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Is Marvel’s lat­est mi­cro-movie small fry?


EX­TRAS In­tro, Com­men­tary, Fea­turettes, Deleted scenes, Gag reel/out­takes (all BD/Dig­i­tal)

Pey­ton Reed is a funny guy. Just have a lis­ten to his au­dio com­men­tary, full of hard info and cheeky asides: “Here, of course, is the con­trac­tu­ally ob­li­gated ‘shirt­less hero’ shot,” he jokes, as Paul Rudd’s size-chang­ing su­per-guy flashes his abs. Over the cred­its, Reed fully turns his chat track into a com­edy skit, teas­ing

– in the leg-pulling sense – the fu­ture of the MCU. On screen, mean­while, the mid-cred­its sting takes an un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally dark turn, thread­ing the movie into the big­ger Marvel pic­ture.

It cer­tainly helps Reed meet his goal of ‘open­ing up’ the world he in­tro­duced in 2015’s Ant-Man. But what charms about this se­quel, no less than the orig­i­nal, is how it keeps things (rel­a­tively speak­ing) small.

Laugh for laugh, this ri­vals Thor: Rag­narok; only here, the stakes are more per­sonal than in­ter­plan­e­tary. Can Scott (Rudd) see out his house-ar­rest sen­tence and be a bet­ter dad? Will Evan­ge­line Lilly’s Hope van Dyne (aka

the Wasp) re­unite with miss­ing mum Janet (Michelle Pfeif­fer)? The search for the lat­ter in­volves char­ac­ters breach­ing the quan­tum realm – and spout­ing quan­tum cob­blers. But Reed and his five cred­ited writ­ers (in­clud­ing Rudd) han­dle the sci­ence-y stuff with a light, self-mock­ing touch. Ditto the spec­ta­cle. Even when you’ve got a 50-foot man wrestling cars on the ever-cinematic streets of San Fran­cisco (think Bul­litt via Wacky Races), there’s a pleas­antly un­de­mand­ing, big-screen sit­com feel. That’s also helped by hav­ing so many reg­u­lar char­ac­ters in non-in­sect ap­parel, though the sheer num­ber of sub-plots does re­duce Han­nah John-Ka­men’s elu­sive Ghost into even more of a now-you-see-me an­tag­o­nist than was per­haps in­tended.

Still, it’s hard to re­sent more screen time for Michael Peña’s cheery crew of ex-cons (now in the se­cu­rity busi­ness), while one be­fud­dled look from Ran­dall Park’s FBI man is worth a dozen sight gags (which are, none­the­less, ace; any sug­ges­tion that Reed ex­hausted his stock with the first film is just tak­ing the Pez). But the MVPs re­main the first-billed: as Kevin Feige puts it, “See­ing [Hope] kick ass is awe­some; see­ing Scott try to keep up is hi­lar­i­ous.”

Ex­tras, alas, are al­most as diminu­tive as our he­roes: the Blu-ray of­fers four fea­turettes (six if you buy dig­i­tal) and only two deleted scenes. It’s fun stuff (and you’ll dis­cover the word “gilver”) but hardly deep-dive. How­ever, fans of Stan Lee’s cameos are in for a multi-take treat; he’s a funny guy, too. Matthew Leyland

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