An Uneasy Reunion: Ant-Man and the Wasp
The fallout of the actions in Slovenia hit the Avengers and their allies hard, but none was hit harder than Scott Lang. In Ant-Man And The Wasp, Scott (Paul Rudd) lives under house arrest, and has to run his security company from his home. His business partner, Luis (Michael Pena), has consequently become the public face of the company. Even though his confinement includes lack of contact with Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), Scott leaves a voice mail for him about a vivid dream he had regarding Pym's wife, who disappeared years ago on a mission with her husband. That's enough to get the attention of Pym's daughter, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), who finds a way to cleverly cover for Scott. This dream may relate to the father and daughter's research on the quantum realm, where they have reason to believe that Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) still survives. Hank and Hope, though, face obstacles, including an attempt at a business merger by Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), who provides them with the material they need from sources that might not be legitimate. Hope rejects Burch's offer outright, then has to fight Burch's men to take what she has bought.
Father and daughter face another challenge to their work from Ava Starr (Hannah John-Kamen), who is also known as Ghost for her ability to move through objects. Ghost not only steals the part Hope obtained, but she also steals the family's portable lab. To retrieve the lab, Hank turns to former colleague Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne), who agrees to help. In exchange for the help, Hank reveals the work he and Hope have accomplished in the quantum realm. While Scott may not know the full extent of his dreams, he discovers that those dreams have relevance. Foster keeps his word and helps Hank and Hope retrieve their items. Hank has also fashioned a new Ant-Man suit for Scott, in spite of Scott claiming he lost his old one. However, Pym hasn't worked out all of the kinks, making all sorts of change a reality for Scott. When they learn that they have contacted Janet, they also learn that they must extract her quickly as the realm itself is about to change. Burch's men and Ghost, though, still pursue their objectives.
Ant-Man And The Wasp is one of the rare occasions in the Marvel Cinematic Universe where a sequel comes off better to me than the initial trilogy entry (the Thor sequels are also in this category). In Ant-Man And The Wasp, Scott must juggle a lot of responsibility without ever leaving his property. As his confinement nears its end, Lang gets drawn into a situation where he unknowingly holds a key to the answers many characters seek. Others have lesser intentions with the discoveries Hank and Hope expect to make. Hidden agendas add to the confusion the title characters. While Peyton Reed returns to the director's chair for this sequel, Rudd is the only one of the writers who returns for the second round. On the writing team for this installment is Chris McKenna, whose writing credits include Spider-Man: Homecoming. This movie shows Lang as less of a misfit as he grows in both his business and action hero relationships. The movie ultimately ties itself into the events that occurred in Avengers: Infinity War, and explains Ant-Man's absence from that confrontation with a little more detail.
Rudd and Lilly work well as a team, as well as on their own. All through this film, Scott has to stay one step ahead of FBI Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), who monitors Scott's every movement. Pym's prototype, though, doesn't help Scott be inconspicuous. He also has to help mend the relationship between himself and Hank and Hope, who didn't approve of Scott going to Sokovia in the first place. He also gets to show his comic skill as he channels Janet in one scene. Lilly shines as the no-nonsense Hope, who can back tough words with tough action. When she and transform into their diminuitive identities, they become a formidable duo. Pena offers the best support as Luis, the fast-talking associate of Scott who lends a hand in more ways than one. He has his best moment in a scene where Burch has a henchman inject Luis with a truth serum, which launches Luis into a fit of speed talking. Douglas is also fine as Pym, the demanding scientist who finds his demands have not always been for the best. Fishburne, Goggins, and John-Kamen also provide solid support in smaller roles. Stan Lee has an amusing cameo as a man who watches his car shrink by accident.
Ant-Man And The Wasp shows the duo dealing with adversity on two fronts. Each opponent poses a threat in their own way. Through this adventure, Scott Lang needs to make sure he remains one step ahead of the law intent on enforcing the terms of his house arrest. He also holds a key to one of Hank and Hope's most personal quests. Together, they have to deal with forces who look to disrupt their plans. Ant-Man And The Wasp has a fun and conflict-filled story that is an improvement over its predecessor. When they work together, they are the big insects of that world.
On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Ant-Man And The Wasp 3.5 stars. Let's get small again.