Evangeline Lilly

REVIEW: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)

After Cassie Lang’s (Kathryn Newton) prototype goes awry, she along with her father Scott (Paul Rudd), Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) are pulled into the Quantum Realm and have to rely on each other to find a way back home.

I do have mixed feelings about Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania as it’s a film I enjoyed when watching it, but then thinking about it in hindsight there’s stuff that really didn’t work for me.

One of those things is the editing – it was really all over the place. Some of the shot choices were weird and the way things were edited together it was often hard to tell where characters were in relation to each other. This was annoying and sometimes confusing in action sequences but it was downright strange in scenes where characters are sitting around a table talking. Some edits were jarring and took me out of scenes that should be really simple to follow.

Ant-Man is known as one of the more comedic characters in the MCU and unlike Thor: Love and Thunder, Quantumania finds the right balance when it comes to humour. No joke is over done and new and quirky characters are some nice, fun light relief and are used well.

As the vast majority of Quantumania takes place in the Quantum Realm special effects and CGI is abundant and for the most part it’s pretty good. Some things do feel flat and the creature designs and environments kind of feel like they’d fit in well in the world of Stars Wars, but other creatures are pretty cool. I think some of the issues are that no doubt the actors filmed a lot of this film on green screens and you could tell as at times a couple of actors were supposed to be looking at something and their reactions were out of sync or they were looking in slightly different directions so their sightlines were off. Again, this may well have been improved with better editing choices.

Besides the general problems that arise being in an unknown world, Scott and his family have to contend with secrets from Janet’s past, which includes Kang (Jonathan Majors). Majors is a really imposing and compelling presence throughout the film and Quantumania does that always helpful thing of building a mythos around someone before you even meet them. Majors really has a sense of gravitas in his performance and even when Kang is talking to other characters in a perfectly reasonable tone it always feels like there is an underlying threat there.

Quantumania straddles the line between being a nice, self-contained story about a family trying to make their way home and setting out the building blocks for the MCU’s next big villain. This also makes the film a bit awkward at times and while Kang is an effective presence in Quantumania, rightly or wrongly he out shines the heroes of this story.

Overall, I did have fun while watching Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania but it’s not without it’s faults. I will say that while I’m not sure how memorable this film will be in terms of the rest of the MCU, at least I enjoyed watching it unlike Thor: Love and Thunder which actively annoyed me as I was watching it. 3/5.

REVIEW: Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is under house arrest after the events of Captain America: Civil War but soon he’s roped into helping Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lily) and her father Hank (Michael Douglas) who are attempting to travel to the Quantum realm in the hope to find her mother still alive.

Ant-Man and the Wasp is a visually dynamic film. It has fun with the whole concept of people shrinking and growing, and to make things different compared to the first film, it also has cars and even buildings shrinking to tiny sizes. The fights are innovative, and having Hope become the Wasp is great as she has wings and blasters, making her fights just that bit different to Ant-Man’s.

After the intensity of Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp is just a good action-comedy. Like the first Ant-Man film, Ant-Man and the Wasp has small-scale and personal stakes. Hope and Hank are desperate to find their lost mother and wife, Scott just wants to be a good dad to his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson), and even the main villain Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) doesn’t have world-domination intentions, and instead has a personal stake in the Quantum realm technology Hank Pym has created.

It’s the brilliant chemistry from its cast that makes Ant-Man and the Wasp so much fun and enjoyable. The banter between Scott, Hope and Hank is great and the way they all work together, however reluctantly to begin with, is fun to watch. Scott’s ex-criminal friends Luis (Michael Peña), Kurt (David Dastmalchian) and Dave (T.I.) bring the jokes, with Peña stealing just about every scene he’s in. There is almost an abundance of characters. FBI Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) is almost constantly watching Scott, and businessman Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) want the technology Hope and Hank have been building. There’s a lot of people after our main trio and one has to think that the film could’ve probably lost one antagonist and not lost much in the way of the actual plot.

Ant-Man and the Wasp isn’t ground-breaking but it’s fun. The many different types of familial relationships are what is at the films core and the action sequences are always entertaining. It’s just the sort of easy-watch summer superhero film you need after Infinity War. 4/5.

REVIEW: Ant-Man (2015)

I didn’t write a review for Ant-Man when it was first released but it did make my Top Ten Films of 2015.

Recently released from prison, former-thief Scot Lang (Paul Rudd) wants to go straight so he can see his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) but those plans go awry when he meets Dr. Hany Pym (Michael Douglas) who needs Scott to pull off a heist to stop scientist Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) from endangering the world.

Ant-Man is a great heist film. It follows a lot of the usual tropes seen in heist stories, training montage, a crew, plans going wrong, but it also has a super-suit that can shrink the wearer and give them a disproportionate amount of strength compared to their size. The special effects and sequences when Scott is the size of an insect are innovative and a lot of fun. The scenes where Scott’s going from big to small in a blink of an eye while fighting bad guys are well-shot and exciting.

While Ant-Man’s villain isn’t particularly menacing nor memorable, it’s nice to have a superhero film where the story is on the smaller scale and the climax of the film isn’t a potential world-ending catastrophe. At this films core are a group of characters who are trying to do the right thing, even if a lot of them are former criminals.

Speaking of former-criminals Luis played by Michael Peña is a great character. His stories are hilarious and every time he’s on screen he steals the spotlight because you can’t help but smile at his antics and mannerisms. Scott’s other friends are computer-hacker Kurt (David Dastmalchian) and wheelman Dave (T.I.) while these two have less to do than Luis, they still get their odd moments and are both fun characters.

A core theme of Ant-Man is the relationship between fathers and daughters. There’s Scott wanting to be the hero his young daughter Cassie already sees in him, and there’s Hank and his strained relationship with his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly). How Hank and Hope’s relationship evolves over the course of the film is great because they are forced to begin to understand one another.

Ant-Man is a funny, clever heist film with superhero elements. Scott’s a great down to earth lead and the way the story uses a miniaturised hero and a lot of ants makes for a very enjoyable film. 4/5.