McCoy on Movies: Ant-Man and the Wasp

McCoy on Movies: Ant-Man and the Wasp

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Marvel returns to delivering fun in various sizes with this humorous flick. See what our movie critic has to say about it.


“When I asked if you had seen Blade, this is NOT what I meant!” Hope Van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) runs against an assailant’s attack in a scene from Peyton Reed’s latest entry into the Marvel Universe, ANT-MAN & THE WASP. Credit: Film Frame © 2018 Marvel Studios. All rights reserved. 




KEY CAST MEMBERS: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Abby Ryder Fortson, Hannah John-Kamen, Walton Goggins, Michael Peña, Tip “T.I.” Harris, David Dastmalchian, Randall Park, Judy Greer and Bobby Cannavale with Laurence Fishburne and Michele Pfeiffer 

WRITER(S): Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari; based on characters created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Larry Lieber and Ernie Hart

DIRECTOR(S): Peyton Reed


HERE’S THE STORY: Set after the events of Captain America: Civil War but BEFORE Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp finds our hero Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) on house arrest as a result of his actions in Sovokia since, you know, he wasn’t legally about to be there. FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) is ready to bust Scott at a moment’s notice, even though he only has 3 days until his sentence is up – which he can’t wait to spend with his daughter Cassie a.k.a. Peanut (Abby Ryder Fortson). Even Scott’s ex wife Maggie (Judy Greer) and her new husband Paxton (Bobby Cannavale) are supportive of his changed ways and his best friend Luis (Michael Peña) is running the security company he started with their other friends Kurt (David Dastmalchian) and Dave (Tip “T.I.” Harris), so what could go wrong?

Well, once Scott starts seeing visions of Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) – the wife of Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and mother of Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) long lost to the mysterious Quantum Realm – plenty.

Despite having not spoken to Hank or Hope in 2 years since, you know, they became FBI fugitives for their use of the Pym particle technology that enables Ant-Man to shrink and increase his size to massive heights, Scott contacts the duo with his news. This, in turn, makes them excited about the prospect of finding Janet – even if it means having to get technology off the black market from guys like Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), a man always on the lookout for a new way to get rich, no matter what the cost. Sonny and the FBI, however, will soon be far from the biggest problem facing Scott, Hank and Hope, however.

No, that would be the presence of the mysterious malevolent presence of Ava a.k.a. Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), a woman who needs Pym’s technology for reasons that will soon be revealed in startling fashion …

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? Fans of the first Ant-Man movie and Thor: Ragnarok; Paul Rudd fans; people who like superhero movies that go for more lighthearted fare than the darker subject matter of Marvel entries such as the Captain America series; people awaiting anything related to 2019’s Avengers 4 movie 

WHO WON’T (OR SHOULDN’T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? People who joke about Ant-Man as a character the same way Robot Chicken has Aquaman; those who like a villain that is more pure evil that motivated for a logical reason

SO IS IT GOOD, BAD OR JUST AWFUL? Another solid entry into the Marvel Universe from start to finish, Ant-Man and the Wasp features everything fans of the first movie came to enjoy, just with more of it. There is plenty of humor, well-constructed action sequences that balances its human cartoon with traditional fight elements with Peña once again stealing nearly every scene he’s in, Lilly – who’s Wasp proves she’s no second fiddle to her male partner – and Rudd exhibiting a familiar yet growing, believable chemistry. Likewise, Rudd’s character’s desire to be a good dad never feeling forced due to the great interplay between he and the lovably precocious Fortson. (Seriously, she’s just too cute as his daughter like a live version of Agnes from Despicable Me but more mature.) Surprisingly, Douglas adds an unexpected emotional center to the film, playing both the crotchety old man archetype well when necessary but without ever becoming a parody of it (or himself).

If there is any real flaw in the film, it’s that Ant-Man may have the least compelling villains as of yet seen in Marvel films. (It’s really hard to follow Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger and Josh Brolin’s finger-snapping Thanos/hard-ass Cable with a villain who’s cause is extremely sympathetic and more misunderstood than anything.) Perhaps having a more hard-edged, truly threatening presence on screen might tilt the film in a direction director Peyton Reed and his team may not want to explore, but John-Kamen turns in a solid performance, hitting all the necessary beats. Goggins, for his part, portrays a much more interesting character here than he did in the already forgotten Tomb Raider, bringing some of his Vice Principals “I-should-dislike-you-but-you’re-too-fun” charm to the movie to round things out. 

Throw in some really fun, early Spielberg-like use of Pym’s ants their selves and the movie is while nowhere near as emotionally gripping as say Black Panther or Infinity War, it is full of fun while filled with enough nuances to stand on its own.

Other than that, there’s not much else one really needs to know about Ant-Man and the Wasp as Marvel is wrapping up Phase Three of its master plan – except that the movie proves that Marvel having a plan has led to a decade’s worth of quality films. Ant-Man and the Wasp is all about the idea of family and trying to do right by the people they love while overcoming the odds throw in their way. 

Ant-Man and the Wasp does both of those things in spades and while not the mightiest of Avengers heroes, they definitely team players that prove they are worth a spot in the lineup … Especially if you want to see what just may lie ahead for the man who could become one of the biggest (or, depending on his physical size, smallest) players in Marvel plans heading into 2019.