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‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’ (review by Sharon Knolle)

Produced by Kevin Feige, Stephen Broussard
Written by Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers,
Paul Rudd & Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari

Directed by Peyton Reed
Starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly,
Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale,
Judy Greer, Tip “T.I.” Harris, David Dastmalchian,
Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder-Fortson,
Randall Park, with Michelle Pfeiffer, with
Laurence Fishburne, and Michael Douglas

 

While Ant-Man was a lot of fun, the sequel benefits from even more goofiness, better villains, and the badassery of Evangeline Lilly, who finally gets to don the Wasp suit.

With the ability to shrink or super-size both humans and objects at will, the film plays with scale in an even more entertaining way than the first film.

Turns out jetting out of the country to help Cap and crew in Captain America: Civil War got Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) in a lot of trouble. As the film begins, his two years of house arrest are almost up. Of course, that’s just when his ex Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and her dad Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) — who have been on the lam for the last two years — show up, needing his help. They think they might be able to reach Hope’s mom (Michelle Pfeiffer), who they believe is still alive, somewhere in the Quantum Realm.

To build their top-secret, portable lab, Hope has been dealing with an unsavory dealer (Walton Goggins), who, like an even more clueless Mike Hammer in Kiss Me Deadly, thinks he’s stumbled onto something big and wants a piece of the action.

Besides not getting caught by the authorities, Hope, Hank, and Scott have also got to contend with the figure known only as Ghost, who can literally walk through walls.

Yes, some big things are at stake in this film, and Ghost has a dramatic Winter Soldier-esque storyline. But the big mood here is just to have fun. There are spectacular fights, a San Francisco car chase that you wouldn’t be surprised to see Dirty Harry or Herbie the Love Bug show up in, and sight gags galore.

The sheer silliness of giant (or, rather, dog-sized) ants recalls the sci-fi epics of the ’50s and ’60s, as does the journey into subatomic space. If you missed the first film because you’re not a Marvel fan, but you dig The Fantastic Voyage, this might just push a lot of your retro sci-fi buttons.

Michael Peña does not disappoint as Scott’s gung-ho BFF, nor does Randall Park as the agent trying desperately to prove Scott’s blown his house arrest.

It’s a nearly perfect summer movie and two hours of pure escapism. And who the hell can’t use that right about now?

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

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