Paul Rudd Evangeline Lilly Michael Pena Walton Goggins Bobby Cannavale Michael Douglas
Judy Greer Michelle Pfeiffer Laurence Fishburne Randall Park Hannah John-Kamen Abby Ryder FortsonPaul Rudd is one of my favorite actors, so I was already inclined to like this Marvel Comics film, and I wasn’t disappointed—especially when he as Scott Lang is playing a fantasy game at home with his daughter Cassie (Fortson). (He is on home arrest following his mistakes in Captain Marvel: Civil War). Right off the bat, though, we get a little surprise, which sets up the rest of the story nicely. Overall, it’s appealing in its parent-child exchanges, its pairing up emotional connections with scientific inquiry, its attention to the needs of different characters, its portrayal of characters who change across time and bridge the gap between them and their competitors, and its insertion of humor that fits in seamlessly with the action (a somewhat rare feature in action films). The humor stems from the well-developed characters and their predictable tendencies, rather than being tacked on by a jokemeister.
The film follows up on its two previous stories about Ant-Man, Ant-Man(2015) and Captain Marvel: Civil War(2016). In his plea deal with the FBI, Scott has agreed to be on house arrest with an ankle bracelet and have no contact with Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas), the designer of suits that can shrink/grow a person to tiny or huge personifications, or to Hank’s daughter, Hope (Lilly), who as Wasp collaborated in the previous adventures. Dr. Pym and Hope have suffered similar consequences. They only agree to collaborate with Hank at this point because he may have something essential they are seeking.
The intrigue in this story involves this skittish relationship between Scott and the Pyms; Scott and the FBI monitors led by Jimmy Woo (Park)—although, sadly, the FBI does not come off looking very good in this story; the bad guys who want to steal Hank Pym’s technology, led by Sonny Burch (Goggins); and Ava (John-Kamen), a “ghost” character who is also after the technology. Additionally, we see an old rivalry surface between Dr. Pym and his previous colleague, Dr. Bill Foster (Fishburne).
Part of the fun is listening to the scientist characters (the Pyms and Foster) reel off technical jargon that we can only imagine their meaning, such as “the quantum realm”, molecular disequilibrium”, and “wasteland beyond the quantum void.” These are probably defined in the Marvel fiction—and they may be currently accepted terminology—but this reviewer simply enjoyed the hints about their meaning, and Scott’s impatience in trying to understand them: “Do you really just put the word quantum ahead of everything?”
Outstanding to me in Peyton Reed’s production are the colorful, descriptive sets and special effects, the music (Christophe Beck), and the actors. Oh, the actors! Rudd, Douglas, and Fishburne perform at their usual fine level, and it’s refreshing to see less well-known actors deliver. The Wasp played by Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Manand Hobbitmovies) shows a range of emotions and good chemistry with Rudd. Walton Goggins is appropriately cunning and sly as a thief. Abby Ryder Fortson is delightful as Scott’s child Cassie. And stand outs are Hannah John-Kamen (Game of Thrones,Ready Player One) in her mysteriousness and physical abilities and Michael Pena as Scott’s hilarious current business partner and wannabe hero.
This fast-paced entertaining story should keep fans of Marvel superheroes happily engaged.