Possible spoilers ahead!
“Ant-Man and the Wasp” picks up nearly two years after the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” with Scott Lang close to completing his house arrest sentence that was part of his deal to get out of prison after violating the Sokovia Accords. However, days before his time is up, Scott reunited with his former associates Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), both of whom are wanted by the FBI and have been on the run for the past two years.
But if the FBI catches up with scott, it will sabotage the new life he’s trying to build for himself, like starting a security business with his friends Luis (Michael Peña), Dave (Tip “T.I.” Harris) and Kurt (David Dastmalchian). Another arrest would also put in peril his relationship with his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Forsten), ex-wife Maggie (Judy Greer) and her new fiancé Paxton (Bobby Cannavale).
During the same period of time, the Pym’s have assembled a lab where they’ve been building a Quantum Tunnel in an attempt to rescue Hank’s wife and Hope’s mother, Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer). Janet went missing in the Quantum Realm about 30 years ago. But Hank and Hope have their own problems, thanks to criminal named Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), who is after their research. Add to that the mysterious entity only known as Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), and you got major problems for the heroes. As a result, Scott, Hank and Hope turn to an old associate of Hank’s for help: Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne).
Now with the FBI, a gangster, and a super powered villain all after the trio and Hank’s work, Scott must decide whether to protect his new life, or suit up again as Ant-Man to help his friends.
It is a very rare thing when a movie sequel is better than the original film. But you know what? For me “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is miles better than the first “Ant-Man”, and I’m a huge fan of the 2015 film. But when it comes right down to it, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” was as close to a perfect sequel as you can get.
Like the first film, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” has the right mix of super-heroics, and silly humor. But the sequel goes even further than the 2015 film. The story in “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is sharper, and wastes no time to get going. The film also manages to make the science stuff easy to understand for people like me who were always horrible at science. And yet, this film still feels grounded thank to the main story about saving Janet Van Dyne.
Paul Rudd delivers yet another solid performance as Scot Lang, but this time he even added more inner conflict to his character. It was nice seeing him battle with wanting to help his friends the Pym’s, but at the same time not wishing to hurt his daughter. The filmmakers did a superb job balancing Scott’s heavy stuff, and the funny bits.
But for me, the biggest highlight of the movie was Evangeline Lilly as the Wasp. She not only steals the movie, but in many ways is the lead character. Hope Van Dyne is more skilled at combat than Scott Lang, and she’s often the one in charge. Also, Hope gets an equal number of action scenes as Scott, and some of the best one liners. In particular, I enjoyed how she teased Scott when the two had to sneak into a school.
The banter between the two also helps balance the film’s comedy, and we actually get to see their relationship grow. Plus, Hope is at the center of the emotional arc of the movie, since they’re trying to rescue her mother, and Evangeline Lilly carries off that dramatic storyline as well as anyone. This part of the movie even leads to a touching, and funny moment in the lab as the Pym’s comfirm if Janet is alive.
It was also nice to see Scott’s friends Luis (Michael Peña), Dave (Tip “T.I.” Harris) and Kurt (David Dastmalchian), all back for the new adventure. The three are involved in one of my favorite scenes of the movie which involved some truth serum. Plus Kurt’s reaction as seeing Ghost for the first time, was just priceless.
Also of note is Hannah John-Kamen as Ghost. Going in I thought she might be a weak villain like Yellowjacket was, but the filmmakers stepped up their game and made Ghost a surprisingly complex character. John-Kamen gave the character some great depth too, to the point where you understand what drives her motivations.
If I have one complaint about “Ant-Man and the Wasp” it would be with Sonny Birch’s character. I don’t think the movie needed him, and whenever the film went back to him, it only slowed things down. Plus with the FBI also serving as antagonists to Scott, Hope and Hank, it was almost a case of too many villains.
But as I said earlier, I thought “Ant-Man and the Wasp” was better than the original, and a lot of fun to boot. The cast was terrific, the action was awesome, and the Wasp stole every moment she appeared on-screen. I don’t know what the future holds for this little corner of the MCU, but I for one would love another adventure with Ant-Man and the Wasp.
“Ant-Man and the Wasp” score: A