Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018) is a top to bottom popcorn movie. It’s quick, light, and engaging entertainment. Everything a good Summer movie should be. The plot, at its core, is a love story. Hank Pym, the original Ant Man has developed a way of locating his missing wife, Janet Van Dyne, The original Wasp, who has been lost in some subatomic universe. All of which was discussed in the first Ant-Man movie and retold in the first ten minutes of this movie. With the help of his daughter, Hope, Hank has constructed a device which will allow him to shrink down and (hopefully) reunite him with his stranded wife. Pretty straightforward. Things get complicated when a mysterious figure appears and steals (literally) Pym’s lab and his means to rescue Janet. Dubbed “Ghost”, the new villain makes off with her pilfered goods for an as yet to be understood reason. Ghost exhibits the ability to “phase” in and out of being solid. This makes fighting her extremely difficult. Hank and Hope enlist Scott Lang, the current Ant-Man, to aid in tracking Ghost down and retrieving the lab.
Due to his involvement in Civil War, and having sided with Captain America, Scott is on house arrest. Ankle monitor and near-constant harassment from the Law, he does what he can to entertain his young daughter. Helping Pym places him in a precarious balancing act of smoke and mirrors with the Feds while tracking Ghost and ultimately confronting her. He’s motivated by his growing attraction to Hope and an even deeper urge to continuing to be a hero in his daughter’s eyes.
We learn that Ghost is actually named Ava and her powers are slowly killing her. She is aided by Bill Foster, a former partner on Pym’s old research team. Ava’s father also worked with Pym. Foster claims to have quit. Ava’s father was fired. Her father continued his own research but disreguarded safeguards and died in an explosion of dimensional energies. Ava survived but was rendered in a state of quantum flux. Her body’s molecules constantly pull apart and reform. She says she is in constant pain. Yeah, I would be too. Foster, then working with SHIELD, seeks to help her but the agency had other plans. They train her and she becomes a spy and assassin. Following SHIELD’s collapse, the two disappeared into the underworld.
To complicate things there’s a Black Market Dealer who tries to stiff Hank and Hope and keep a valuable component for resale to a higher bidder. This adds a caper twist to the movie. Big fights, car chases, more fights. Lots of really cool visual gags involving size-changing. And a return of giant Ant-Man. Ultimately Janet is rescued, Ava is seemingly cured of her condition, and Scott and Hope reconnect as a couple. This ain’t Shakespeare, kids. It’s one part chick flick cute, one part wham-bang-pow superhero flick, and one part character study, although I would agree the study part is spotty and a tad lacking. Hope comes off as an extension of her code-name; she pissy, bossy, and a bit of a bitch at times. (A wasp is an angry insect. Yes, I know being angry doesn’t qualify you as being a bitch but she does get pretty sour in the puss when I felt it was unnecessary.) Scott Lang continued being the “Aww, shucks!” guy and Hank Pym, the grumpy old curmudgeon. I’d give this move a B+. Brainless Summer fun.
I’d like to add how I really enjoyed the lack of tech-talk. I like either having to figure out the logic of the quasi-physics or being able to draw from my own personal geek tank of useless trivia. The movie doesn’t constantly hit you over the head with explanations of what it does or why this thing is the way it is. It just moves along and lets the story flow. I grew up a comic book fanatic so a lot of the references make me smile. When Bill Foster mentions Project Goliath, I snorted so loud I think i woke the homeless guy sleeping in the back row. (God bless Second Run theaters.) Bill Foster, in the funny books, was Black Goliath. He started off as the third Giant Man and then forged his own identity complete with a very short run book of his own. (Clint Barton, Hawkeye, was the second to don the Giant man persona.) When the Microverse was first introduced in Ant-Man, I started wondering if they were going to do a Micronauts movie at some point. You could argue it would just be Guardians but small-scale. Hey, I think Disney has opened a door and should explore it for what it’s worth. The Cineverse has rewritten comic lore. Why stop now? Janet is found in an alternate universe. Maybe we can go back. Given the way the movie ends with Ant-Man being trapped in the sub-atomic maybe there is a chance that will be the springboard?