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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Ant-Man and the Wasp 2018 * * * Stars

Ant-Man and the WaspDirector: Peyton Reed
Year: 2018
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas

Yup, there's a connection between Ant-Man and the Wasp and Avengers: Infinity War. All you gotta do is check out the short clip after the closing credits come up. Marvel Comics, you just couldn't resist could you.

Anyway, Ant-Man and the Wasp is overly plotted compared to first Ant-Man installment. Added to that, "Wasp" doesn't take itself as seriously, it's not a blueprint vehicle, and there's a little less at stake (Paul Rudd's Scott Lang isn't saving the world this time when he puts on that dwindling suit). Oh well. "Wasp" with its nod to the quantum realm gods, is a lot of fun and it turns your everyday superhero movie on its collective head. 2015's Ant-Man came off as an action comedy. Ant-Man and the Wasp is compulsory comedy with some jaunty action on the side.

Before production commenced on "Wasp", director Peyton Reed managed to get every single cast member from the first Ant-Man to sign on. This time around, their personas are fleshed out even more as a result. Examples would be Michael Pena's kooky, ex-con named Luis, Scott Lang's twinkling, cutesy daughter (Cassie played by Abby Ryder Fortson), and of course Evangeline Lilly as the butt-kicking companion dubbed Wasp.

Image result for ant man and the wasp movie scenes"Wasp", while totally worth the price of admission, sometimes revels too much in sci-fi mumbo jumbo, backstory convolution, and serpentine gadgetry. However, Peyton Reed still keeps things light and breezy with his whip pans, his techie-staged fistfights, and his collective wink wink to the audience.

Reed, who I'll always think of as the antithetical Joss Whedon and the dude that filmed 2006's The Break Up, stylizes "Wasp" as a fast-paced and whiz-bang affair. Heck, he even throws in a science lab as a diminished suitcase and a long-winded car chase via the streets of San Francisco (eat your darn heart out Steve McQueen).

Image result for ant man and the wasp movie scenesWith "Wasp", Peyton relies less on extravagance and morbid destruction and more on cartoonish hyperbole. He's quickly trying to distract you from his unexplained expansion of the Ant-Man universe (the shrinking technology of humans and objects needs backtracking and gets complicated here). His Ant-Man and the Wasp is a hot mess, with goofy humored quips at the end of each scene and a spine-tingling villain named Ghost (naturally). The original Ant-Man while less funny, is leaner and meaner with more grounded storytelling. Bottom line: I liked both flicks equally but I can't explain why. Rating: 3 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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