ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
Bring 3D glasses... and binoculars.
OUT NOW CERT 12A / 118 MINS
DIRECTOR Peyton Reed CAST Evangeline Lilly, Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Hannah John-kamen, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña
PLOT Two years after Civil War, Scott Lang (Rudd) is under house arrest. But Hope Van Dyne (Lilly) and Hank Pym (Douglas) need his help, wrangling with a ghost from their past — as well as a troublesome Ghost (John-kamen) in their present.
AFTER THANOS CLICKED his fingers and delivered that gut-punch of an ending to Infinity War, it feels strange to watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe bounce back up off the mat, fit, eager and willing to please with another frisky caper. Especially as it’s the sequel to the series’ friskiest and most capering entry to date, the fun but lightweight heist comedy Ant-man. A movie, lest we forget, that featured Thomas The Tank Engine. It’s like we’ve flipped from the MCU’S hugest epic to, well, as small as it gets.
Taking place before Infinity War, the concerns here are not of impending cosmic calamity, but family matters and survival at an individual level. On the one hand there’s Scott (Rudd), condemned to the ultimate slacker’s lifestyle after his Civil War shenanigans have consigned him to house-arrest. On the other hand, there are Hank (Douglas) and Hope (Lilly), who, inspired by Scott’s survival in the Quantum Realm, have developed a Quantum Tunnel by which they can go sub-microscopic and, they hope, bring back the original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne — now revealed as Michelle Pfeiffer.
It’s good to see the gang back together; after he assisted Steve Rogers in Munich, Hope and Hank ditched Scott — not least because his actions drew them heat via the Sokovia Accords — making them an off-the-grid, father-and-daughter renegade outfit.
The banter fizzes with the same old charm, Scott’s apparent inanity still grating against Hank’s curmudgeonliness and Hope’s stiletto-sharp focus. But a few too many gags lean on call-backs, with a repeat of Luis’ (Peña) jabbered monologues, and Scott suffering more bad luck with his insect sidekicks. And while there’s no giant Thomas, we do get a colossal Hello Kitty Pez .
As you’d expect from a Marvel joint, the action comes thick and fast, except now it’s Lilly breaking the most sweat. Hope is far more capable than Scott, and is a joy to watch in fully suited action. However, Ant-man does still get his big moments — or should that be Giant-man, now?
But as massive as Scott grows — or as wibbly as things get in the mercurial jellybean hurricane that is the Quantum Realm — the film still feels comparatively minor and light-hitting. Ant-man And The Wasp, as fun as it is, lacks the sheer, mind-blowing heft of Infinity War. Or, for that matter, the scope and thematic muscle of Black Panther. Or the way-out-there, inventive deliriousness of Thor: Ragnarok. In this new era of Marvel over-achievement, it really does feel like a lesser work.
VERDICT While it proves an all-round well-mounted distraction, Ant-man And The Wasp undeniably lacks the scale and ambition of recent Marvel entries.
This was going to blow David Attenborough’s mind.