated FBI Agent Woo whose sole purpose is to catch Scott violating his house arrest and being sentenced to 20 years behind bars. Their cat-and-mouse antics deliver some hilarious near misses.

A new, mysterious foe, Ava/Ghost, tries to thwart Pym and Hope’s efforts and leads them to Dr. Bill Foster ( Laurence Fishburne), Pym’s old partner and rival. Foster has become a father-figure to Ava who was the only survivor of an attack from the Quantum Realm that disconnected her body’s cells. She can move through objects and dematerialize, but is in constant pain and will eventually fail to be able to reconnect. She’s after the same piece of technology that Pym and Hope seek in order to access the Quantum Realm.

Walter Goggins portrays villain Sonny Burch. He’s sleazy, sort of a Southern gentleman gone wrong, but not nearly menacing enough. I think a stronger villain would have enhanced the narrative. He’s also surrounded by the usual incompetent henchmen thereby diluting the conflict.

The set-up of everybody wanting the same piece of technology is all I’m going to reveal about the plot. You’ll enjoy the unfolding of how each tries, fails, partially succeeds, finally succeeds, and I think you’ll be pleased with the outcome.

RELATED: ANT-MAN AND THE WASP Review by Bill “Jett” Ramey

Although not as masterful as Ant-Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a crowd-pleaser. Paul Rudd provides his usual exceptional performance, and the brilliant Michael Pena steals the show. Don’t forget to look for 96-year-old Stan Lee’s cameo! – Jo Hyde

GRADE: A-