Ant-Man and the Wasp
Comedy, great special effects and two dynamic female performances safes this film from its own weaknesses.
As noted above, what makes Ant-Man and the Wasp work from the standpoint of entertainment is its combination of comedy and two enjoyable performances by female leads. Paul Rudd, here again starring as Ant-Man, succeeds as one of the script writers, filtering out the admittedly stylistic vulgarity of the R rated Deadpool with this PG-13 film.
Unfortunately, as funny as the film is at times, Rudd and Michael Peña, one of the co-stars, frequently resemble comedians trying to out-do each other on a movie version of a Saturday Night Live episode. But don’t get me wrong, as the audience is frequently laughing uproariously at some of the characters’ hijinks.
The movie has a simplistic plot where Rudd’s Ant-Man and the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) join forces with inventor Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) as they try to rescue Pym’s wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) from a subatomic realm. Though she disappeared years earlier, Pym begins to suspect she is still alive for reasons that become as unclear as they are unimportant.
What gives this film some strength is that our heroes are opposed by a character known as Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) and her ally played by Laurence Fishburne. The Ghost needs to steal Pym’s invention being used to find his wife in order to hopefully cure an affliction that threatens to kill her. This internal struggle gives the film some momentum that it very much needed.
Paul Rudd plays the loveable version of Paul Rudd that we have seen in many other films. Here he is serving time on house arrest following his unauthorized participation with the Avengers overseas, and he lives a very dull life saved only by the loving attention provided by his young daughter.
Though he has a small role, Laurence Fishburne has never lost the emotional impact he created with the character Morpheus in the Matrix trilogy beginning in 1999. However, it is the women in this movie who hold this film together.
To begin with, Ms. John-Kamen gives a brilliant performance as a young woman who morphs into a villain to try and save her own life. While you hate what she is doing you simultaneously suppress hope that she somehow succeeds.
However, this movie wouldn’t have any chance of success without the performance of Ms. Lilly. She was memorable in the TV series Lost and her role as Tauriel in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) is legendary. Combined with her beauty, she has an emotional power seen in few performers, male or female.
Whether you are motivated to see this film or not, the closing credits contained a trailer that strongly suggests another film is in the works. Keeping that in mind, I wonder if they will appear to assist the Avengers in the alleged last film in that series coming out next year?