After Scott has destroyed a German airport together with the Avengers, the likeable ex-con is under house arrest. But, of course, a man with a super hero suit cannot be stopped so easily. Especially, when his friends Dr. Hank Pym and his daughter Hope need help. So, a new adventure starts for Scott Lang and his new powerful ally in Ant-Man and The Wasp.
Now, in the aftermath of “Captain America: Civil War,” we ﬁnd Scott Lang grappling with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to rebalance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to ﬁght alongside The Wasp. So, the team works together to uncover secrets from the past.
With the 2015 release of Marvel’s “Ant-Man,” the MCU acquainted its faithful and ever-expanding audience with Ant-Man. He resurrects when Dr. Hank Pym handpicks Scott Lang, a good-hearted thief, to don the suit and become a hero. The ﬁlm also featured Pym’s daughter, Hope van Dyne, who wants to become The Wasp.
THE STORY OF ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
In the first movie we have learned that Hope’s mother Janet was the original wasp. She sacrificed herself to save millions of lives after she had defused a missile for the United States. But in the process, she became lost in the Quantum Realm – a subatomic world beyond our own. Now, years later, Hank’s researches helped him to refine the technique in his lab. Thus, he and Hope believe they just might be able to bring Janet home.
However, there are some other parties who are interested in Hank’s scientific equipment. All have different motives. But, of course, Scott the Ant-Man and his old friends the X-Con Security Crew, Luis, Kurt and Dave, help to reunite Hope’s family again.
Director Payton Reed explains, “In my mind, the family dynamic is so crucial to what the ‘Ant-Man’ movies are. Scott Lang is the real everyman in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s not a super scientist; and not a billionaire. Scott is just a normal guy who doesn’t have superpowers. It’s all about that suit. There’s a part of Scott that has a take-it-or-leave-it attitude about whether he’s a hero or not. After inadvertently putting his daughter in harm’s way and then facing life in prison never to see his daughter again, Scott is ambivalent about being Ant-Man, and we deﬁnitely tell that story.”
Both Ant-Man and The Wasp have their own specialized skill set. Hope, however, is still as driven as ever. She has had honed her impressive skills within the last two years. Thus, she honestly has no interest in or need for Ant-Man.
But when faced with obstacles on all fronts, a partnership is a necessity. While they have often different opinions, actually they know that they like each other. They have to learn to use their potential to be unstoppable together, especially to fulfil Hank’s plans to bring Janet home.
SCOTT LANG / ANT-MAN
After his exploits with the Avengers in “Captain America: Civil War,” Scott Lang, the good-hearted ex-con, ﬁnds himself under house arrest. But when he faces the decision to once again don the Ant Man suit, Scott is conﬂicted, as he is struggling to ﬁnd a way to get his life back on track and be the best possible father to Cassie that he can be.
Paul Rudd reprises the role he originated of Scott Lang/Ant Man. When it came to stepping back into the shoes of the reluctant Super Hero facing the unimaginable, Rudd took on a singular approach.
“One of the things that I really like about playing this character is that Scott is thrown into these extraordinary circumstances of shrinking and ﬂying around on ants and dealing with life-threatening situations,” says Rudd. “I’ve always tried to sustain
his way of dealing with everything with a sense of humor and a carefree attitude. I think it gives an audience a fun ride to see somebody like Scott Lang take in all of this craziness. So, for me, that’s fun to play.”
HOPE VAN DYNE / THE WASP
Now a fugitive with her father, the brilliant scientist has used her time in hiding to master her new role as The Wasp. But she isn’t quite ready to team up with Scott for their most important mission ever. However, reuniting her family depends on it. Thus, she is forced to seek his help.
Evangeline Lilly returns to her role of brilliant quantum physicist Hope van Dyne. While she’s as focused and determined as ever, a very diﬀerent Hope emerges in “Ant-Man and The Wasp.” Lilly was over the moon. She knew that the next installment of the “Ant Man” story line would introduce The Wasp.
“I was excited to play Hope again for so many reasons,” comments Lilly. “In ‘Ant Man’ she went through this enormous emotional arc. So, it was exciting to have the chance to go back to this
character and play her in a new space, a space where she is more at ease in her own skin and more at ease in her relationship with her father.”
“But I have to admit,” she adds with a laugh, “my primary motivation to come back was to put on that suit and play The Wasp. Hope so desperately wanted to follow in the footsteps of her incredible superhero parents, so she’s ﬁnally doing that and doing it very well.”
