“Ant-Man and the Wasp,” directed by Peyton Reed, breeds scientific jargon with buddy cop humor to make a movie that anybody can and should enjoy.
Acting as both a sequel to 2015’s “Ant-Man” and this year’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” the action centers, or sometimes a charming lack thereof, on Scott Lang, an ex-con who after crossing paths with brilliant scientist Hank Pym becomes the size-changing superhero Ant-Man. Lang, played by Paul Rudd, is on house arrest for violating international accords outlawing superhero activity. Against his will, he’s thrown back into the action by Dr. Pym’s daughter, Hope Van Dyne, who is also known as the Wasp. Lang has been getting visions from another universe and these visions turn out to be through the eyes of Van Dyne’s lost mother, Janet.
The movie’s biggest assets are the visual effects. The different superpowers exhibited in the film all involve measure of visual effects, be it Ant-Man’s size-shifting or the film’s villain, Ghost’s intangibility. While the battlefield and combatants are constantly shifting, the visual effects team makes sure that the audience never has whiplash from the moves from big to small and vice versa. The fight choreography is directed to great success in conjunction with these stunning visual feats to make a truly beautiful film to watch.
One of the film’s drawbacks is its dependence on the concept of “worldbuilding.” In fiction, worldbuilding is the development of the features unique to a particular setting. In “Ant-Man and the Wasp”’s case, this involves both the use of scientific jargon and the introduction of ancillary characters to the plot. It seems like every minute a new character is being introduced only for the audience to be told that they are dead. These characters are utilized only for backstory but are not given any real reason to be connected to the other characters. The scientific jargon, sometimes referred to in popular culture as “technobabble,” is sometimes hard to follow, but the movie does a good job of relating that experience in the form of Scott Lang’s ever-present response of, “That’s what I was thinking,” to an outpour of incomprehensible planning.
The humor is taken right out of old buddy cop movies of the 80s and 90s and to great effect. Marvel Studios, after over 20 essentially sequential films, has perfected a formula to avoid so-called “movie fatigue.” The production alternates very serious movies with very humorous movies much like “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” The interplay of characters is fantastic and the script, written by Chris McKenna, should be lauded as a true success of film humor interwoven with serious situations. One scene has Ant-Man and friends tied up in the villain’s lair and the villain monologuing in classic movie fashion. They are interrupted by the annoying ring-tone of Scott Lang’s phone, which the villain and Lang begin to have a humorous exchange about, right in the middle of a dungeon-like vacation lodge.
“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is a movie anyone should see if they just want to have a good time at the theatre. It earns an 80 percent rating.