Now on Blu-ray: Marvel’s Smallest Heroes Come Up Big in ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’

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Ant-Man and the Wasp Trailer

After making one of the biggest movies of all time with Avengers: Infinity War, a sprawling superhero epic that, while featuring plenty of humor, had a rather grim tone as the mad titan Thanos laid waste to half of existence with the snap of his fingers. It was only appropriate that Marvel Studios should follow up Infinity War with something on a bit of a smaller scale. That’s exactly what they did with Ant-Man and the Wasp, Peyton Reed’s sequel to his 2015 hit. Ant-Man and the Wasp is the perfect chaser after the bitter pill of Infinity War’s epic finale, bursting with stunning visuals of its size-changing heroes and overflowing with hilarious gags that make the film one of Marvel’s most entertaining.

After the events of Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is under house arrest. He cut a deal with the government and the provisions of the deal means he must wear and ankle bracelet and not participate in any superheroics. FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randal Park) constantly checks in on Scott to make sure he’s not breaking the deal. Scott is making plans for his life once free from house arrest, starting a security business with his friends Luis (Michael Peña), Dave (Tip “T.I.” Harris), and Kurt (David Dastmalchain). But things take a turn when Scott has a dream that puts him in the place of Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), the wife of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and mother of Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly). Janet was believed to be dead after transporting herself to the subatomic world known as the Quantum Realm. Though he’s not supposed to contact them, the dream inspires Scott to call Hank and Hope – something that kickstarts a wild ride for everyone involved.

Hank and Hope have little interest in reuniting with Scott, both feeling betrayed as he used their technology without informing them to engage in the Civil War battles. Scott’s mental link to Janet is why they’re forced to team with the superhero ex-con once again, as they’re building a machine to rescue Janet from the Quantum Realm. Hope and Hank have been getting their supplies for their path to Quantum Realm from Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), a black market arms dealer. However, Sonny wants Pym’s technology for sale and negates a deal that would finish Pym’s quantum machine. Hope, taking the mantle of her mother’s superhero persona The Wasp, is ready to take the merchandise from Sonny when a mysterious masked villain dubbed Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) enters the picture, complicating an already complicated process. Now Scott and Hope must work together as Ant-Man and the Wasp as Hank Pym finalizes his designs to save Janet Van Dyne from the Quantum Realm.

There’s such a loose, freewheelin’ feel to Ant-Man and the Wasp that’s almost impossible not to just let go and enjoy the ride. The jokes in Peyton Reed’s superhero flick are layered and many, cutting the tension when necessary or breaking up the monotony of scientific expository dialogue. With the exception of Thor: Ragnarok, Ant-Man and the Wasp may be Marvel’s funniest movie yet.

Just because Ant-Man and the Wasp has an emphasis on humor doesn’t mean that it fails to deliver on the action. This Marvel sequel is absolutely action-packed, with stunning set pieces big and small. This movie really sings when the action and humor are working in unison, such as the wildly absurd car chase towards the film’s climax that works as thrilling chase sequence that’s cut with a sense of humor that acknowledges the inherent absurdity of the film’s premise.

One thing that’s interesting about the film credited to screenwriters Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari, and Ant-Man himself Paul Rudd is the fact that the film really doesn’t have a villain. Sure, Ghost is an antagonists for our heroes to encounter, but the character’s motivations are rooted in self-preservation and not world domination. The closest thing to a villain in the film is Walton Goggins’ Sonny Burch, who wants weapons technology for enrichment. But it’s a choice that allows the film to focus more on its heroes and their fantastical abilities than the nefarious schemes of the forces of evil.

Because the events of Ant-Man and the Wasp take place before the epic events of Infinity War, the film isn’t bogged down with trying to fit everything into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). There are references, yes, to previous movies and other characters but they’re part of the past that define who these characters are today and not about putting pieces in place the next movie, something that hasn’t always worked well for the pop culture giant. Of course, there is the post-credits teaser and this one is a doozy, one that leaves the audience in stunned silence as it sets up the much-anticipated next installment in the Avengers.

The special features on the Blu-ray disc for Ant-Man and the Wasp includes [an audio commentary track with director Peyton Reed, who is a funny and enthusiastic filmmaker who is keenly aware about the complex history of these characters and the whole of Marvel’s expansive universe.] There are a couple deleted scenes with optional commentary with Reed, though neither of the deleted scenes include the cut scenes featuring Tom Scharpling. The making of the film and the history of these characters is explored in a number of featurettes. Finally, there is a gag reel and outtakes, including a couple of outtakes featuring Tim Heidecker’s whale watching captain. All in all, this is another impressive set from Marvel Studios that expands the film beyond its original running time.

Marvel Studios is going to continue to dominate the pop culture sphere and it’s not hard to see why. Their big movies are the biggest in the world. But they’re able to take the action down to a smaller scale, turning heroes who were often mocked into some of the most fun superheroes on the screen. Ant-Man and the Wasp is just too much fun to be ignored. It’s headlined by a great cast and a sharp director working at the top of their game, knowing that the premise of this particular hero is pretty silly but leaning into that silliness to deliver a wildly fun ride. Ant-Man and the Wasp may features heroes that are small, but when it comes to fun it’s bigger than most.

 

Ant-Man and the Wasp
  • Overall Score
4

Summary

A change of pace after Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp is one of the most fun Marvel movies to date, with a stellar cast, great action, and absolute hilarity.

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