As Lilly prepared for her return to the role, she knew the physical preparation for The Wasp action sequences would be vital to building the character. More importantly, she understood that the new backstory for Hope, would wholly inform that relationship between Hope and Scott. It’s the bedrock to the “Ant-Man and The Wasp” storyline.
Remarks Lilly, “The relationship between Hope and Scott in ‘Ant Man’ was really straightforward. As an actress I always knew very clearly where things
stood. Hope couldn’t stand him for the majority of the ﬁlm. Then, she eventually realized he’s okay. ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’ is a bit complicated, and a lot more challenging to know how exactly to hit the tone of their relationship. Hope just lives to be The Wasp.
She deﬁnitely harbors feelings of anger, hurt and resentment when Scott made the choice to go to Berlin without her. That’s the hardest thing for her to swallow. But she’s got this mission and she’s really focused on her mother. Thus, the stakes are so high.”
DR. HANK PYM
As the original tiny Super Hero, inventor of the Pym Particle and founder of Pym Technologies, Hank Pym, now a fugitive with Hope, faces his most important mission ever as he confronts the repercussions of his past while trying to protect the future of his family.
Two-time Academy Award®-winning actor Michael Douglas returns as Hank Pym.
“The best part about returning for a sequel is the opportunity to again work with Peyton, Paul and Evangeline,” Douglas says. “There’s that feeling of familiarity that informs the ﬁlmmaking process. You also get to deﬁne your character more. Hank Pym is the straight man who keeps the story grounded.”
Hank Pym’s complicated relationship with Hope is in a better place in the beginning of the ﬁlm. Hope has begun to resolve her issues with her father. Besides, she
discovers more about herself. Hank has been aﬀected by the daring exploits with Hope and Scott. With the new revelation that Scott survived his journey to the Quantum Realm, he has renewed hope that Janet could be alive.
JANET VAN DYNE
Janet is lost in the Quantum Realm. But, her family believes that she is still alive. Academy Award®–nominated actress Michelle Pfeiﬀer was always the go-to for ﬁlmmakers when it came to visualizing Janet van Dyne, from even the earliest stages of “Ant Man.”
Says Broussard, “We know we’re asking a lot from our audience to invest themselves in the story’s search for a character that they’ve never met and don’t know as a person. We knew we needed an actress of a certain caliber and gravitas who possessed the talent and ability to carry the character throughout the movie. Filming with Michelle has reinforced all those things. It’s been amazing to watch her step into the MCU in such a big way.”
Pfeiﬀer was drawn to the strong character and the opportunity to play a Marvel Super Hero.
“I wasn’t familiar with Janet van Dyne before this,” says Pfeiﬀer, “and I loved that she’s such a seminal character in the Marvel comic-book world and that she was one of the founding members of the Avengers.”
She adds, “I love that at this phase in my life I’m playing a superhero. I think it’s incredible. And the message that it sends to women of all ages and all demographics is that we’re strong and we’re independent and we’re capable, and vital parts of society. I love sending that message out in the universe.”
AVA / GHOST
This elusive foe poses the biggest threat to Hank and Hope as they try to unravel the truth from their past. But when Scott joins in he, too, becomes a target. Her reasons are personal, and Hank’s newest piece of technology is at the heart of it all.
What would a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie be without a bigger-than-life villain? In the story, Ant-Man and The Wasp come up against an enthralling adversary called Ghost. Her origins lie within the Marvel Comics canon (“Iron Man” #219). Acutally, the figure was a male character shrouded in secrecy.
This character was an intriguing starting point for the ﬁlmmakers. With no tangible backstory to the character, the writers had the freedom to extrapolate it into fresh new territory for the feature adaptation.
Says Feige of their aim, “There are a lot of great Marvel Comics characters that we haven’t tapped into, so as we were developing the story for ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp,’ we began to play with this notion of the Quantum Realm and the way physics changes the body when you begin to experiment with it. We decided to adapt a character from the comics called Ghost, who is able to go through walls and be completely intangible.”
While some remnants of the original character remain, Ghost is now the alter ego of a young woman named Ava, portrayed by British actress Hannah John-Kamen. For the actress, another lifelong comic-book fan, joining the MCU was a surreal experience, one that oﬀered her the added beneﬁt of a plum role that artfully blended drama, humor and action.
“There are so many layers to this character,” says John-Kamen. “Her situation is not black and white. It’s not about world domination or good and evil. I was amazed at her vulnerability and felt really connected to Ava.”
