Saturday, July 7, 2018

Ant-Man and the Wasp review

This is the first time in film history that a mid-credits scene has ruined a movie. I'm talking about the mid-credits scene in Ant-Man and the Wasp. The question is whether the scene fatally kills the film.

Ant-Man and the Wasp takes place after the events of the first movie, Ant-Man (2015) and Avengers: The Age of Ultron (2015) or was that Captain America: Civil War (2016)?.In the first, Ant-Man, Dr. Hank Pym's (Michael Douglas) wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) has disappeared into the quantum realm, which is what happens when you go subatomic in one of Pym's shrinkage suits. Pym's daughter, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Pym find a way to rescue her. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) was placed on house arrest for the events in those two movies that are not Ant-Man. His involvement in Civil Wars, has led to an estrangement between Scott and Hope who had a budding romance. So, he spends his days playing with his delightful daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson).

Okay, still with me? The Pyms have perfected their technology to shrink and enlarge objects at will. So, their lab which is an office building can be shrink to the size of a hat box. Well, inside the lab is the machine that can send a rescue mission. Since Scott has a psychic or quantum connection to Janet because he went into the quantum realm, the Pyms "recruit" him again for help. However, it's the lab which is the MacGuffin in this plot. Two other people want it. The greedy Burch (Walter Goggins). Goggins better watch his career or else hes going to be playing bad guys for the rest of his life. The other is the mysterious Ghost. (Hannah John-Kamen)

The cast does excellent work sincerely spitting out the technobabble along with very funny lines. It's not all comedy. Douglas, Lilly and Ruddd sell the emotions of loss so well that it's hard to keep a dry eye. I like the chemistry of Rudd-Lilly. Rudd is perfectly cast as the everyman Scott. Michael Pena as Scott's ex-con buddy Luis returns and  nearly steals the show with his clumsy charm.

The first Ant-Man had great writing. And this film also has great writing even though it was written by an army of writers. Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, and Gabriel Ferrari produce a hilarious and heartfelt script. The first movie made Luis irrelevant story telling a funny gag. The writers bring that bit back in an inventive way. I laughed hard as Michael Pena delivers the gag. Not all is laughter and tears. While I wish the writers could explain all the quantum entanglement stuff, it is interesting if not accurate. Plus, the resolution of the plot thread regarding one character was lazy. Still, the screenplay had a cool mix of the comic book Ant-Man and the movie, The Incredible Shrinking Man. (1957)

Peyton Reed who directed the first Ant-Man returns and  again  delivers  a virtuoso performance. He uses his chops directing comedies such as Down With Love (2003) to stage the jokes and timing. He also has an outstanding ability to stage gigantic action set pieces. His shots all make sense, letting visuals tell the story and relay the excitement rather than using camera and editing gymnastics. Kudos to the special effects for making Hot Wheels turn into hot cars. Seeing a a Pez Dispenser turn huge  was cool.

When I saw this film, there were children in the audience. We all laughed and were loving the movie. A bunch of them left as soon as the movie ended with the beginning of the end credits. If you are a Marvel movie fan, you know many ties there are mid-credit and end credit scenes. This one had two. Don't worry. I won't give it away with any details. But the mid-credits scene killed the joy out of those who stayed. First, you would have to seen this year's Avengers; Infinity War to understand it. Second, it turned a joyful, complete film into a teaser  for the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, Part Two. I feel like wringing the neck of Mickey Mouse. Disney, Marvel, your greed is not good. Apologies to  Michael Douglas.

I loved Ant-Man and The Wasp.  .  It was hilarious , exciting and emotional.  It is also a family movie.  The mid-credits scene was a big mistake  but does not take away from fun you will have seeing this film.  Just leave as soon as the credits roll.   The grade is A Minus.

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