So, remember how Scott Lang aka Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) got recruited by Falcon in Captain America: Civil War to fight the impersonator of the Winter Soldier? For those who wondered what happened after he got sliced out of jail, he apparently turned himself in and went under house arrest. He can still see his daughter Cassie for play dates but he’s had to disband from his former team, Hope and Hank Pym (Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas). But while he’s just trying to devour the days with playing the Guitar Hero drums and crying to some John Green books, he gets an odd vision about a woman he has no memory of ever seeing. And this woman just might be a special someone in the life of the Pyms that they thought was long ago dead. This leads Lang back to the action, with a giant ant wearing his tracking bracelet in the meantime.
I knew some things the movie would have to contend with is the fact Lang is not a fugitive in this, so when he’s a superhero, the pressure of being chased by the villains and the supposed heroes isn’t going to be there. That, and the first movie, as well as Ant-Man’s giant growth scene in Civil War opened up a million different possible comedic and creative ways to display the ability of growth and shrinking, and I was a demanding moviegoer.
I guess what I’m saying is, I saw this movie shortly after seeing Mission: Impossible Fallout. Compared to that movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a little, no pun intended, small. The action scenes don’t have quite the same kineticism and mastery of vulgar sound effects. But this movie has characters and situations I cared way more about, not to mention laughed at. The first Ant-Man took place in the middle of the lowest point in Lang’s life. In prison, he was at least admired by his gen pop buds. Outside, he couldn’t maintain a job and had to resort to attempting tactics that made him a fugitive, and a supposed threat to his beloved daughter. In this sequel, the stakes weren’t quite as high, even though they clearly attempted it. By placing the main plotline into the side scientist family, it’s like asking Lang to move over a little bit. Other than that, the things that made us fall in love with Rudd even more than we already do, is all still here.
The ending has a cheesy element to it, and the antagonist, while certainly having amazing special effects is not the most original-back-story-driven one, but even with Fallout still in my head, I still laughed and admired the growth of the Hello Kitty pencils, the racecars so tacky and vrooming that I half expected Michael Pena’s character to faint, and, oh yeah, saltshakers. When Rudd’s suit malfunctions when he has to retrieve something at his daughter’s class, I laughed for I think a solid minute, and I was amazed at how realistic something looked that was so simple yet had to have been very carefully crafted. You’ll know what I’m talking about. Oh yeah, Pena’s character is back, with him and Lang’s gang members trying to make it in life as security jocks; fitting, kind of. But they retain their terrific sense of humour and the mimicking is maybe even better this time around. The first Ant-Man was the perfect balance of telling a joke when least expected and never when it would be unwelcome, and utilized the infinite-possibility superpower, had sensational animation quality from the tiny to big ants and the quantum realm and had a supremely sweet story not just between Rudd and Lily but Scott and Cassie. Cassie is the best daughter ever, and watching the two of them bond is like heaven. We have that here too.
Basically, if you were a fan of the first Ant-Man, while I don’t think you’ll like this movie as much, disliking it would be going way too far.