Describing Ghost’s goal, Feige says, “As Hank continues to develop the technology to ﬁnd Janet, Ava realizes that those new devices might be able to help her and put her out of this pain and make her tangible once again. That, of course, puts her in direct conﬂict with Hank, Ant-Man and The Wasp.”
Adds Broussard, “We have a villain that doesn’t want to take over the world, or get rich or do anything that has these world stakes. It’s literally about survival that makes her a villain, and the complication is that she needs what our heroes need. So suddenly you have heroes and villains after the same thing for very grounded, relatable and emotional reasons.”
Broussard about John-Kamen, “Because of the air of mystery about this role, we wanted someone perhaps a little less recognizable to the movie-going audiences. Hannah just blew us away with her intensity, her vulnerability, and with her sense of humor. You need someone who can engender sympathy and vulnerability for what they’re going through but also still be scary as the heavy and the villain. And Hannah checked all those boxes for us.”
For John-Kamen, working with director Peyton Reed for the ﬁrst time was a very positive experience.
“What I love about his process is that he knows and understands every beat of the scene,” remarks John-Kamen. “He gives you that freedom to go for it and see where it takes you. Then he’ll come in and literally direct you on that beat. I don’t feel like I’m restricted in any way, especially with this character. And I think it’s important for a director and an actor’s relationship to have freedom and an open dialogue about the scene and the character.”
Bill Foster is a former colleague of Hank and Janet. He reluctantly becomes embroiled in Hank’s plan to reunite his family. Old animosities bubble up between the two scientists. Their approaches to their mutual research have led them down diﬀerent paths.
Laurence Fishburne is a long time Marvel Comics fan.To have the opportunity to play scientist Bill Foster was not something to be passed up.
“I just was really hungry to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” says Fishburne. “I would’ve played an asteroid in any movie given the opportunity! So, the fact that Kevin and Peyton found that I was a good match for the character of Bill Foster is huge. It’s a dream come true for me.”
He adds, “What initially excited me about the role of Bill Foster is that he is a scientist in his own right, a contemporary of Hank Pym’s with the same level of smarts and curiosity. The fact that I’d be playing scenes with Michael Douglas and be a foil to him was a big factor. I’ve never worked with him before, so who in their right mind would walk away from that?”
THE VALEUR REVIEW
I am a great fan of the original Ant-Man, which showed us a normal guy who strove, struggled and did sometimes stupid things. I liked also the other characters, who were sometimes a little jerky, but always likeable. So, let’s see, what Ant-Man and The Wasp brings on the screen.
The tone of Ant-Man and The Wasp tries to follow the precedent of the first; it’s comedy combined with true-crime elements. However, this time, everything appears somehow rushed. The film is still very funny, of course, and the heroes as well as villains are still very likeable. Luckily. But the naivety and unique sense of humor of the first one we will miss a bit in the sequel.
In contrast to Luis (Michael Peña) bigger role in Ant-Man and The Wasp, I missed his ultra-funny fast speeches. Of course, he does so here and there, but not in the same ratio like in the first Ant-Man movie.
Furthermore, it seems that almost everything and everybody tries to play and appear more professional and cooler in Ant-Man and the Wasp. It eliminates that naïve character of the first film, which was unique and very likeable.
However, among all, the movie is about Hope and Ava. Both female main characters are simply amazing. Evangeline Lilly convinces as Hope. Moreover, she gives a very feminine and responsible touch to the super hero.
In addition, Hannah John-Kamen impresses as Ava the Ghost. She plays very sensitive and convincing. Her appearance and style fit perfectly with her role. With her eyes she arouses the attention as well as she touches the hearts of the audience.
The effects are still amazing, and – although some critic – Ant-Man and The Wasp is very entertaining. Especially, when Scott walks as gigantic hero through the water. There will not be a dry eye!
Ant-Man and The Wasp shows the next chapter in Marvel’s universe. Unfortunately, it’s one of the last films, where we see Stan Lee in his ultra hilarious iconic cameos.
Howsoever, the focus of Ant Man and The Wasp is on the return of Hope’s mother, Janet. Probably, and hopefully, next time is more space to play more in detail with the personalities of the characters and to give Luis again more freedom of speech. Having regard to the starting winter in Europe now, we give 8 points for Ant-Man and The Wasp. Thus, it’s the second VALEUR film tip of this week.