Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) is a sequel to 2015's Ant-Man and it is the 20th Marvel film in its Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is a film that transpires in-between Avengers: Infinity War (2018), which explains the absence of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) who is Ant-Man.
The interquel film is very well written and it is a movie where the stakes are more personal but relevant. The film continues after two years after Captain America: Civil War (2016) ended.
It seems that Lang's secret involvement with Steven Rogers has placed him under house arrest. It also affected Lang's relationship with Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), the original Ant-Man, and his daughter Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lily).
The film is directed by Peyton Reed and written by multiple writers: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, and Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, and Gabriel Ferrari.
The film begins with how in 1987 Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), Hope's mother and Hank's wife, and the original Wasp, entered the quantum realm to stop a Soviet missile.
Pym thought his wife died and raised Hope by himself. However, when Lang returned from the quantum realm, Pym believed that perhaps Janet is alive in the quantum realm and so he and Hope begin working in trying to bring her back.
Their efforts are somewhat ruined because of Lang helping Captain America, which made Pym and Hope also viable for him breaking the Sokovia Accords, as they designed his suit and Lang helped Rogers get away.
This forces Hank and Hope to go into hiding. Hope also felt betrayed because Scott and she were dating and he didn't confide in her so she broke off their relationship. Furthermore, they had been training as Ant-Man and the Wasp, so she felt he didn't confide in her also as a teammate.
Scott is under house arrest for two years but has maintained a very good record. He and his friends Luis (Michael Peña), Dave (Tip "T.I." Harris) and Kurt (David Dastmalchian) are also starting a security business called X-Con Security Crew. Additionally, Scott has a good relationship with his ex-wife Maggie (Judy Greer), her new husband Jim Paxton (Bobby Cannavale) and Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) ,his daughter.
Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) is a FBI Agent in charge of keeping Lang on his house arrest and acts like a genuine nuisance to him and his family. Though Park's acting and the way he takes his duties seriously are commendable.
Due to Scott going in the quantum realm, he gets a psychic message from Jane. Despite them not wishing to talk, Scott contacts Hank and Hope about this and they recruit him for finding Jane.
They wish to build technology that could bolster them to the quantum realm so that they can extract Jane. One of the main problems is Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), a con-man who has the necessary technology for helping the team but he wants to sell Pym's technology to the Black Market.
The film's primary antagonist is Ghost/Ava Starr (Hannah John-Kamen), though unlike Thanos she is a person who can easily be sympathized and empathized with and isn't a standard villain.
Starr wants Pym's technology because it can cure her of a molecular instability condition that allows her to phase through matter like a ghost. Apparently, this is damage on a molecular level and she is always in excruciating pain.
Though Ghost is traditionally portrayed as a male character I am happy they gender bent the character as they felt Ghost's gender did not necessarily have to be the same for this narrative. Also, the female antagonist with a reasonable motive for being an antagonist felt great for the writers.
I was very happy with how John-Kamen played Ava, she is both dangerous and capable alongside not being completely without ethics. I am also happy that Reed decided to age Jane as in Pfeiffer for her role as she was gone for 30 years.
Though time works differently in the quantum realm I am glad that Hollywood is finally coming in grips with showing older female characters as being more than just maternal figures. Thus the younger Jane is portrayed by Hayley Lovitt, who also played her in the first film.
The film addresses a lot of things: namely Lang's and Pym's problems. Pym is shown to be very egotistical and arrogant that his old research partner, Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) had to sever ties with him.
Pym has to come to accept the fact he doesn't know everything and he does not always possess the answer for everything. Lang has to reforge his relationship with Hope. He understood his actions were foolhardy and were almost like a dismissal to his teammate. This is where we see Scott and Hope's unique strengths.
The Wasp can fly independently and has lasers, which are great for her suit but she is very calculative and agile compared to Ant-Man's stealth and quick decisions. Lang may use cleverness and discretion to accomplish his objectives but Hope has a lot of speed, agility and muscle power. They both work very well together as a team.
The film is filled with so many comedic moments with the right pacing that nothing feels out of place. It seems true to the characters of Scott and Luis to suddenly make strange or funny comments.
When Scott first encounters Ava he is also a bit afraid, which was pleasant to see - he doesn't underestimate his opponents and he saw what she can do.
The fear is a genuine and a welcome part of a superhero seeing that we like to think of superheroes as brave and invulnerable so much so that we forget they are human or can have vulnerabilities.
Scott brings this balance very well in that he shows how his body can be affected by him shrinking and also growing. His fear of incarceration is also very logical because he wants a life with his family and also wants a lucrative business.
The writers did a good job in showing that Scott is like everyone else who also wants to gets by. He is a human being, who isn't very wealthy or isn't the traditional genius but he makes for a great superhero regardless of not possessing those traits.
Hope and Pym are the ones with the standard understanding of a genius intelligence but even they cannot do things alone. Hope is trying to find her mother and also prove that she is a great Wasp. She is a very good Wasp able to know how to maneuver in her suit with ease and know when and how to fight well.
Ghost's subplot was one that made the protagonists also sympathize with her: she said that she was used as weapon as well and no one wanted to fix her condition, as it was useful for them. I liked this aspect of the film because Ghost wasn't born a villain she was made into one by society's neglect and greed.
So, the film is not morally black and white but paints shades of grey. We have Lang himself who once used to be a criminal but he now wants to make things work and actually do good. So, the film asks us to empathize with most of the characters even if their actions can be judged.
Overall, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a wonderful film with great comedy, character growth and awesome action packed sequences. I recommend the film.
The writer is a copy editor
at The Asian Age