Directed By: Peyton Reed
Release Date: July 6, 2018
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas
Life hasn't been easy for Ant-Man. Since we last saw Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) back in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, which saw the heroic ex-con gleefully heading to Germany to help Cap, he's been under house arrest, having had to give up his superhero identity as part of the Sokovia Accords. But when we catch up with him in Ant-Man and the Wasp, he's finally on the home stretch of his two year sentence, mere days away from having the ankle bracelet that has kept him locked up at home removed.
Unfortunately for him, he's called back into action after having an alarming, unexpected dream about his time in the Quantum Realm back in Ant-Man, an event that puts him back into the lives of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), both of whom have been working on a way to get into the Quantum Realm to rescue Hank's long-lost wife, Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), and have cut ties with Scott over his having taken the Ant-Man suit to Germany without their permission. As the trio work to solve the mystery of Scott's dream – which may or may not have something to do with Janet – and prep a journey into the Quantum Realm, though, a pair of new threats pop up in their lives: Sleazy criminal Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) and the mysterious Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), two people who want Hank's tech for their own reasons and whose interference in the group's plans may lead to Janet being lost forever.
To put it mildly, Ant-Man and the Wasp has very small scale ambitions. Back in 2015, the lighthearted heist movie that was Ant-Man was a refreshing tonal cleanse for the Marvel Cinematic Universe following the more sobering Avengers: Age of Ultron, and so, too, does its sequel serve a similar purpose. Just over two months ago, Avengers: Infinity War embedded itself in pop culture with an ending that reshaped the MCU and left audiences' heads spinning the world over with an incredibly depressing ending that saw Josh Brolin’s Thanos successfully wiping out half of the universe's population, numerous heroes included. As such, the Ant-Man sequel, in all its unapologetically fun glory, arrives at just the right time, easy to dismiss on the surface as inconsequential for not picking up where that film left off or carrying the same kind of stakes but vitally important once you break it down, both for reminding us that this franchise is still meant to be fun and for introducing crucial elements that will come into play in 2019's Avengers 4.
In doing so, the Ant-Man sequel wisely sidesteps addressing how the world was affected by Infinity War – something we'll have to wait until next year to see – by turning the clock back a few days before the events of that film, explaining why Scott, Hope, and all the rest were absent from the big, universe-changing event without losing its focus on telling a great story first and foremost, one that uses its smaller scale to weave a tale where family matters most, whether it's Hank and Hope's desperate drive to find Janet or Scott's daughter Cassie's pride that her dad is Ant-Man.
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