Saturday, July 07, 2018

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Might have to see this one again, both because it's good and because, when I wasn't given a pair of glasses when my ticket was ripped, I picked one out of the bin beside the theater, and though they felt like the Imax glasses, they must have been RealD or something (why they were in that bin, I've got no idea), so the 3D just wasn't working for me in the first few scenes. Kudos to the manager at Assembly Row who figured out what was going on when I was probably being kind of a jackass who didn't even thank him properly afterward. It looked like the 3D was getting some of its best workout in those opening scenes, so I really should see it that way again, especially since I'll likely buy the 4K disc rather than the 3D one this fall.

It's a fun movie overall, though, and one of the easiest Marvels to recommend to folks with even younger kids, though I might advise my brothers to get their girls who haven't seen Infinity War out before the mid-credits scene that catches up with it. It can play as a fun cliffhanger, but I suspect it's gotta be a bit of a punch in the gut if this is your first and this kind of undercuts the feeling of victory.

Ant-Man and the Wasp

* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 5 July 2018 in AMC Assembly Row #1 (first-run, Imax 3D)

Ant-Man and the Wasp is delightfully uncomplicated, as superhero movies go - its characters have missions to do what they see needs to be done, and the thing that drives them forward is by and large desperation and a ticking clock rather than malice. It brings in some basic villains to push things forward a little, but the filmmakers are by and large clever enough to recognize that those guys aren't really important. It's the cheerful opposite of conventional blockbuster wisdom, finding whimsy in small stakes rather than trying to be serious enough to match its apocalyptic possibilities.

It does start with the sort of big action these things usually end on, fleshing out the previous Ant-movie's flashback about the last mission of original Ant-Man Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and wife Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), the winsome Wasp - the one from which she never returned, having had to shrink down to quantum scale to short out a missile's guidance computer. She's still alive, though, able to send a telepathic message to Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), who had previously done the same but come back. Problem #1: Lang is under house arrest for his previous actions as an unlicensed super-hero, and forbidden from contacting Hank and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly). Problem #2 is The Ghost (Hanna John-Kamen), an assassin who can walk through walls and is also looking for the tech Hank needs to get retrieve Janet - which brings them to Problem #3, Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), a black-market dealer who doesn't want to sell unless he can get a piece of whatever Hank is building.

There are five credited writers on this sequel, and whichever one came up with the idea of twist the heist formula so that Lang and his teams are trying to break into various items to steal a building (Hank's miniaturized lab) rather than the other way around deserves some sort of bonus. It's the sort of playful inversion that brings a smile to the audience's face every time they play with it - Hope not only has a miniaturized getaway car for every situation, but stores them in a Hot Wheels carrying case, while the inside of Hank's lab feels like a giant circuitry set with man-sized ants doing the work - challenging the audience to figure out just how a scene can play out and not needing an excuse for why the characters do it like this beyond someone thinking it would be fun.

Full review on EFC

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