|Worth seeing:||as a superhero spectacular aimed more at genre fans than the mainstream comedy appeal of its predecessor with a lead who seems more like a supporting character in his own film|
|Featuring:||Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Paul Rudd, Abby Ryder Fortson, Bobby Cannavale, David Dastmalchian, Divian Ladwa, Hannah John-Kamen, Judy Greer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, Michelle Pfeiffer, Randall Park, Stan Lee, Tip TI Harris, Walton Goggins|
|Released:||2nd August 2018|
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) is the kind of crazy scientist we see only in the comics. He’s best known for the technology he’s developed to shrink things – buildings, cars and even people.
Many years ago, on a mission to save the world, his wife Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) had to shrink herself so small that she became trapped in the quantum field, but he finally thinks he’s worked out how to get her back.
Their daughter Hope (Evangeline Lily) has been doing some dodgy deals with an underworld gang boss Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) to get the parts they need to build the machine that could help them rescue Janet, but when Burch finds out what they’re up to, he starts playing dirty.
Their efforts are also hampered by the daughter of one of Hank’s disgruntled associates, whose body has been decaying ever since the explosion that killed her father. Ava (Hannah John-Kamen) – whose Ghost suit keeps her alive – has teamed up with another disgruntled former associate of Hank’s, Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne), to try to use the machine he’s building to save her own life.
Oh – and there’s an Ant-Man; but Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) isn’t much use to anyone at first, as he’s under house arrest for an offence you won’t know about unless you’ve seen Captain America: Civil War.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
While its predecessor, Ant-Man, played more like a comedy whose main character happened to acquire super-hero powers, this film is more of an all-out hero film with a handful of laughs.
It feels a little like a sell-out to the comic-book genre – references to other films in Marvel’s “Cinematic Universe” that you might not have seen, verbose exposition to try to let us know the science behind what happened to one character or what they want to do for another and it’s an out-and-out special-effects extravaganza rather than a Paul Rudd buddy-comedy.
There’s no saving the world or even saving innocent by-standers or strangers – it’s a film about trying to save one character we don’t know while another we’ve never met before is trying to use the same machine to her own end.
But the Ant-Man of the title almost feels like a supporting character in his own film – for reasons I won’t go into, he’s under house-arrest for much of the film, so there are entertaining interludes where he’s playing with his daughter or trying to run his business, without leaving home – and he does, of course, pop on his suit and help out from time to time – but Ant-Man and the Wasp isn’t about Ant-Man – it should be called The Wasp and The Ghost.
Invariably, there’s an all-important scene during the closing credits that links this film to others in the Marvel collection which will leave fans salivating for the next one and those who prefer standalone films wondering what on earth is going on and whether they’ll ever be able to see another superhero film without having caught up on the entirety of the Marvel back-catalogue first.
It would be churlish to suggest that it’s not entertaining – it has its moments, and many of them.
And there is, of course, an audience for this, but clearly targeting genre fans, it lacks the mainstream appeal to reach the same broader audience as its predecessor.