Coming off the worthy emotional onslaught that was Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel fans needed a little pop in their popcorn, and Antman and the Wasp delivered with plenty of giant and very small moments.
After taking his suit out without permission and joining the events of Captain America: Civil War, Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang finds himself estranged from Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and the government, with the later holding him under house arrest for violating the Sokovia Accords. Hank and Hope remain wanted and at large.
The intertwining plots keep each other fueled. As the FBI keeps an eye on Scott and an eye out for Pym and Van Dyne, a “ghost” appears who appears, and disappears, with ease. After Scott dreams of Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) who remains lost in the Quantum Realm Hank realizes that Janet may still be alive, and Scott may be the key getting her back. The film does an impressive job of balancing Rudd’s bumbling charm and criminal instincts with Evangeline Lilly’s smart but ass-kick capable Wasp.
It turns out Ghost (Kill Joys’ Hannah John-Kamen) fell victim to a S.H.I.E.L.D. experiment gone wrong and finds herself tied to the Quantum Realm in a way that tears her apart and puts her back together constantly. An existence that causes her great personal pain. She was previously exploited by S.H.I.E.L.D. and isn’t a fan of Pym. As events converge, Ghost finds herself at the end of her quantum string. The discovery of Hank’s plan to bring back Janet creates an opportunity for Ghost to stabilize her physical body.
As expected, there are plenty of car chases with unique features given Antman and Wasp can shrink and grow at will, as can their technological toys. The chases down San Francisco’s hills and a certain improvised scooter keep the audience in quantum stitches (yes, I just put quantum in front over everything). And, yes, plenty of fight scenes, with Ghost offering up some Dr. Strange-like quantum wizardry. And of course, Marvel brings big visuals, and I do mean big, from juxtapositions of civilization expanding into a redwood forest to instant office buildings on San Francisco’s waterfront. Quantum Realm literarily oozes with trippiness drawn from San Francisco’s own altered state of consciousness past.
And yes, plenty of humorous and heartfelt moments too. Michael Pena’s Luis riffs in a take-off on his fast-talking Antman monologs. I will argue that Scott and ex-Wife Maggie’s (Judy Geer) daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Forsten) holds the movie together with her own form of superhero support for her father even more than does Hope’s drive to reunite with her mother.
There is a lot going on in this movie, and some of the minor characters get short shrift, but Marvel fans have come to expect dense, interwoven plots that drive action. Had the story taken place a few days later, this would have been a completely different film with Scott no longer worrying about his house arrest, as well…let me just say, it would have been a very different film.