If I were to ask you, what movie is Ant-Man and The Wasp a sequel to, you would likely respond with Ant-Man. And you would be incorrect. If you were someone, perhaps a Paul Rudd fan, that had only seen Ant-Man and were wanting to watch Ant-Man and The Wasp, you would be really confused. Ant-Man and The Wasp is not so much a sequel to Ant-Man as it is a sequel to Captain America: Civil War. With where Ant-Man left off, there is no way you could come into this movie and not be confused by where this movie starts. Yes, they do try to give you some details, but those might even be more confusing if you had not seen Civil War. Scott Lang is under house arrest for helping Captain America? But, Captain America is a good guy.
This review is not the place to cover the pros and cons to a shared universe, so I am going to move on. Ant-Man ended with Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) saving the day and seemingly Hank Pym’s (Michael Douglas) business, being on good terms with his daughter, ex-wife, and her boyfriend, and also possibly a budding relationship with Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly). This movie starts with Scott under house arrest, still having a good relationship with his family, Hank and Hope on the run and not communicating with Scott. The missing piece is Captain America: Civil War. In a nutshell, there’s a superhero registration act, Iron Man is with the government, Captain America turns traitor, Ant-Man joins up with Captain America, and at some point takes a plea deal so he can be near his family. We also find out that Hank and Hope are being hunted by the FBI because Ant-Man used Pym technology to break the law. Not entirely certain why or how that gets them wanted, as an inventor is not responsible for their inventions being used illegally.
The main plot of this movie is that Hank and Hope believe that they can safely travel to the Quantum Void and retrieve Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfiefer), the original Wasp, Hank’s wife, and Hope’s mother. Every plot point is propelled forward by this goal, and it’s a fine goal to have. We come in seeing the very tail end of the work that was being done on this. A lot of work apparently being done in the past two years. And somehow, Hank and Hope have a lot of money to spend on black market tech. Not sure how they’re getting money for all of this tech while being on the run. They just are. And here we meet one of the antagonists of the movie, Sonny Burch (Walter Goggins).
Burch is the black market tech dealer that Hank and Hope have been making deals with the past several years. Just when the last piece is being delivered, Burch discovers who they really are, what they are possibly making, and the financial possibilities of it. It is one of those awfully coincidental timing situations, but I am going to just believe that he could have known longer and was just waiting for the right moment. You may also notice that I called Burch an antagonist, and not a villain. That is because he is not really a villain in this movie. However, neither really is Ghost.
Ghost, or Ava (Hannah John-Kamen), is the person that you probably expect to be the villain of the movie based on the previews. However, I cannot honestly call her a villain. It is not just because she is a very sympathetic villain. It is because she just never really does anything really villainous. She has her own motivations for wanting the Pym laboratory, all of which is illegal anyways. She really could only be seen as the villain because she is going up against the title characters. If Burch had stolen the lab, and Ghost was going after him to get it instead of the heroes, then she would probably be seen as one of the good guys. I will have a spoiler section below going more in depth into something that may have seemed villainous, but was not really.
Overall though, for the character being presented, Ghost was a good addition. Burch, not so much. Whereas Ghost has motivations and actions that build her character, Burch seems there just because they needed to have quick transitions to action sequences or to get the story to move on to the next plot point. There really is not much to discuss about him. Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) does add a bit of backstory to Hank. It is not a lot, though, and the fact that Hank can be difficult to work with is something that has been established before.
All of the returning characters are pretty much exactly as they were before. You get more of Hank and Hope working together, rather than with Scott. You had another sequence of Luis going to through his rapid, overly-detailed summaries. And Scott was pretty much Scott. Not saying any of it was bad, just that this was not really a movie for character development. Everyone, with the exception of Ghost, maybe, ends the movie as the same person they started the movie.
The action sequences were really well done. The use of the size-changing abilities was implemented quite well, especially when The Wasp was taking on Burch’s men. During the car chase scenes, this becomes much more outlandish and nonsensical. Quick shrinks to avoid other cars? Fine. Shrinking down and being able to maintain speed? That’s a bit more outlandish. A car would have to increase it’s speed by the same ratio that it shrank to cover the same distance in the same amount of time as when it was full size. So, if you shrink down the size of a 1:24 toy car, the world seems 24 times bigger than before. What was once one mile, would now seem like twenty-four miles. So, if you’re travelling 30 MPH at full size, you would need to go 720 MPH to maintain distance from the pursuing vehicle. But I’m getting too deep. The moments were still fun, just do not think too much about it.
That is really my overall thought for the movie. Coming out of the theater, I really liked what I saw. As I write out this review, I’m starting to notice the things that do not quite make sense. If you liked Ant-Man, I see no reason why you would not like Ant-Man and The Wasp. Below, are some spoilers for the movie.
I do not remember how long Infinity War is set after Civil War, but we know this movie is set more than two years after Civil War. We know this for certain, because Scott Lang took a plea deal so that he could be with his family. We’re told that in Infinity War. Here, we find out that that deal was to be placed on house arrest for 2 years. Those 2 years end at the end of this movie. So, why is Ant-Man missing from Infinity War then? Infinity War seems to take place within a span of a couple days. Scott is released from house arrest immediately following the climax of this movie. There is then some wrap-up scenes that make it seem like days are passing. Scott goes sees his daughter, Hank and Janet put up their house on a beach, and then we come to the mid-credits scene.
Hank has shrunk down the quantum tunnel that was used to retrieve Janet so that it fits in the back of the van. Scott is sent into the quantum void to retrieve a sample. While in there, he loses communication with Hank, Hope, and Janet. We go back out to where they were and find the dust floating away. So, unless all of that happens in a span of one evening, the cannon excuse that was created to explain why Ant-Man was not in Infinity War does not work. Sure, you could probably argue that maybe the Avengers did not know when the house arrest ended, but that is some shaky ground to stand on.
Also, it was a little too convenient that Janet just happened to come out of the Quantum Realm with the ability to fix Ghost. You see, as maybe the only villainous thing Ghost did, she was going to siphon quantum energy off of Janet in the Quantum Realm, and it would stabilize her phasing. Hank feared it would tear Janet apart, but no one really knew what would happen. Janet pops out of the realm, puts her hands on Ghost, and before you can say deus ex machina, Ghost is fine.