Rating: 4 Stars
The following review contains spoilers.
Since the events of Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang has been under house arrest, and is estranged from his former partners, Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne, as he took the Ant-Man suit and went off to fight with Captain America without consulting them. He’s made the most of the last two years, getting regular visits from his daughter, and setting up a security business with his friends from the first film. With only a few days left on his sentence, he has a strange dream that he’s inhabiting the body of Hope’s mother, Janet, and he feels like he needs to reach out to them to let them know. It turns out Hope and Hank have been trying to figure out how to reach Janet in the Quantum Realm, and the moment they attempted contact was when Scott had his dream, leading them to believe he’s somehow linked to Janet’s mind. Hope kidnaps Scott from his house arrest and asks for his help in saving Janet, to which he reluctantly agrees.
Meanwhile, Hope has been working with a criminal group to obtain parts on the black market to build their quantum tunnel, and now the criminals are catching on and trying to take the tech back for their own nefarious purposes. At the same, a mysterious young woman who can walk through walls wants to steal the tech as well. While this is going on, FBI Agent Jimmy Woo is convinced that Scott has been breaking his house arrest and is still in contact with fugitives Hope and Scott, and is trying to catch him in the act. All of this gives Ant-Man and the Wasp the feeling at times of a slamming-door farce, except with car chases instead of doors.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is a very nice movie. It’s got nice folks in it, who like each other. The emotional moments are primarily built around kindness, family, and reconciliation. Our heroes aren’t trying to prevent the destruction of the universe, the planet, a city, or even a moderately-occupied building. Primarily they’re trying to save the lives of two people, and will do whatever it takes to accomplish that. Maybe it wouldn’t work if every superhero movie were like that, but basically none of them are, so it’s a refreshing change of pace.
The jokes are actually funny, and hold up on re-watch. The filmmakers also aren’t afraid to let more emotional moments be emotional, and don’t deflate each one with a pratfall or whatever.
“It’s not a disguise, Hank. We look like ourselves at a baseball game.”
“Hey, the postal service is very reliable. They do tracking numbers now. Like UPS.”
“The little girl—where was she hiding? In a wardrobe?
“No, it was like a tall dresser.”
“So a wardrobe.”
“I don’t feel anything. That was a lie, I did feel something. This is truth serum!”
I wouldn’t say the action and fight scenes are A-class, but they’re at least B+-class. I still love the way size-changing is incorporated in the hand-to-hand combat, and towards the end of the film there are some really cool moments using size-changing in a car chase. Adding to that are Ghost’s incorporeal powers, which also look amazing during action scenes.
Ghost in general is a hit. Between the performance, the make-up, the costuming, and the special effects, she is effectively terrifying for much of the movie. The Ant-Man costume was one of the most impressive movie costumes already, in my opinion, and the costumes for the Wasp and for Ghost are up in that same class.
Even though the entire movie is based around the recovery of Janet Van Dyne, who is a hugely important character from the comics, we don’t get nearly enough of her. There is some hint of what she’s gone through in her nomadic clothes and makeshift weapons when Hank finds her in the Quantum Realm, but it’s not enough for me. And then she just happens to have some weird powers that instantly help (but not quite cure) Ghost? It’s all very flimsy and feels like a way to tie everything up because the movie is about over.
In hindsight, the plans of Ghost and Bill Foster don’t quite come together. They don’t have any way of operating the Quantum Tunnel or finding Janet without our heroes, so either work together, or use your Ghost powers to hide in the lab and make your move at the right moment. And why Foster gives the Ant-Gang the means to track down Ghost, when she already has the lab and doesn’t seem to want anything else from them, makes little sense.