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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Ant-Man and The Wasp

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4 Chicks Small Jacqueline Monahan

Jacqueline  Monahan

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Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for
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Ant-Man and The Wasp | Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale | Review

Ant-Man is back and he’s bigger than ever.  Much as I hate clichés, this is an accurate description of what occurs a great deal of the time in Marvel Studio’s latest offering, Ant-Man and The Wasp.  How big, you say? So big, they had to enlarge the screen.  So big, they could have called it (Gi)Ant-Man and The Wasp.  So big… well, you get the idea.

There’s also the sub-atomic, quantum realm Ant-Man that you met in the titular 2015 film, so tiny he could surf an electron or saddle up a tardigrade.  Wow.  That suit really IS a one-size-fits-all, isn’t it?

Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is completing two years of house arrest for violating the Sokovia Accords during his escapades with Captain America in 2016’s Winter Soldier.  With three days to go before his ankle monitor is removed, he is warned by FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) that any misstep could mean federal prison for 20 years.  He must not leave his house or have any contact with Ant-Man suit creator Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) or his daughter Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly).
 Lang is devoted to daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) who visits him regularly along with ex-wife (Judy Greer) and brother- in-law (Bobby Cannavale).   Life is good, if a little boring until one night when Lang channels Janet Van Dyne in a dream. Is she still alive?  Can she be retrieved?  To find out, Hope and Hank kidnap Lang to scan his brain for clues.  So much for the FBI’s rules.

Dr. Hank Pym is also devoted to his daughter, Hope, a partner in constructing a quantum tunnel to attempt to find wife/mother Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) who disappeared into the quantum sub-atomic field 30 years before.  Hank’s lab, housed within a huge office building, can be shrunk to the size of carry-on luggage. Hope inhabits the Wasp suit, capable of the same sort of physics-bending as Ant-Man’s, but with wings.

Meanwhile, wealthy tech villain Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) also has a stake in acquiring the quantum tunnel, as does Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) a sometimes out-of-focus figure who phase-shifts due to a Pym-connected molecular accident years before.  Finally, Pym’s rival and former friend, Dr. Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) joins the mix of those in mad pursuit of the tiny lab, key to an even tinier world.

Cue insect-based fight scenes and road pursuits in large SUVs and tiny, Hot Wheels-sized cars, a van, and a sight-seeing boat.  A salt shaker blocks an entire doorway, and a Pez dispenser disrupts traffic.  All of this takes place on the rising and falling streets of San Francisco.

Michael Douglas is back on those streets, and portrays Dr. Hank Pym with a wise and weary, seen-it-all conviction.  Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp is a confident tutor for Paul Rudd’s likeable, ever-bewildered Ant-Man.  

Humor dominates with the earnest foibles of Lang’s X-Con Security co-workers, Luis (Michael Peña) Kurt (David Dastmalchian) and Dave (rapper T.I.) Peña’s rapid-fire lip sync narration is back, so you’ll look forward to his flashback explanations. Randall Park is enjoyable as FBI Agent Woo, a part-time youth pastor who is Lang’s frustrated shadow.

Director Peyton Reed (Down with Love, Ant-Man) fills the two-hour run-time with imaginative visuals, including the silent, kaleidoscopic quantum realm and dizzying changes in perspective. He’s brought us here before and delights in showing us that size does indeed matter.

Stan Lee makes his usual appearance and one-liner, along with two mid and post-credit scenes that definitely point toward another sequel about “nuclear” families and their anomalies. The buzz about these insects is that they’ll definitely return.

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