“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is diversity Disney family fun and this sequel has romance in the air, but it never gets mushy thanks to smart team writing and the light hand of director Peyton Reed and some ex-cons. Certainly this is a smaller film than “Captain America: Civil War” but think of it as a cozy intimate setting for some action and the perfect set up for the hilarious motor-mouth of our favorite ex-con: Luis.
We first met our hero Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and grizzled scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) in the 2015 film “Ant-Man.” In “Ant-Man,” both Hank and Scott need to get close to their daughters. Hank resigned from SHIELD in 1989 because he feared how his shrinking technology would be used. Fast forward to the present day, Hank is being forced out of his company, Pym Technologies, by his daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and his former protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll). Cross has his own project: Yellowjacket.
Ex-con and electronics expert Scott moved in with his former cellmate in prison, Luis (Michael Peña), and unable to find a job joins Luis’ burglar gang–Kurt (David Dastmalchian) and Dave (Tip “T.I” Harris) because Scott needs to pay child support in order to see his daughter who is now living with his ex-wife (Judy Greer as Maggie) and her fiancé (Bobby Cannavale as Paxton). Luis has been fooled into breaking into Hank’s house and open a safe. Scott opens the safe and steals the Ant-man suit. Hank, joined by Hope, who has realized that Darren is the bad dude of this hero origin story, train Scott into using the Ant-man technology and how to work with ants. Scott needs to steal a device from the Avengers’ headquarters (and briefly fights with Falcon/Sam Wilson) to bust into Pym Technologies and steal the Yellowjacket suit. Scott is warned not to go sub-molecular because in the past, Hank’s wife Janet did during a mission and she wasn’t able to return. Scott, however, does go sub-molecular and into the quantum realm, but survives. Hank wonders if his wife is still alive and that’s where “Ant-Man and the Wasp” picks up.
But remember, that in the post-credits scene, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) need to contact Tony Stark but can’t because of the Accords and Wilson suggests calling Ant-man.
In the 2016 “Captain America: Civil War,” Ant-man is on Team Captain America. That means what he did wasn’t legally sanctioned. During “Civil War” he grows to Giant-man, helping Captain America and Bucky to escape from Team Iron Man (Clash of the Avengers), but ends up in the clink (the Raft) with Clint Baron, Wanda Maximoff and Sam Wilson, but is released by Captain America. Scott and Clint Barton make a deal with the government to be placed under house arrest instead of returning to the Raft.
“Ant-man and the Wasp” takes place two years later, but the actual movie begins in the past–the day that Hank and his wife Janet, say good-bye to their daughter Hope before their last mission together. In the present, Scott is under house arrest and playing a mission in the ant tunnel game with his daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson). During the game, Scott crosses the boundaries and the SHIELD agent in charge, Jimmy Wood (Randall Park) is instantly at the house. Maggie and Paxton, now married, are totally on Team Scott and group hugs. Scott only has three more days under house arrest (to be followed by parole) and hasn’t been in contact with on-the-run fugitives Hank and Hope. Yet suddenly he has a vision of a young Hope hiding from her mother in a red wardrobe. He takes out a hidden cellphone and calls Hank and leaves a message.
Hank and Hope have been busy building up a short ride (that I am sure will sometime soon end up in Disneyland, replacing the “Adventure Thru Inner Space” (1967-1985). We’re beyond the “Miracles from Molecules” and gone into quantum travel where we just slap quantum in front of every noun phrase–something that Scott actually notes. To finish their ride to launch into quantum inner space, they need a part and go to a black market dealer in high tech, Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins). Sonny has a connection at the FBI and knows that Hope and Hank are on the run and wants the technology, but Hope refuses. Sonny decides he wants the money and to keep the part.
Someone else wants that part. Hope/Wasp must fight not only the Burch’s goon squad, she must fight someone who can disappear and re-appear and waivers between solid and vaporous–Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen). Ghost can phase through solid things and people. She gains the upper hand, but she isn’t a super villain. She needs the part for her sleeping chamber. Ghost is sick and without some healing from the quantum power or the quantum realm, she will disintegrate.
Hope and Hank realize they need a little help from their friends and they kidnap Scott. Scott is a good guy and he has a thing for Hope. In his new improve Ant-man suit, he and Hope go to steal the part, but the new suit is a beta and has a lot of bugs–the technological kind. The real kind (in the movie) are still around and ever helpful–a giant ant has been left to continue Scott’s routine.
Scott, Hope and Hank must find out where Ghost is and they consult with a former friend and colleague of Hank’s: Dr. Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) who teaches at a university. Disguised as themselves in baseball caps and sunglasses, this threesome pays Foster a visit, but the FBI is hot on their heels. But Foster has provided them with an idea.
If you’re wondering where Scott’s crew are…they are together and preparing a presentation on security. Who better to thwart a burglar than experienced burglars? They depend upon Scott for his planning and electrical engineering knowledge. Luis needs to go over blueprints for a presentation with Scott. With Scott being under house arrest, that wouldn’t usually be a problem. They do have an even bigger problem when Sonny Burch shows up with truth serum.
Of course, if you had the truth serum, you’d probably want to task me a lot of questions. What secrets does Luis have? Will Luis get Scott’s advice and making a winning pitch to win the security contract? Will Scott and Hope finally become a couple? Will Hank find Janet? Will Ghost be defeated? Who will take out Sonny? Will Jimmy Woo catch Hank, Hope or Scott?
So you have three people after the high tech part which we can think of as an over-sized cartridge for a trip into inner space. When our team wins, that doesn’t stop Ghost or Sonny. And yet, we have to root for true love–Scott and Hope and Hank with his wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer). This movie has a happy ending but then there’s the mid-credits scene that ties Ant-man to “Avengers: Infinity War.”