What am I talking about this time: Ant-Man and the Wasp
Directed by Peyton Reed
Written by Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari,
Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park
Overall Review: 5 out of 5 Best Grandma Trophies
Is it worth $8.84? (Av. Ticket price for 2018): Yeah, man! Take a date or the family or just go alone… this is a great time.
Spoiler Free Review: This is a great movie. Great action, great comedy. Nuff said. We’re done here. If you want more non-spoiler-stuff go to the T#S non-spoiler review. You wanna talk the good stuff, read below! Let’s get to some Spoilers!!!!!!
Spoiler Rule #1: I don’t want to spoil any jokes here. We’ll talk plot points, shots, and other elements, but I will avoid spoiling the heart of this film which is its amazing humor. But I will do my best to avoid some of the specifics of the jokes or details of the beats so that WHEN you see this film (cause you WILL see it) you may know the story, but you will still be surprised by the film’s comedic moments.
Screening note: I saw a 3D showing and I have to admit, some of the establishing shots of San Francisco throughout the movie were just beautiful. There was one sequence when we flew over the Golden Gate Bridge as a simple transition shot that made me literally say “ooooooh” as the grandeur and awe of this massive landmark literally popped out at us. This was also a set-up to one of my favorite lines in the movie, not from someone on the screen, but from the same Lady-Behind-Me. After a few shots of famous San Fran landmarks, a chase scene through the winding Lombard Street, and finale battle on Fisherman’s Warf, she got excited near the end of the movie, when a bunch of cars pull up, stopping in front of the camera, revealing their license plates in the frame. Upon seeing this, the Lady-Behind-Me proudly proclaims, “OH! Their in San Francisco!” As you can tell, her keen insight and observational skills are sharp and on-point- I will do my best to include them in my review.
So, the movie not only takes place in San Francisco, but a little more than 2 years after the events of Captain America: Civil War. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is on the tail end of his house arrest after getting caught trying to get back into the country after helping Captain America out. Because of this, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) had to go on the run as they try to rescue Hank’s wife and Hope’s mother, Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the Quantum Realm. FBI Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) has been monitoring Scott Lang to make sure he has no contact with his previous employers and stays under house arrest. Scott spends his time with his daughter and starting his new security business with his old crew, including of course, Luis (Michael Peña).
During an attempt by Hank and Hope to open a portal to the Quantum Realm, Scott has a dream where he is Janet. He contacts Hank and Hope who hate him for running off with Cap and Co without their knowledge or permission and putting them all in the position they are in. They all get together to buy some tech from Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins).
Let’s pump the spoiler breaks here for a second and talk scope. The crux of this movie is this. The villains want Hank’s lab, which has been shrunk down to the size of a suitcase with all his marvelous tech inside. The good guys want to free Janet from the Quantum Realm. That’s pretty much it. The world is never threatened. There is no evil plan to take over the earth. It’s small and simple and almost un-superheroic. But it works and is the kind of movie Marvel needed to break up the constant barrage of universe-destroying plots from the previous movies.
The buy with Sonny goes bad when Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) shows up and all hell breaks lose. And this is where Hope kicks some serious ass. She is better with the shrinking and growing then Scott ever was and it’s some pretty fantastic fight choreography, stunt work, and CGI. It’s fun and bad-ass and I loved every second. To quote a certain someone within ear shot of me… “Is that iron man and iron girl!?”
Story-wise, Janet is so much better at the Ant-Man game than Scott, so they gave him a “flaw” in his suit that aids in the humor, but also justifies why he isn’t such a bigger part of the action, so us guys don’t feel so inferior. Because we are.
Ghost gets the tech and we are then introduced to Dr. Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) and old associate of Hank. He helps the team out and we find out he is working to help Ghost after an accident left her stuck in a state of Quantum Flux so she can pass through solid objects.
So we have a few more action sequences stealing the tech, the lab, and other stuff back and forth, which eventually leads us to the now classic Drunk History-esk storytelling sequence where Luis tells us how Scott and Hope used to date but he screwed it up. This all leads to a finale where Ant-Man goes giant to get back the lab as Hank goes down to the Quantum Realm to rescue Janet.
The Quantum Realm is a trippy experience that I needed to rub my eyes while watching a couple times. It’s weird and beautiful, as TLBM stated, “I like this, but I think I might throw up too.”
One of the big things that makes this movie is the balance between comedy and drama and the meeting between Hank and Janet is a tear jerker… Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer pull it out and really make the moment work, balanced by Laurence Fishburne sincerity as a person just trying to make things right as a father figure to Ghost. This movie is already packed with so much, but you really do want more Michelle Pfeiffer because she is absolutely wonderful. She essentially acts like a Deus Ex Machina having absorbed so much Quantum Energy over the years. She fixes Ghost, Scott and Hope save the day, everyone is reunited and escapes. As my fav movie goer commented “Are they still on the run after they saved everyone, that’s so sad!”
There are two after credits scenes… the later is a funny one off joke with no real deep repercussion to the Marvel universe, but the first one is a dooooozy. Scott is shrinking down to the Quantum Realm for an experiment run by Janet, Hank, and Hope. When he gets there he radios in… only to get no response on the other side, we cut back to see that all three have been dissolved to dust by the Thanos snap, trapping Scott in the Quantum Realm.
One last thing to note: I love that both Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Keaton from the Tim Burton Batman films have found a home in the Marvel Universe.