FILM OF THE WEEK... ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (12A, 118 mins)

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - What's On - - CINEMA -

Ear­lier this sum­mer, larg­erthan-life char­ac­ters from the Marvel Comics galaxy united to com­bat the threat of mighty Thanos in the su­per­hero show­down, Avengers: In­fin­ity War. How­ever, one minia­ture crime­fighter - wise­crack­ing cat bur­glar Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) was no­table by his ab­sence from the py­rotech­nic-laden com­bat. Pey­ton Reed's crowd-pleas­ing se­quel neatly ex­plains Lang's no-show against Thanos with a high-oc­tane blast of rip-roar­ing en­ter­tain­ment, which dizzies and de­lights in equal mea­sure. Adopt­ing a more in­ti­mate style of sto­ry­telling, Ant-man And The Wasp chore­ographs out­ra­geous set-pieces with­out sac­ri­fic­ing the broad hu­mour or ten­der emo­tion that made the orig­i­nal 2015 film a size­able hit.

No­tably, this is Marvel's first ac­tion-packed fea­ture with a fe­male su­per­hero proudly namechecked in the ti­tle and Evan­ge­line Lilly's air­borne as­sas­sin dom­i­nates bruis­ing fight se­quences when she isn't catalysing molten on-screen chem­istry with Rudd's re­luc­tant saviour.

Ant-man's abil­ity to shrink to the size of an in­sect at the touch of his powersuit's but­ton, or ex­pand to the hulk­ing form of a sky­scraper-top­pling gi­ant, is ex­ploited to greater comedic ef­fect in the sec­ond film with the aid of seam­less dig­i­tal ef­fects. Fol­low­ing the cat­a­clysmic events of Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil War, Scott is sen­tenced to two years un­der house ar­rest fol­lowed by three years of pro­ba­tion.

"Any vi­o­la­tion means 20 years in prison. Min­i­mum," warns his pa­role of­fi­cer Jimmy Woo.

Dr Hank Pym (Michael Dou­glas), in­ven­tor of the Ant-man tech­nol­ogy, and his daugh­ter Hope are in hid­ing, con­duct­ing ex­per­i­ments that will al­low them to res­cue Hope's mother Janet (Michelle Pfeif­fer) from the quan­tum realm. When disas­ter strikes, Scott de­fies the terms of his house ar­rest to don the Ant­man suit and re­trieve a stolen power source.

Ant-man And The Wasp draws heav­ily on Rudd's boy­ish charm and im­pec­ca­ble comic tim­ing to de­liver big laughs.

The plot is flimsy and the quest to res­cue Janet from the quan­tum realm is un­nec­es­sar­ily pro­tracted but the se­quel doesn't feel bloated at a buzz shy of two hours. Spe­cial ef­fects don't over­whelm and stay seated for the end cred­its. Pre­dictably, there are two ad­di­tional se­quences - a nar­ra­tive cliffhanger and an amus­ing throw­away gag se­creted in the lengthy fi­nal crawl.

Paul Rudd and Evan­ge­line Lilly star in Marvel Stu­dios’ Ant­man and The Wasp

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