After the (literal) world-shattering events of this year’s MCU magnum opus Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp graciously ushers in a welcome breath of fresh air. The sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man is all about relaxed vibes, leisurely humour and heart — oodles and oodles of heart.
Director Peyton Reed reassembles almost everyone from the original film and returns to build on the surprising magic that the unlikely team managed to pull off the first time around. While introducing Evageline Lilly’s Hope Van Dyne as the full-blown superhero Wasp, to partner up with Paul Rudd’s diminutive Ant-Man, the sequel also offers bigger laughs, bigger action and bigger set-pieces, all cushioned against the lowest of stakes. How’s that for a stress-free movie watching experience?
And if you were one among the many people who scratched their heads when (SPOILER ALERT!) Ant-Man didn’t show up for the superhero genocide that was Infinity War, this movie will lay all your doubts to rest. All you have to do is make sure you don’t leave the theatre before the post-credit scene rolls.
The overwhelmingly strong theme laying the foundation for Ant-Man’s newest outing is family. The events of the film pick up some time after Captain America: Civil War, when Scott Lang/Ant-Man is dealing with the blowback of using his super powers to help Cap (Chris Evans) while the Sokhovia Accords were still in effect, landing him in house arrest for two years.
He’s nearing the end of his term and now Lang’s trying his best to reconnect with and be there for his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson), and also give a new lease of life to his former associates Luis (Michael Pena), Dave (T.I.), and Kurt (David Dastmalchian), who want to start a security firm.
Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope Van Dyne (Lilly), on the other hand, have been hard at work on their own building a quantum tunnel in a bid to contact Hope’s mother Janet (Michelle Pfieffer), who has been lost in the quantum realm for about 30 years. Steel yourselves to hear the word “quantum” one time too many through the length of the movie.
However, after Black Panther’s Killmonger (Mihael B Jordan) and Infinity War’s Thanos (Josh Brolin), Marvel seems to have reverted to its perennial Achilles heel: its villain problem. Hannah John Kammen’s Ghost disappointingly lives up to her cringey supervillain name: a lifeless iteration of a non-villain. This is not entirely her fault because early into her introduction, she’s saddled with unnecessarily long exposition, enough to zoink the most invested fan.
A wasted opportunity on the director’s part, because Kammen is clearly a gifted actress (Ready Player One, SyFy’s Killjoys).But every time she’s on screen, she manages to suck the life out of it, leaving the rest of the cast to do the heavy lifting.
And lift, they do. Rudd and Lilly are in top form, both physically and emotively, and they share an electric chemistry, first evidenced in the original film. Lilly, especially, wears her suit well and looks more than comfortable throwing punches and generally kicking ass. Pena is a joy to watch as always, and Randall Park (Fresh off the Boat) as FB! agent Jimmy Woo is just another genius casting decision. His good cop-bad cop routine oozes just the right amount of goofy adorableness.
Fortson, who plays Rudd’s daughter, flourishes in the sequel and also manages to eek out some of the biggest laughs of the film.
The biggest takeaway from Ant-Man and the Wasp is that sometimes going to the movies can just be about kicking back and having a breeze of a time, that just sometimes the stakes can be personal, and just about maybe you don’t have to think about the movie afterwards. And that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
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Ant-Man and the Wasp releases in the UAE on July 5.