Monday, July 23, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 20
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM
HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3
MAMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN
SKYSCRAPER
THE EQUALIZER 2
WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

PHOTO BY WALT DISNEY PICTURES

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP


Where is it playing?: Movies Lompoc, Parks Plaza

What's it rated?: PG-13

What's it worth?: $Matinee

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)

Peyton Reed (Bring It On, Yes Man, Ant-Man) directs this next entry into the Marvel universe set after the events of Captain America: Civil War. Paul Rudd returns as Scott Lang and his superhero alter ego Ant-Man. As Scott struggles to balance his crime fighting and home life, he’s once again called-on by Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to join forces with Scott’s one-time love interest (and Pym’s daughter) Hope Van Dyne/The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) to deal with a new threat, Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen).


    Chalk this film up as another serviceable action comedy with enough derring-do and laughs to make a trip to the theater worthwhile. As a character, Ant-Man is certainly a lot more fun than dour Batman or goody-two-shoes Superman—he’s fallible, irreverent, and generally loveable, in part because he’s trying so hard to be a good dad to Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson).
    The running gag is Scott is under house arrest for two years because he joined Captain America to save the world in Germany, breaking international accords. Superheroes may save the day, but they leave a wake of destruction too, and Scott must remain housebound with an ankle bracelet, under the watchful eye of FBI Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park, at his deadpan funniest).
    Woo is always one step behind Scott, and his bits are even funnier than the three hapless thieves-turned-security experts—Luis (Michael Peña), Dave (Tip “T.I.” Harris), and Kurt (David Dastmalchian)—who tried to rob Dr. Pym in the first Ant-Man film and now run a security company.
    In addition to dealing with Ghost, Scott and company have to watch out for Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), who like Ghost is desperate to steal Pym’s technology. Meanwhile, Pym now believes his wife Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), who’s been lost in the “quantum realm” for 30 years, is alive, and that it may be possible to rescue her.
    There’s obviously a lot going on, especially when you add in Scott’s ex-wife Maggie (Judy Greer)—mother to Cassie—and her husband Paxton (Bobby Cannavale), as well as Pym’s ex-partner Dr. Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne), who appears to have a hidden agenda. Though it seems like a lot to keep track of, the plot is clearly delineated, the action sequences track-able and exciting, and the one-liners coming fast and furious. It’s not going to win any awards, but for summer fun, it does the trick.
    Rudd is particularly suited to the character. He’s sort of a hangdog everyman, but he’s also funny, charming, and good looking enough to be a credible love interest to Hope. Yes, he seems to screw things up over and over again, but his heart is in the right place. Lilly as Hope is much more competent than Scott, and a strong female character in a superhero movie is always a welcome respite from the boys’ club.
    There’s some nifty age-reducing CGI for the backstory about Pym and his wife Janet—both are made to look young again. It certainly adds to the realism of the pre-story, in which Pym and Janet as Ant-Man and The Wasp disarm a Soviet nuclear missile heading to the U.S. The whole quantum realm thing, however, feels like a lot of nonsense. There’s no mention of how Janet survived for 30 years shrunken to subatomic size, what she ate, what continued to power her superhero suit, etc.
    This is definitely the sort of story you don’t want to think too hard about because it’s silly and absurd. But when the fists are flying or the cars are racing, moving from super small size to super big, it’s best to disappear into the moment and go with it. It’s summer, and you should expect massive, idiotic, popcorn spectacles for the foreseeable future. Turn off your brain, strap into your theater recliner, and order a bucket of popcorn because summer blockbuster season is in full swing. (118 min.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           —Glen Starkey




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