Saturday, June 30, 2018

Review of ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: Size-Shifting Spectacle

June 30, 2018

I rated "Ant-Man" (2015) one of my top 10 films of that year. It was very good beyond my expectations. Scott Lang (imbued by Paul Rudd with his aw-shucks boy-next-door charm) was a thief trained by genius inventor Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his spunky daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) to become Ant-Man, a size-shifting superhero. In the mid-credits scene of that first film, we saw Hope receive her own shrinking suit. So in this sequel, we can finally see her in action as the Wasp.

The events of this film follow those of "Captain America:Civil War" (2016). Scott Lang is under house arrest for joining forces with Captain America in violation of the Sokovia Accords. However, Hank Pym and Hope van Dyne (now already The Wasp) sought Scott's help to re-enter the subatomic quantum realm to search for long-lost Janet van Dyne, who was Hank's wife, Hope's mother and the original Wasp (Michelle Pfeiffer). 

Meanwhile, there were those who interfered with their plans. The Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) wanted to hijack Pym's quantum technology to cure her of her ability to phase through objects, an affliction she accidentally gained as a child.  Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) was Hank Pym's assistant back in the day for the Goliath project, until they had a serious falling out and became bitter rivals. A shady gangster Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) was also after this quantum tech for its potential for big bucks in the black market. Federal agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park from "Fresh Off the Boat") wanted to make sure Scott remained strictly under house arrest.  

The supporting characters from the first film were all back, mostly for comic relief. Luis (Michael Pena), Scott's former cellmate, is now his partner in a security systems business. Their wacky minions Dave (Tip "T.I." Harris) and Kurt (David Dastmalchian) were also involved in their operations. Scott's ex-wife Maggie and her new husband Paxton were also still in there in more minor capacity. Scott's dear daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Forston) is still very much the sweet delight of the film.

The size-changing abilities of both Ant-Man and the Wasp were still the main course in terms of the special visual effects of this film. Aside from his ability to shrink, we already saw in "Civil War" that Scott can also grow up into a 65-foot giant. On the other hand, the Wasp had wings on her back and blasters on her hands as additional abilities. Various objects were also shrinking and growing as the heroes willed, from a Hello Kitty toy to various cars to an entire building. A good number of these scenes we have already seen in the trailer, though there were still a lot more action spectacles in store in the full film. Watching in 3D and IMAX is a big plus.

Director Peyton Reed succeeded in making this sequel match or even surpass the already-excellent first film. The script may have been peppered with a lot of scientific mumbo-jumbo we cannot hope to comprehend, but nevertheless the plot was well-told in a most engaging manner from beginning to end. Aside from the technically-polished action scenes, the chemistry between Rudd and Lilly, its affable sense of humor, the light yet heartwarming family drama -- all contribute to make a most entertaining totality the whole family will thoroughly enjoy watching. 

Furthermore, there was that fantastic extra scene midway through the closing credits which was such tasty icing on the cake. It actually made me and the audience I was with gasp and erupt in spontaneous applause. 9/10. 

1 comment:

  1. Fate intervenes when a strange dream causes Scott to contact Hope who in turn takes a reluctant Scott along with her to get to the bottom of the dream. Scott is naturally reluctant as he is days away from freedom and being discovered out and about and consorting with his wanted former associates would not be good for his eventual freedom.

    A shady tech dealer named Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) and a dangerous new adversary named “Ghost” (Hannah John-Kamen) also complicate matters and force Scott, Hope, and Hank to contend with issues all around them as the race against time on an urgent mission while trying to stay away from Woo and his team.
    > Ant-Man and the Wasp Agent Woo (Randall Park), is waiting for him to slip up and with a possible twenty year prison term in the balance, he is not eager to make any mistakes.
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