Peyton Reed’s follow-up to his successful Ant-Man is just as charming and funny, thanks in large part to his brilliant cast.
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After all the fuss over Marvel’s first major female villain in Thor: Ragnarok (2017), the racial intrigue of Black Panther and the tragedies that grappled Avengers: Infinity War, it is lovely to once again enjoy an action superhero comedy from which I can leave without having to ponder my life choices. Superhero movies used to be goofy, once upon a time. Now they’re taken more seriously than final exams. Ant-Man and the Wasp is a cheerful reminder that there’s more than enough room for both.
This is the follow-up to 2015’s Ant-Man and it carries along the same energy and charisma that made that film one of the more underrated instalments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Paul Rudd is once again the titular hero, except this time he has to do his superhero business while under house arrest for his role in the events that destroyed a German airport.
Fighting alongside him is Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), the formidable daughter of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), who has taken up the mantle of the Wasp in an attempt to rescue her mother from the Quantum Realm, a dimension so small the bacteria that live there are the size of hippos. Indeed, much of Ant-Man and the Wasp is about the Pyms’ tireless efforts to retrieve their missing beloved, and Lilly and Douglas create quite a dynamic family unit, one that is penetrated with lots of humour by Rudd.
What’s interesting about the screenplay, penned rather surprisingly by five writers, is the way it uses the Pyms’ mission as the foundation for a plot that could have been written by the Coen brothers, except instead of a rug or a briefcase filled with dirty money, all the characters are trying to get their hands on a laboratory that’s been shrunken to the size of a suitcase. Yes, that’s right – a tiny building on wheels.
One of the many joys about these Ant-Man movies is the kick the filmmakers get from turning small everyday objects into larger-than-life monstrosities, including Ant-Man himself. I won’t tell you if Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), the Pym matriarch, is found, but I enjoyed the urgency with which the plot moves towards her. It all builds up to a hilarious scene in which Rudd and Douglas hold hands, and then a touching one that moved me more than it should have. Goofy and serious, all at the same time.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is available in Australian cinemas from July 5
Image courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures