Ant-Man and The Wasp (PG)
Starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas
Directed by Peyton Reed
Set after the events of Captain America: Civil War and before Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and The Wasp sees the adorkable Paul Rudd back as reformed burglar-turned-reluctant superhero Scott Lang, again using his size-altering powers to get out of precarious situations.
While the first Ant-Man is a heist flick, the briskly paced and effortlessly charming sequel is basically a rescue-mission movie as Lang re-teams with former associates Hank Pym (Michael Douglas, grumpy as usual) and Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly, finally suiting up as Scott’s partner-in-crime The Wasp) to track down Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) — she’s Hanks’ wife and Hope’s mum — lost in the Quantum Realm, a sub-atomic dimension which Scott survived in the 2015 original.
Getting in the gang’s way are the law (Randall Park as Scott’s bumbling FBI handler), a black-market tech dealer (hello, Walton Goggins), and Ghost (Killjoys’ Hannah John-Kamen), an assassin who can pass through things. To reveal more might ruin your fun, which Ant-Man and The Wasp has plenty to offer.
Much of it comes from the crackling comedic sparring among the ensemble (Michael Peña as Scott’s motormouth buddy Luis is a delight). The shrinking/enlarging special effects are a doozy too.
In one brilliantly rendered sequence, Ant-Man turns a truck into a skateboard while in another, The Wasp engages in a car chase in the busy streets of San Francisco that plays like a cross between Bullitt and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
All in all, it’s the much-needed levity after the gloom and doom of Infinity War (are you still reeling from that devastating ending?), the calm before the storm, before things get dark again in the yet-to-be-named Avengers 4. (***1/2)