Movie Guru: Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly shine in delightful ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’
The Movie Guru
‘Ant-man and the wasp’
Rating: PG-13 for some sci-fi action violence.
Written by: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari.
Directed by: Peyton Reed.
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Walton Goggins, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Hannah John-Kamen, Laurence Fishburne and more.
Guru’s Grade: Four stars.
If there’s one thing the Marvel Cinematic Universe desperately needs right now, then it’s some laughs.
Thankfully, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” are here to save the day. A sequel both to 2015’s “Ant-Man” and 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War,” the movie is a hilarious, exciting, unexpectedly moving look at family and what it takes to be a real hero. With a fantastic cast and several unexpected twists, it’s a wonderful reminder of why we all fell in love with superhero movies in the first place.
The movie explains what happened to Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) after the events of “Civil War,” then jumps ahead two years to just before he’s about to be released from house arrest. He’s forbidden from using his Ant-Man suit or contacting his former associates Hope Van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym (Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas), but an unexpected incident brings them all back together for a life-or-death mission. With the police, criminals and a mysterious matter-phasing villain ready to hunt them down, the world’s tiniest heroes are about to tackle the biggest challenge they’ve ever faced.
“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is one of the most hilarious movies Marvel has ever made, from the dry one-liners to dumb jokes to some truly spectacular physical comedy. Movie trailers often commit the unpardonable sin of spoiling all the movie’s best jokes, but I can promise you here they don’t even get half of them.
The movie doesn’t skimp on deeper emotions, though. Everyone who saw “Ant-Man” knows that the Pyms have a very specific family tragedy they’re dealing with, a situation that infuses this new film with several profoundly touching moments. Lang’s relationship with his daughter Cassie is an undercurrent throughout the whole movie, infusing it with gentle sweetness and giving greater depth to one of the movie’s major subplots (which I can’t tell you about because of spoilers).
There’s also plenty of pure action-movie excitement, including a sequence that combines three different, simultaneous chase scenes with all the choreographic precision and flair of a major Broadway show. Director Peyton Reed plays with the universe’s size-changing technology like it’s the world’s coolest toy, infusing everything from the above chase sequences to individual fight scenes with a creativity that blows all other action scenes out of the water.
Rudd is fantastic as Scott Lang (aka Ant-Man), balancing an excellent sense of comic timing with the ability to bring genuinely profound emotion when the moment demands it. Lilly adds whole layers of depth to Hope Van Dyne, beautifully tackling a whole range of tough emotional moments through her expressiveness and line delivery. Michael Pena remains an absolute delight as Luis, Scott’s friend and one of the greatest movie characters to ever grace a Marvel movie.
The credits scene does tie the movie back into everything going on in the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe (if you’ve seen “Avengers: Infinity War,” then you know what I mean). Until that happens, however, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is a slice of pure pleasure that will make you wish it was twice as long.
Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Drop her a line at email@example.com.