Movies

Movie Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp

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Scott Lang (Paul Rudd, “Ant-Man“) has been on house arrest for nearly two years, following the events of “Captain America: ‘Civil War,” where Scott sided with Captain America and violating the Sokovia Accords or Superhero Registration Act. Confined at home, Scott spends his time with his young daughter, Cassie (Abby Rider Fortson), playing a game of trap, pulling card tricks and mastering musical drums. His relationship with Cassie is authentically sweet.

Scott is also trying to run a security consultant business from home, partnering with his old pal, ex-con Luis (Michael Pena, “American Hustle“) and two other associates (Bobby Canavale and T.I.). Pena is quite a supporting character; his Luis’ rap-storytelling style is truly hysterical.

In three days, Scott will have completed his sentence. Finishing these last few days turns out to be a sizable challenge. Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly, “Ant-Man“) and her scientist father Hank Pym (Michael Douglas, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps“) reach out to him with the hopes of saving their long-lost mother and wife, the original Wasp, Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer, “Murder at the Orient Express“).  They’re not on exactly friendly terms with Scott, considering their association with him through the Ant-Man suit technology put them on the other side of the law.

Thirty years ago, Janet had to shrink herself into a subatomic level in order to disarm a nuclear missle, and as a result, she fell into the quantum realm.  She’s been presumed dead in this abyss.  When Scott was able to return from the realm in the first installment, it shows a possibility that Janet may just be trapped in there and still be alive. In the last couple of years, Hank and Hope have been working on a technology that could open a portal to the quantum realm. They need Scott’s help to find and hopefully bring back Janet to the real world.

A tech black marketer, Sonny Burch (Walter Groggins), has a component part needed to perfect the technology. As soon as Sonny knows what the technology can do, however, he wants Hank’s shrinkable lab building. He’s not the only one. A mysterious figure who can phase in and out of solid objects dubbed Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) is after it for her survival. The reason why she became Ghost is painfully tied to Hank’s past work with the S.H.I.E.L.D. She’s aided by Hank’s disgruntled former colleague, Dr. Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne).

How Scott manages to get out of the house and back in the nick of time without triggering his ankle bracelet and thus beating the FBI is cleverly hilarious. Hope, Hank, Scott and his associates must protect the mobile lab and finish the portal process while dodging the authorities, the bad guys, and Ghost.

This is where the movie shines differently than other superhero movies. The nifty superpowers, which allow a play on miniature and massive sizes, add an additional pop of depth to the screen, especially when seen in 3-D. Martial arts expert Hope is now a full-blown superhero herself, the Wasp. It’s like Ant-Man with wings and blaster. The fights and car chases, utilizing suddenly shrinking and growing of ordinary objects, and also taking advantage of San Francisco’s topography, are greatly choreographed.

A special shout to the Wasp, the first Marvel female superhero (Marvel Cinematic Universe’s 20th movie since 2008) that shares a lead title with her counterpart. Lilly stands out as an equal partner. The Wasp is a fearless ally with graceful fighting moves.

Superhero movies have grown grander, heavier or more complex, dealing with the fate of the universe (“Avengers: Infinity War“), world domination (“Justice League“), World Wars (“Wonder Woman,” “Captain America: First Avenger“), social commentary (“X-Men” series), political climate and global issues (“Black Panther,” “Captain America: Civil War“). Even the superheroes themselves are tortured or conflicted souls (“Logan,” “Man of Steel,” “The Dark Knight“).

Other than ‘Infinity War‘-related post-credit scene, none of these are found here. Like its titular superhero, the movie scales way down. It focuses on family and fun. Lighthearted and humorous, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is surprisingly refreshing.

Copyright (c) 2018. Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a film columnist and has a movie blog, The MovieMaven (sdmoviemaven.blogspot.com). Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com.

"Nathalia Aryani is a film columnist and has a movie blog, The MovieMaven (sdmoviemaven.blogspot.com). Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com."

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