Thursday, July 12, 2018

[Review] Ant-Man and The Wasp

Since his spunky debut in 2015, Ant-Man has found himself playing a pivotal role in the Marvel's Avengers universe, appearing in films like Captain America: Civil War -- so he's kind of a big deal now. His latest adventure, Ant-Man and The Wasp, sees him team with -- yes -- The Wasp. And even though this experiment doesn't quite capture the freshness of its predecessor, it's still a fine and dandy piece of superhero entertainment.

The plot is a bit like Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) himself -- shifty, slightly perplexing, and all over the place. But the gist of it involves the thief turned size-transforming superhero joining forces with the slick and highly-skilled Wasp (Evangeline Lilly, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), and the two -- along with Hank Pym (a kooky Michael Douglass) -- embark on a tricky mission to rescue The Wasp's mother (played by Michelle Pfeiffer!) from the quantum void. Meanwhile, an FBI Agent (Randall Park, great), an angry villain named Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), and a greasy criminal (Walton Goggins, of course) are all on their bite-sized trail.

This film is decidedly light-hearted tone, and it never tries to carry the weight of the world on its shoulders (even though ants can carry a lot). It possesses the pedal-to-metal zip and rawkish musicality of Baby Driver, and there's even some campiness injected that feels almost Power Rangers-esque. The story packs in some fun setpieces -- like a miniature car chase down San Francisco's iconic Lombard street, as well as a trippy journey to the quantum void that looks like a hidden psychedelic level from an obscure video game. The film has a great sense of humor, too. This role is so perfect for Paul Rudd with all his quippy timing and immense likability. His supporting cast of goons, including T.I., David Dastmalchian, and Michael Pena are all given some solid moments of comic relief, even though things aren't all that serious in the first place. And I can't forget to mention Bobby Cannavale, who always makes a hilarious impression during his brief screen time.

Ant-Man and The Wasp won't even go down as the most memorable Marvel movie of 2018 (it feels remarkably minor when following colossal epics like Black Panther and Infinity War), but it's kind of like the little engine that could -- its strength lies in its compact design.

( 7.5/10 )

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