‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ review: Bite-sized marvels
Coming at the heels of the enormity of scope of Anthony and Joe Russo’s Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man and the Wasp feels modest and minuscule, which is surprisingly a very good thing.
Comedy, caper and camp
Given that the trajectory of superhero movies seems to be to be bigger, brasher and bolder than the films that came before, there is a curious sense of ambition in the way Ant-Man and the Wasp opts for restraint.
It is less a superhero film and more of a meshing of comedy, caper and camp. Simply put, in a marketplace where films about superhero are beginning to show signs of weariness, Reed’s film plays the role of a refreshing cup of sherbet.
It’s mostly an unsubstantial part of the meal, but it readies you for Marvel’s plan of serving probably more of the same uproarious spectacle. While there are obvious traces of the film being part of Marvel’s grand multiverse, Reed’s film feels very contained within its world of pronounced silliness and absurdity.
Its band of heroes-on-the-run do not have missions to save the world. Their goal is much closer to home, to rescue Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), wife of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), mother of Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), from the quantum realm. (READ: 'Ant-Man and the Wasp': Marvel's first superheroine movie)
Less stately and more pedestrian
The path towards the heartwarming reunion of the Pym family is also less stately and more pedestrian. (READ: Kevin Feige: Ant-Man, Wasp 'very important' in Avengers 4)
Aside from the constant shrinking and growing, the film relies predominantly on real world physics and on the hilly and curvy road networks of San Francisco to support its earthbound thrills. There are no cities being leveled or powerful overlords with misguided principles they want to impose upon the world.
It mostly involves Scott, Janet and Hank driving around a van, being chased either by Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), a lady who can phase through objects and is desperate to find a cure for her pain, an unscrupulous businessman (Walton Goggins) and the FBI.
What remains are extravagantly choreographed car chases and unabashed drollery, which Reed does extremely well. Ant-Man and the Wasp pushes forward by sheer humor and audacity. It works because its heart knows that its place is in comedy, not in grand expositions about the state of the world or in spectacular chaos and destruction.
Even its most bombastic action sequences are driven by slapstick and visual wit.
The film is exceptional at presenting racial diversity, portraying San Francisco more of the melting pot of color, accents and cultural nuances rather than just another picturesque city to be decimated by super-powered squabbles. There is a real sense of the film attempting to be located in a specific place on Earth rather than just a random city.
Saturday morning cartoon
Ant-Man and the Wasp is adamantly efficient within the limits it sets for itself. In turn, it also becomes adamantly entertaining, in a Saturday morning cartoon kind of way. – Rappler.com
Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas' Tirad Pass.
Since then, he's been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema