Ant-Man and the Wasp

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP. Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Hannah John- Kamen, Michelle Pfieffer, and Abby Ryder Fortson, Also starring: Laurence Fishburne, Walton  Coggins, and Michael Pena. Directed by Peyton Reed. Rated PG (Mild science fiction violence and coarse language).125 min.

This American superhero film is based on the Marvel Characters, Ant-Man and The Wasp, and is the sequel to the movie, “Ant-Man” (2015). It is the twentieth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas (and others) return to reprise the roles they played in the 2015 movie. Peyton Reed directed both the original Ant-Man film and this sequel. Events occur in the aftermath of “Captain America: Civil War” (2016).

In the sequel, Paul Rudd continues in the role of Scott Lang (alias Ant-Man). He is on police house-arrest for “unauthorised activity”, but still owns a discarded suit that shrinks him while increasing his strength. He now has a daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) he is devoted to. He is trying to balance being a Superhero and being a father, when he is approached by Hope van Dyne (alias The Wasp, Evangeline Lilly), who is the daughter of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas, the original Ant-Man) and Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfieffer, the original Wasp). Hope wants Ant-Man to help rescue her mother.

This Marvel movie is light in tone when compared to recent movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, like “Captain America: Civil War” (2016) and “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018). It arrives on the screen, after much Marvel doom and gloom. Like Ant-Man (2015), characters in the movie shrink and enlarge themselves, and afford humorous escape from the serious cares of the world that weighed heavily on Captain America. The sequel expands the Ant-Man universe by bringing in new characters like Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), who have emerged out of the Quantum Realm. Ghost has the ability to pass through objects, a skill she has brought with her from the Quantum Realm, but the energy-transformations occurring in her body are threatening her life.

The main story-line in this sequel is the complex search for Pym’s wife, who has gone missing in the Quantum Realm after going there on a mission with her husband. Janet’s daughter (the second Wasp) has returned safely from the Quantum Realm, because she was given a special suit and a Wasp mantle by her mother to help her to do so. 

The Quantum Realm is particularly significant in the series. It is an alternate dimension of reality accessible through mystical transportation made possible by subatomic shrinking. The ability to access the Realm was realised by Dr. Pym through his scientific research on particles, capable of altering size. Scott Lang was once trapped in the Quantum Realm himself, but used his Ant-Man suit to escape from it. Now, Pym wants to use Ant-Man’s powers and those of The Wasp to help him return to the Quantum Realm to “finally bring her back”.

The special effects that accompany superheroes in the Marvel Universe are used impressively in this sequel, creating skills, spills, and excitement that serve a somewhat mystical story line creatively. Particularly impressive is the constant size transformation of objects and characters in the film, which is scripted wittily. The result is an entertaining sci-fi adventure film that is well produced and which continues the thrust of the original film. Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilley and Michael Douglas execute their original roles with style, and Abby Fortson is a menacing Ghost.

It is not clear what superheroes in the next film in the Ant-Man series will be doing, but those behind the cinematic creation of the Marvel Universe will undoubtedly find a way. Given the growing diversity of the Marvel Universe, Ant-Man 3 is bound to occur. There has to be a limit to the number of superhero characters and their villains out there in fantasy land, but another sequel, as witty and entertaining as this one, would be welcome.

Peter W. Sheehan is Associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting

Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures

Released July 5th., 2018

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