MOVIE BUFF-ET: Affable cast makes ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ a stinging success

Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios may not be able to cure cancer, bring peace to our time, or solve world hunger, but the entity headed by Kevin Feige sure knows how to make entertaining super-hero movies of all stripes.

This time out the flavor is comedy with “Ant-Man and the Wasp”, and Feige and Co. nailed it again. The film, directed by Peyton Reed and starring Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly, offers humor, action, and adventure with an ample dose of heart.

Rudd, who plays ex-con Scott Lange/Ant-Man has an everyman quality that makes his comedic skills all the more charming, and Lilly (Hope van Dyne/The Wasp) is adept at playing his frustrated, kick-butt, whip-smart woman.

New In Local Theaters

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Both characters use quantum technology to shrink to any scale down to microbic size, and in Scott’s case grow to at least 65 feet if not more. In his gigantic size, Rudd’s inventive character uses a truck as a scooter to make his way through the streets of San Francisco in a hilarious sight-gag.

However, Reed and the film’s writers made Lilly the muscle of the duo, and she has several outstanding action scenes that make it clear who the more skilled and capable hero is. Outfitted with wings and blasters, Hope is better equipped to be an Avenger than Scott.

While the film features ample super-heroics, they are in the service of family. In the original film, Scott shrunk so small that he entered the microscopic quantum realm where he made a connection to Hope’s mother Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), who we learn had been lost in the quantum realm 30 years ago while on a mission to stop a nuclear bomb.

Scott’s connection to her is what brings him back together with Hope and her dad Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) after an error in Scott’s judgment left them estranged and him under house arrest.

Putting that aside, the three hope to rescue Janet from the microscopic maze that has entrapped her for so many years.

Throwing a monkey wrench into the rescue mission is The Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), a woman injured in a quantum accident that leaves her phasing in and out of material being. She needs the same scarce resources to save herself as Hope, Pym, and Scott need to Janet.

Also in the mix is gangster Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins). He’s been playing middle man between Hope and Pym and their quantum material suppliers, and he and his goons want a bigger piece of the pie.

Goggins (“Justified” and “The Shield”) and Michael Pena’s Luis, who is a hilarious business partner of Scott’s, share two hilarious scenes that truly give the two gifted actors a platform for their skills. I’d pay to watch a movie where those two were featured as adversaries or even cantankerous partners.

The B plot features Scott under house arrest, and how that affects his relationship with his daughter Cassie, played by the precious Abbie Ryder Fortson. Cassie adores her dad and his super heroics, but he feels guilty that he’s not being the best father she can be.

The cast also includes Laurence Fishburne as Bill Foster, a character many comic-book fans will recognize; Judy Greer and Bobby Cannavale.

The film also answers the question why Ant-Man wasn’t involved in “Avengers: Infinity War,” and contains two scenes once the credits roll.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is lighter fare than the previous two Marvel films this year “Black Panther” and “Avengers: The Infinity War,” but it had a lot of heart and humor and was a nice change of pace. It would be tough for me to decide which I enjoyed more because they all had considerable merits of their own.

(PG-13) 1 hr. 58 min.
Grade: B+