Ant-Man and the Wasp
Paul Rudd is on top comedy form as he returns as the miniature superhero in this sequel.
We first saw Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man, in the 2015 original, before he joined the Avengers crew for 2016's Captain America: Civil War. After a three-year gap between standalone films, he is back and ready for action.
Ant-Man and the Wasp opens with Scott serving the last few days of his two-year house arrest after he was caught breaking the laws set down by The Sovokia Accords by participating in the superhero fight in Civil War.
During that time, he has been banned from talking to Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), the inventor of the Ant-Man suit technology, and his daughter Hope van Dyne/ the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly).
However, Scott is forced to break those rules again when he has visions of Hank's wife and Hope's mother Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), the original Wasp, who has been trapped in the quantum realm for years.
The trio reunite to help free her, but they have obstacles along the way, including businessman Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) and Ava Starr, aka Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), who are both trying to steal the quantum technology for very different reasons.
The biggest strength of the Ant-Man franchise is how funny it is. It knows that having a mini superhero is a bit silly, so it plays up to it and revels in its ridiculousness, especially with the frequent visual gags that are a joy to watch.
The Marvel movies are generally littered with jokes, but this feels like a proper comedy which just happens to be about superheroes.
It also boasts some refreshing and exciting action sequences, thanks to Ant-Man's unique ability to shrink to ant-size or grow to 60 feet tall, so this makes the stunt set pieces feel different to the usual Marvel fare.
It was cool to see Lilly holding her own along with the guys, and she deserved her upgrade after a small appearance in the first one.
Rudd is hilarious and likeable as always and gives his all to the part, trying hard to sell the jokes, though they don't always work.
He's not the only one bringing the comedy - he is matched by Michael Pena as Luis and his team, made up of actors Tip 'T.I.' Harris and David Dastmalchian, who sadly have smaller parts this time around.
Judy Greer as Scott's ex-wife and her new partner, played by Bobby Cannavale, are funny too, as well as newcomer Randall Park as Scott's hapless parole officer.
Lilly and Douglas are the serious, straight-faced duo and are mainly lumbered with confusing science jargon, but when they are awarded a joke, they are much more effective.
Sadly, Pfeiffer didn't have enough screen time, but hopefully she will get more in future instalments.
The plot isn't the strongest or the easiest to follow, due to all the quantum realm talk, and there are no real stakes or tension because the villains aren't particularly threatening. You know Ant-Man will succeed, but these faults can be forgiven because the film is so funny and such a joy to watch. Pure entertainment.
© Cover Media