Ant-Man and the Wasp, with Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer. Directed by Peyton Reed.
FOLLOWING its tried and tested formula, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has come out with another crowd-pleaser in Ant-Man and the Wasp, the sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man.
Honouring the Marvel Comics on which the characters are based, the movies delves deeper into the fact there was an Ant-Man before reformed criminal Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) started wearing the suit that allows its user to shrink to ant size while still inflicting normal body mass punches.
A flashback shows the original Ant-Man, Dr Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his wife Janet van Dyne aka the Wasp (Michelle Pfeiffer) on a desperate mission to stop a Soviet nuclear missile, after saying goodbye to their daughter.
Unable to cut through the metal shell, they realise their only hope of stopping it is to shrink through the molecules of the metal to disrupt the rocket’s electronics. As Pym’s suit is shorting, only Van Dyne can do it and saves the day, but disappears into the sub-atomic quantum realm.
Pym believed her lost forever and raised their daughter Hope alone. Years later, with Lang having taken up the mantle of Ant-Man, he discovered a way to both enter and return from the quantum realm. Pym and Hope (Evangeline Lilly) began work on repeating this feat, believing they may find Janet alive. Lang and Hope also started a romantic relationship.
Lang’s relationship with the Pyms was thrown awry, however, by the fallout of Captain America: Civil War. Lang was placed under house arrest while Pym and Hope cut ties with him and went into hiding.
When Pym and Hope briefly manage to open a tunnel to the quantum realm in the present day, Lang receives an apparent message from Janet, with whom he shares a quantum connection.
Lang is reunited with Hope and Pym, and a most appropriate doppelganger is left in his place to not arouse suspicions from the FBI.
Having worked on a machine to create a tunnel to the quantum realm, Pym and Hope need only one more part which they order on the black market. But the seller double-crosses them, which sees Hope transform into her Wasp identity to thwart the criminals.
The skirmish becomes further complicated by the appearance of a third party, a “ghost” that phases in and out of reality and steals Pym’s shrunken lab.
It becomes a cat and mouse chase for the lab and technology within, with the heroes fighting criminals and their new super-powered foe as well as avoiding the ever-watchful FBI.
Also in the Marvel formula, there’s a good dose of humour amid all the action and spectacular effects.