ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
Is Marvel’s latest micro-movie small fry?
OUT 25 NOVEMBER Digital HD 3 DECEMBER DVD, BD, 3D BD, 4K
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