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Movie Night – ‘Ant-Man’ sequel has excellent ensemble

By Bradley Griffith

Between “Avengers Infinity War” and next March’s “Captain Marvel,” Marvel studios had a break of almost a year between their planned films. In stepped “Ant-Man and the Wasp” to fill the void.  It’s an entertaining movie, but in years to come it will only be remembered for bridging the gap between the other Marvel releases.

After the events in “Captain America: Civil War” Scott Lang, aka the Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), returned to his hometown of San Francisco and was promptly arrested by the FBI for assisting Captain America in violation of the Sokovia Accords. Scott was placed under house arrest for two years for his transgressions. 

Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), the creator of the Ant-Man suit and technology, and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), Hank’s daughter and Scott’s former girlfriend, are in hiding from the FBI thanks to Scott. In his eagerness to help Captain America, in violation of the Sokovia Accords, Scott had taken one of the Ant-Man suits. The FBI believes they colluded with Scott by giving him the Ant-Man suit.

As his time under house arrest Scott nears an end Scott has a vision. He sees Hope as a small girl playing hide and seek with her mom, Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer). Thirty years before Janet had been wearing an Ant-Man suit and went subatomic to destroy a nuclear missile. The missile was stopped, but Janet was lost in the quantum realm forever. When Scott tells Hank and Hope about his vision they take it as a sign that Janet contacted Scott to let them know she is still alive.

Hope breaks Scott out of house arrest so he can help find Janet in the quantum realm. They need Scott and his connection to Janet. At the same time a person known as Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) wants the technology developed by Hank and Hope. Ghost is quantumly destabilizing and will die soon if she doesn’t find a cure. She needs Hank’s technology to find that cure.

The best thing about “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is the humor. Paul Rudd is his normal goofy and witty self. Michael Pena returns in a supporting role as Luis, Scott’s best friend and business partner. Pena somehow manages to make you smile or laugh at everything he says or does.  It’s the kind of silly humor that isn’t hurtful or mean, it’s just funny. Rudd and Pena are a great team, even if they aren’t in many scenes together.

The humor in the movie is very reminiscent of the first movie. In fact, the entire movie reminded me of the original “Ant-Man,” and a few years from now it will be difficult to distinguish between the two movies. If you liked the first movie, you will like “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”

The film boasts an all-star cast. Film legends like Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer figure prominently. Paul Rudd is an established star, especially in comedies. Michael Pena and Evangeline Lilly are established stars, but they are still on the rise in Hollywood. Overall, it’s an excellent ensemble cast.

Granted, it is a superhero movie about a man who shrinks to the size of an ant, but many things about the movie are either too ridiculous or make no sense at all. For instance, how could Janet Van Dyne be alive 30 years later with no food or water in the quantum realm? And a giant ant, who doesn’t look even remotely real, playing the drums is a little too much.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” isn’t a movie about the fate of the free world. It’s a nice, funny story about a personal adventure for a few characters with a cliffhanger ending in the mid-credits scene. If you liked “Ant-Man,” this movie is almost identical.

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Grade: B+

Rated PG-13 for some sci-fi action violence.