Randy’s Review: ‘Ant Man and The Wasp’

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Marvel kicks up the humor in latest hero tale

You don’t necessarily need to be a follower of the Marvel superhero film series to enjoy “Ant Man and The Wasp,” but it helps a bit. The film, which is loaded with a few laugh out loud moments courtesy of star Paul Rudd as Scott Lang and Michael Pena as his ex-con friend, Luis, picks up nearly two years after Lang aka Ant Man’s involvement as a member of Team Cap in “Captain America: Civil War.” Now on house arrest for his role in the Germany airport Avengers versus Avengers showdown, Lang is prohibited from having any contact with any other super-powered individuals or his former partners, Dr. Hank Pym, the original Ant Man (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope Van Dyne, the current Wasp (Evangeline Lilly). The latter shouldn’t be much of a problem since Lang’s actions in Germany, wearing Pym’s technology, also made the father and daughter fugitives on the run — a circumstance the two remain angry about.

Settling in for a bath, Lang has a dream where he is back in the quantum realm as Ant Man and has a bizarre interaction with Pym’s missing wife, Janet — the original Wasp (Michelle Pfeiffer), who was lost 30 years ago in the quantum realm when she and Pym were attempting to deactivate a deadly missile. Lang breaks the rule and using a hidden phone leaves Pym a message about his dream.

Van Dyne snatches Lang and, using shrinking technology, gets him out of the house for a meeting with her dad. She and her father, still believing there’s a chance Janet may be alive, have been purchasing black market technology to create a device which will allow the two to execute a rescue mission into the quantum realm. They believe Lang’s dream is a message from Janet on how to locate her.

A panicked Lang, afraid he’s going to be caught violating his house arrest just three days from its expiration, agrees to help, but remains worried about the lingering threat of a return to prison for probation violation — a fact that FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) constantly reminds him of.

When an attempt to purchase the final piece of technology from black market trafficker Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) goes south, the new Ant Man and Wasp team are forced back into action — another violation of Lang’s probation agreement.

The two also encounter Ava Starr aka Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), a human who phases in and out of reality, also seeking the technology in a desperate attempt to use power from the quantum realm to stabilize her painful and terminal condition.

Taking on Ghost, Burch’s crew and FBI agents — Lang, Pym and Van Dyne turn to Lang’s fledgling security business partners, Luis, Kurt (David Kastmalchian) and Dave (T.I Harris) for help. They also reach out to Pym’s former partner at SHIELD, Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne), for help tracking down missing technology.

With threats coming at them from all sides, the trio find themselves racing against the clock to rescue Janet and get Lang back home before he is caught violating his probation conditions.

For timeline purposes, this movie takes place before the early-summer blockbuster, “Avengers: Infinity War,” which (no spoilers) had dramatic implications on the Marvel Universe. That’s why there is no mention of those events in the film.

Plenty of humor carries this action flick which deals in science — real or imagined — well beyond the understanding of most people sitting in the theater. As Lang offers at one point, “Do you people put the word quantum in front of everything.” And the idea of shrinking an enormous building into the size of a portable suitcase is a bit far-fetched — what happens to the electricity and plumbing infrastructure — but hey it’s a superhero movie, you have to suspend a great deal of reality. Special effects remain strong and the film uses the shrinking and growing technology for some laughable moments. Rudd does a great job once again as Lang, using his facial expressions and dry comedic delivery to carry the tale.

Make sure to stick around during the credits — the first of which will have huge ramifications on Ant Man’s future.

On a scale of 5 buckets, “Ant Man and The Wasp” loads up 3 1/2 tubs of high quality, well-seasoned popcorn. Another gem in the Marvel movie crown, Rudd and cast take a hard-to-swallow premise of a pair of shrinking (and sometimes growing) superheroes fighting bad guys and attempting to save a mother lost 30 years ago. Humor blends well with action. MPAA rating: PG-13. Running time: 1 hour, 58 minutes. This film was reviewed at Southpark 7 Theatres in Spencer.