Ant Man & the Wasp – movie review

by James Robins / 17 July, 2018
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All that cataclysmic world-destroying, all those floating cities and invincible baddies – it’s getting a bit much. Marvel’s tendency to apocalypse is exhausting.

So, here’s relief in the form of Ant Man & the Wasp, the latest in that universe, which never really leaves the confines of San Francisco, a place where the everyday can be made to feel very large indeed.

Exploring similar comic territory to Alexander Payne’s recent satire Downsizing, Ant Man & the Wasp makes the most of ordinary objects magically reduced to quaint levels: a toy-sized people-carrier pecked at by pigeons the size of elephants, or a multistorey office block shrunk to the dimensions of a carry-on suitcase. Or smaller still: heroes slipping into a subatomic kaleidoscope world of protons and quarks.

Perhaps as a result, the film is filled with some needless quasi-scientific verbal padding: “Do you guys just put the word ‘quantum’ in front of everything?” Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) asks tech genius Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and the titular Wasp (Evangeline Lily).

But this sequel-in-miniature never forgets that at its core, there is a cute and simple relationship between Scott and his daughter, adorably played by Abby Ryder Fortson. The most severe punishment threatened throughout is 20 years behind bars. The stakes are no larger than that. And the film – if not the whole Marvel universe – is much better for it.

IN CINEMAS NOW

★★★1/2

Video: Marvel Entertainment

This article was first published in the July 21, 2018 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

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