Giant Action In A Small Package – Ant-Man and the Wasp (spoiler-free review)

Size matters not.

Yoda must have been channeling Ant-Man and the Wasp when he shared these wise words with Luke Skywalker.  Despite their diminutive size, Scott Lang’s Ant-Man and Hope van Dyne’s Wasp are larger than life super-heroes.  This film is just as funny as the first but with more hardcore action than before.  Less time is spent on backstory which allows director Peyton Reed to spend more time developing these characters and their relationships while at the same time introducing us to new characters to help flesh out the Ant-Man Universe.

Main theatrical poster for Ant-Man and the Wasp

Primary among those is Hope’s mom and Hank Pym’s wife, Janet van Dyne (portrayed in the film by Michelle Pfeiffer).  In the original Marvel Comics version, Janet, along with Hank, Iron Man, Thor, and the Hulk, comprise the first Avengers.  Unlike the comic book Janet who at first is basically a fashion maven, the MCU Janet is a brilliant scientist in her own right as well as a daring super-hero.  But as we learned in the first Ant-Man film, she disappeared into the Quantum Realm.  This time, Hank and Hope find out there is a chance to find her and with Scott’s help set out on a quest to bring her home.

Marvel Studios ANT-MAN AND THE WASP..Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018

The main antagonist is Ghost portrayed by Hannah John-Kamen.  Mysterious and deadly, Ghost is particularly a foil for Hope and Scott because she is hunting down the same things they are – parts to assemble a quantum tunnel to access the Quantum Realm.  Her motivations are unknown at the beginning of the film but her skills and her drive are impressive.  Despite Hope’s prowess with the Wasp suit, Ghost is Hope’s match in combat and it becomes clear it will take a team to stop this newest addition to the Ant-Man world.

Marvel Studios ANT-MAN AND THE WASP..Wasp/Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018

Speaking of which, Hope is awesome!  Evangeline Lilly who portrays Marvel’s first female title superhero does an outstanding job of bringing the Wasp to life.  Wasp is fierce, capable, smart, inventive, creative, and skilled.  She does things with her suit that Scott Lang’s Ant-Man never did.  Evangeline gives her character the kind of depth and realism that makes her legendary and human at the same time.

Marvel Studios ANT-MAN AND THE WASP..Giant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018

Besides the well-thought out story, the great acting, the funny moments, the intense action, and the gripping suspense of “will it all work out?” is how this film fits into the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Reed and the writing team did not ignore events in Ant-Man’s life since Civil War.  Instead they expanded on it.  We find out through the course of the film what happened to Scott after his capture, what effect his participation had on his family and on Hank and Hope, and we find out how that affected his ability to be Ant-Man.  Instead of glossing over it, his participation in Civil War profoundly made a difference in his life.

Somehow, Ant-Man and the Wasp is able to wrap together all of these different threads and come up with an engaging, action-packed, thrilling story that is also funny and moving.  Definitely this is a great movie for the family and one you’ll want to rush to go see (and see in 3D if you are able).  Oh, and stay through the credits. You’ll want to see the bonus scenes for sure as they tie directly into the events of Avengers: Infinity War.

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