Friday, 3 August 2018

Ant-Man And The Wasp

The football World Cup is a pain in the hole. 4 weeks of nonstop coverage of one of the most mindnumbingly boring sports on the planet. 22 seriously overpaid wimps running around a field and tripping over blades of grass while holding their faces and screaming blue murder in the hope of getting another person thrown off the field for it. I hate it. Also for some bizarre reason, movie studios don't tend to release good films during the period either, wrongly assuming everyone on earth will be too busy watching the telly. Ant Man And The Wasp is getting a belated release on this side of the pond for this very reason. Grrrr. 

It's two years after the events of Captain America : Civil War and Scott Lang is finally coming near the end of his house arrest. He just wants to get it over with so he can go back to his security company (X-Con, brilliant name) ran by his prison buddy Luis and get back to living his life fully with his daughter Cassie. A strange dream scuppers his chance at an easy finish to his sentence though and soon enough he's back working with Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne and avoiding shady business men and a strange new ghostly being intent on disrupting their work.

A few issues aside I thought this was great fun. It feels like pure candyfloss after the world altering events of Black Panther and Avengers : Infinity war but it's a change of pace that was very welcome indeed. Not every superhero movie has to be epic and stuffed with city thrashing mass murdering chaos. There's plenty of room in the stable for a more intimate look at what heroes get up to every day. Ok, intimate isn't exactly a way to describe it but this time we see our characters dealing with things that are almost relatable. Family issues, pining for the past, trying not to disappoint others, problems with work and taking responsibility for past mistakes. Serious stuff aside and on a much smaller scale, it's as action packed and as funny as the best of the Marvel movies .

Dinky car chases through the streets of San Francisco, Luis's unique way of telling a story, pez dispensers and salt cellars used in .....different ways, Baba Yaga, crazy quantum phasing scraps, malfunctioning suits and oversized hoodies, truth serum, quite possibly the funniest Stan Lee cameo yet, bastard seagulls and uncomfortable FBI agents all make for a very entertaining stew. A stew made even more entertaining by an immensely likable cast. Paul Rudd as Scott/Ant-Man rocks and he never once stutters at the comedy stuff like others in the Marvel stable. Evangeline Lily as Hope/the Wasp gets the lions share of the action stuff and carries it off with aplomb and her distain at Scott's Avengers hero worship is deadly. Michael Pena once again threatens to steal the show as the fast talking Luis and a frail looking Michael Douglas as Hank Pym gets far more to do this time around. Hannah John-Kamen as Ava, Scott's new ghostly foe adds a lot to proceedings too and like Thanos in Infinity War (and Brolin's Cable from Deadpool 2) there's a lot more to her than meets the eye. I suspect her character will turn up again soon. She's too interesting to see only once. Another famous face turns up too but seeing as she's so far been absent from trailers I'll leave her as a pleasant surprise for ye.

It's not all perfect of course. Walton Goggin's bad guy Sonny Burch is the worst type of Marvel baddie, an undercooked villain with a plan that's never fully explained who never once feels like a threat. A few funny lines aside him and his story could have been comfortably lifted out of the film altogether. It's a pity because his turns in The Shield and Justified as amazingly complex bad guys show he has a lot to bring to the table. A wispy subplot involving Scott & Luis' business feels wedged into as an excuse to bring back cast members from the first film too. Not big issues really but enough to knock some of the shine off. 

Speaking of shine, the special effects in this are amazing. A few Marvel films so far (Ant-Man, Civil War, Guardians 2) have used de-aging technology but its at its best so far here and avoids that uncanny valley feeling that similar scenes have suffered from because it's used sparingly. Very effectively though. I dare you not to see these youthful faces without feeling a pang of nostalgia. That nostalgic feeling is why I enjoy these movies too. They remind me of watching Superman films as a baba and not having a care in the world. 2 hrs of fun and laughter where you can switch off and thankfully these 2 hrs avoid the allusions to real life strife that other Marvel movies have contained. This one is just all about having fun.

Well worth a watch.

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