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|Ant-Man and the Wasp
dir Peyton Reed
prd Kevin Feige, Stephen Broussard
scr Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari
with Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michael Pena, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Randall Park, Walton Goggins, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip 'TI' Harris, David Dastmalchian, Divian Ladwa, Sean Kleier
release US 6.Jul.18, UK 3.Aug.18
18/US Marvel 1h58
Size matters: Lilly and Rudd
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E
There's a sense of coasting along with this sequel to 2015's riotously enjoyable Ant-Man. More of a standard Avengers movie, with a carefully structured action formula and little in the way of surprises, this film leans more deliberately on its blockbuster plotting. So if the set-pieces feel somewhat expected, thankfully there's still plenty of witty banter and inventive filmmaking touches to keep the audience entertained.
Forced to retire his superhero alter-ego, Scott (Rudd) is now under house arrest in San Francisco with pal Luis (Pena) running his security business with Dave and Kurt (Harris and Dastmalchian). When Scott has an odd dream, he contacts former cohort Hank (Douglas) and his daughter Hope (Lilly), who have gone underground to continue their work and rescue Hank's wife Janet (Pfeiffer) from the subatomic realm. So Scott becomes Ant-Man again, working with Hope's Wasp. But Scott's parole officer (Park), an angry tech dealer (Goggins) and a shadowy figure (John-Kamen) are threatening this plan.
It's nice to see a Marvel movie in which the whole world isn't hanging in the balance for a change. These threats are personal, and yet the writers still feel the need to add a few heightened countdowns to rescue Janet, finish Scott's sentence and sort out this ghost with the help of Hank's old friend/nemesis Bill (Fishburne). And while hand-to-hand sequences are exhilarating, the elaborate chases feel familiar, even with all the shrinking-growing mayhem.
Rudd is as wonderfully offhanded as always, easily shifting from comedy to emotion, and injecting both into the action scenes. Impressively, he never seems like he's taking anything seriously, and yet holds the film together. His interaction with each of the other characters is packed with subtext, allowing everyone to shine. Pena again steals sequences with the same gags as before, although Park gives him a run for his money. And John-Kamen adds an unexpected wave of anguish.
This is pretty much just what fans will want from an Ant-Man movie, namely much more of what made the first film such a breakout hit. On the other hand, more adventurous moviegoers will be a bit frustrated to see this corner of the Avengers universe settle into such by-the-book storytelling, with the usual blah-blah techno nonsense and spectacle just for the sake of it. That said, there's plenty of life in this character, and the mid-credits coda carries a proper gut-punch.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S
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© 2018 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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