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Monday, July 9, 2018

REVIEW | Ant-Man and the Wasp: Big surprises come in small packages


LOOK AWAY IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE SPOILED! SHOO!

Ant-Man and the Wasp brings us a breath of fresh air amidst the superhero movie fatigue lately. It delivers a fresh take on a story never been told in the comics that suits the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

WE TOLD YOU TO GO AWAY! SPOILERS AHEAD!

The film begins with Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) under house arrest, in terms of assisting Captain America (Chris Evans) against Ironman (Robert Downey, Jr.) during Captain America: Civil War in violation of the Sokovia Accords.


Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly) recruit Scott once more thinking the Ant-Man can help them out figure the location and eventually retrieve Hank's wife, Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the quantum realm.

In a flashback, the movie explained further the backstory of Janet's relationship to her daughter and how her being subatomic--- shrinking and disappearing into the quantum realm affects her family.


Being in the quantum realm two years ago, Lang receives a seeming message from Janet, (unknowingly it was her in the first place) binding them in a quantum entanglement (so much quamtum). Despite having only days left of his house arrest, Lang agrees to help Pym. Realizing the message as confirmation that Janet is alive, Pym and Hope work to create a stable tunnel so they can take a vehicle to the quantum realm and retrieve Janet.


While in house arrest, Hank and Hope live and work in a fully-equipped lab, which conveniently shrinks like a carry-on suitcase that they can roll it along the street easily.


Hope arranges to buy a part needed for the tunnel from black market dealer Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), but Burch has realized the potential profit that can be earned from Pym and Hope's research and double-crosses them. Hope fights Burch and his men off, until she is attacked by a quantumly unstable masked woman. Lang tries to help fight off this "ghost", but she escapes with Pym's portable lab.


Pym unwillingly visits his estranged former partner Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) who helps them locate the lab. The Ghost restrains Lang, Hope, and Pym when they arrive, and reveals herself to be Ava Starr (Hannah John-Kamen). Her father Elihas, another former partner of Pym's, accidentally killed himself and his wife during a quantum experiment that caused Ava's unstable state. Foster reveals that he has been helping Ava, whom they plan to cure using Janet's quantum energy. Believing that this will kill Janet, Pym refuses to help them and the trio manage to escape.

Opening a stable version of the tunnel this time, Pym and Hope are able to contact Janet who gives them a precise location to find her, but warns that they only have two hours before the unstable nature of the realm separates them for centuries. Burch learns their location from Lang's business partners Luis, Dave, and Kurt, and informs a contact at the FBI. Luis warns Lang, who rushes home before Woo can see him breaking his house arrest. This leaves Pym and Hope to be arrested, and for their lab to be taken by Burch.


Lang is soon able to help Pym and Hope escape custody, and they steal the lab back from Burch. Pym enters the quantum realm and finds Janet. In the meantime, Lang and Hope end up fighting Burch and his men, which allows Ava to begin taking Janet's energy. Luis, Dave, and Kurt help apprehend Burch, and Lang and Hope work to stop Ava. Pym and Janet arrive safely from the quantum realm, and Janet voluntarily gifts some of her energy to Ava to temporarily stabilize her.


OUR VERDICT

The gang is back for more heist, this time involving Pym's other half Janet. The movie is a direct continuation from the first Ant-Man movie as it delves into Janet's background more and explore the concept of quantum realm further. A lot of cat and mouse chase, shrinking and expanding here and there and we're not complaining. 

Paul Rudd brings modest humor yet delivers them accordingly. There may be times that you may mistakenly see him as Chris Pratt (tone-wise) as he deliver his lines and punchlines.

Michael Douglas' Pym has grown a lot closer to his daughter Hope since the first film, and according to producer Kevin Feige he has "that joy of fatherhood" in watching her grow into a superhero of her own. Douglas stated that he particularly liked the "morally dubious" decision Pym makes regarding finding his wife Janet.

The Wasp's (Evangeline Lily) relationship with Lang is more complicated than in the first film, and includes anger towards his actions during Civil War. The writers were excited to properly introduce the character of the Wasp, showing her "power set, how she fights, and what are the injustices that matter to her". Lilly felt the character has "incredible satisfaction" in becoming the Wasp, "something that she has been waiting for her whole life, which is essentially an affirmation from her father".

John-Kamen's Ghost character is not complex. You can relate to her at first--- just like your other half when you first met them, kind and gentle and you would understand what they're being into but along the way helping them makes you an accomplice to their madness. We can understand where she's coming from but her desire to be "cured" before the deadline made her desperate to do all things necessary, including compromising Janet's welfare.

As usual, Michael Peña's (Luis) performance is funny as hell, bringing back his unique narration but his presence is trimmed down.

Director Payton Reed likened the rivalry between Foster (Laurence Fishbourne) and Pym to that of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, and wanted an actor who can go "toe-to-toe" with Michael Douglas which is kinda effective. Though it seems he lacks screen time, his character could've been full-Goliath that could rival Ant-Man while restraining the team during the battle of the Ghost's possession of the portable lab

Michelle Pfeiffer had been Reed's dream casting for the role even when he was working on the first film, and ensured that he got her input for the sequel on what the role should be. He noted that the character has spent thirty years in the quantum realm, and acknowledged the mystery regarding how the subatomic extra-dimensional location has affected her. The decision to have the character age over her years in the microverse, even though time works differently there, was made to avoid any "sci-fi weirdness" that could take away from the emotional reunion with her family in the film.

Speaking of the effects of the quantum realm, Janet's time spent sub-atomic has left her different than she once was. As the original Wasp explains to Hank after he finds her, the Quantum Realm changes people in every possible way: "It changes you," Janet tells Hank. "Adaptation is part of it, but it's more...evolution."

Familiar? Keyword: evolution. Could this be a possible laid groundwork of Marvel to introduce the mutants in the MCU? In December 2017, The Walt Disney Company entered an acquisition deal with 21st Century Fox, including the film rights for the X-Men. Disney's CEO Bob Iger stated that the studio intends to integrate the X-Men into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Most of the X-Men are Mutants, a subspecies of humans who are born with superhuman abilities activated by the "X Gene". The X-Men fight for peace and equality between normal humans and mutants in a world where antimutant bigotry is fierce and widespread. So could this be a gentle nod to the mutants,? We'll definitely embrace them like a long time family member who's been on a vacation trip for 30 years.

Overall, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a light and fun movie that makes you forget it's almost past 2 hours (188 minutes to be exact). The plot can be plain and may not be as grandeur as the previous Marvel Cinematic movies but the execution of the story is very well-written and entertaining all throughout.


THE QUESTION

After the events of Avengers: Infinity War, many are wondering--- where in the world is Ant-Man?


POST CREDITS

The answer to the above question is during the mid-credits of the movie. Pym, Lang, Hope, and Janet attempt to harvest quantum energy to continue helping Ava. While Lang is doing this in the quantum realm, Pym, Hope, and Janet all disintegrate into dust, trapping Lang in the quantum realm.

In a post-credits scene, Lang's empty house was shown, with the TV broadcasting a state of emergency, indicating that the snap has already happened. Meanwhile, the giant ant that Pym had programmed to play as Lang's decoy in the film is still playing on the drum set.



OUR RATING:
🐜🐜🐜🐜 of 5.

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