Off the tail-end of another Avengers epic, Scott Lang returns in another comedic setting in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, only this time he’ll share the spotlight with Hope van Dyne. As advertised, the film is as funny as its predecessor, touching on familiar and new themes, such as family, ego, and even life and death. Main-stay character performances are good, but relationships with one another are also given a bigger scope which is a welcomed addition for a franchise entering its second film. As we delve into the second act, pacing becomes an issue, when too many parties become involved. The MCU’s new additions have simple motives and potential but leaves a lot to be desired.
Two years after Scott Lang’s (Paul Rudd) decision to side with Captain America (AKA two years since being Ant-Man last) has kept him in a nearly completed tenure of house arrest yet continues to restrict him from being the father he set out to be after leaving prison. It’s great to see Lang salvage relationships that were severed in the first film as well as not begin in-costume (Almost every second installment in the MCU begins with the main hero in-costume) but rather spending time with his daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson) which reminds us how he has everyday regular responsibilities as opposed to other heroes (Except Hawkeye, of course). Lang, longtime friend Luis (Michael Peña), and his former heist associates are even trying to get back on track with a small business. Life still isn’t perfect for Scott Lang, but it’s nice to be able to tell that time has passed and certain parts of his life have improved.
Life hasn’t been much kinder to Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) who are now fugitives of the law (Due to Lang) and are constantly on the run. Hope van Dyne is given her time to shine in this film, finally given her own suit and dons her mother’s alias. Her go-getter attitude is a key driver for the film whether it’s fight scenes, being the voice of reason, and to put it best, learning to share the spotlight with Lang without one overpowering the other. Pym is much more driven to protect his technology from the wrong hands, and not on amazing terms with Lang.
A few issues around the halfway point of the film in terms of pacing. On one end you have Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) alongside the law who is overseeing Lang’s house arrest. Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) an underground tech dealer, as well as the films antagonist Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) are in a race for Hank Pym’s technology. Certain cuts in the film feel too abrupt and had me lost at times.
Visually, the film can generate laughs not only with its comedic moments, but with use of visual effects, from making a PEZ dispenser huge, to shrinking a van, Marvel’s comedic writing shares the stage with its visuals. The Quantum Realm is a big subject of the film, after Lang stepping into it in the first installment. Scenes in the Quantum Realm are given a similar look to that of Doctor Strange.
The newest DC ship-jumper Laurence Fishburne makes his debut in the MCU as Bill Foster, an old friend turned rival to Hank Pym. Their first interaction together made me hope and wonder they would touch a bit more on their past, but really all that’s seen is the cliché rival scientists, each throwing their two cents at one another. Foster becomes more important as his relationships become his pivotal connection to the film, he also attempts to be a beacon of wisdom and reason but nevertheless undeveloped.
Another debutante, Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) is an interesting case as Marvel villains go, although she sadly falls victim to the standard Marvel-treatment of its antagonists on-screen. A villain that hardly steals the show in any regard as were not given any of her back story until well into the second act. Her motives are simple and understood at jump, not throwing any real curve-balls the audiences way. Her story comes full circle alongside Lang, Van Dyne, and Pym with a different than-usual result.
Come the end, Ant-Man and the Wasp ties up some loose ends that range back from the first Film. A sense of togetherness and family are exhaled from all perspectives including that of Lang, Van Dyne, Pym as well as even Foster and Ghost. Director Peyton Reed gave us a two-for-one not only by adding “The Wasp” into the title, but with Evangeline Lilly setting the stage and making it her film to shine and proved she is quickly rivaling mainstays like Black Widow and Gamora as one of the top heroines in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while Lang is given equal opportunity to shine. I look forward to what Marvel has in store for this new dynamic duo come the next Avengers film, in a years’ time.
Also stick around for that post credit scene, believe me when I say it’s important this time.
Rating – 7.5/10
Ant-Man and The Wasp hits theatres on July 6, 2018.