Movie Review: Ant Man and the Wasp

Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo

Starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr.

Running Time 2 Hrs., 40 Mins., PG-13

My Rating: B+

Ant-Man (2015) was a delight, in part, because it was so undemanding. Its sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp, is no different: it is about as good, just with a few more inventive size-dependent action set pieces.

It takes place shortly after the events depicted in the first Ant-Man movie. That film’s primary bad guy, petty criminal Scott (Paul Rudd), has been placed under house arrest after participating in the supers vs. supers battle in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. His affiliates, the greyed scientist Walter (Michael Douglas) and his no-nonsense daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly), are in hiding as a result, and have since cut ties with him.

But in Ant-Man and the Wasp, which begins around the time Scott’s two-year sentence is coming to an end, this feud is going to have to be put on hold. Scott has begun having visions revolving around Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), Walter’s wife who has been trapped in the microscopic quantum realm for more than 30 years. (She, who moonlighted as the Wasp decades ago, sacrificed herself to neutralize an explosive device during a covert mission.)

Scott would like to pass his visions off as dreams. But they’re so vivid that he feels the need to tell his ex-associates, who themselves have always believed Janet might be alive but have never quite had the requisite evidence to back themselves up.

Reluctantly, Walter and Hope let Scott back into their lives, and cunningly help him leave his house to assist them in Janet’s rescue. In the period since we saw them last, Walter and Hope have been working on an electronic tunnel that will allow them to safely enter and exit the subatomic realm. The project is nearing completion.

Obstacles arise throughout, as would be expected. Some criticism has been directed at Ant-Man and the Wasp’s patchwork of semi-villains and plots. Yet I was neither turned off by Ant-Man and the Wasp’s busyness nor its deficiency of an outright antagonist. The storyline’s overelaborate structure works with the mania of the action sequences. Any movie that so adeptly uses the underrated Michael Peña, whose comedic timing is matchless, is certainly worth something.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: the Marvel Cinematic Universe is neither improved nor worsened for hosting it. But in the scope of the more or less operatic superhero genre, something so breezy is easy to value. After sitting through the post-credits sequence — for once a necessary component — I can’t wait to see what happens next.

A student at the University of Washington, Blake will major in Visual Communications or Journalism.  petersonreviews.com

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