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Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018)

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 10/16/2018

All Ratings out of
Video: ½
Audio: ½

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 10/22/2018

Super-hero movies have reached a point where many viewers have had their fill and have lost interest. One argument which is often heard from this crowd is that all super-hero movies are alike. While this is patently untrue, it's easy to see how someone could hold this view, as the films in this sub-genre do seem to fall into two primary categories. On the one hand, we have the origin film, in which the bulk of the story is focused on how the main character gained their powers. On the other hand, we get a number of films which are decidedly dark (I'm looking at you DC Universe) and don't contain any sense of whimsy or fun. Given those parameters, you would think that someone would make a super-hero movie which avoided those two clichés and would appeal to those who claim to hate the sub-genre. Well, someone has and that movie is called Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Ant-Man and the Wasp picks up some time after the events seen in Captain America: Civil War, and takes us back into the world first glimpsed in Ant-Man. Having gotten in big trouble for aiding Captain America, Scott Lang AKA Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) has been placed under house-arrest. This has actually strengthened his relationship with his daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson), as he's forced to find fun things for them to do around the house. However, he has cut ties with Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), the man who introduced Scott to the Ant-Man suit, and his daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly). This duo are working on a way to visit the quantum realm in order to search for Hank's wife, who disappeared there decades ago. While procuring parts for their new machine, Hope is accosted by Ghost (Hannan John-Kamen), an individual who can move through solid matter. Realizing that they need help, Hank and Hope, call on Scott to re-don the Ant-Man suit.

This is going to sound like an audacious statement to some, but Ant-Man and the Wasp may be my favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. Yes, Avengers: Infinity War is a great epic and Captain America: Civil War is a fantastic action film and Iron Man 3 is an underrated entry, but Ant-Man and the Wasp separates itself by simply doing its own thing. Yes, this is a super-hero movie, but at its heart, it's a comedy and a very funny one at that. The eternally youthful Paul Rudd brings laughs to every scene. But, there's an even more important component at play here -- Rudd is the link to the audience. Ant-Man and the Wasp is full of ridiculous scientific jargon and the movie is well aware of the fact that this talk is difficult to follow. Scott is just as confused by this talk as we are, and his bewilderment is not only funny, but it brings a very human element to the movie. Ant-Man is not just a guy in a super-suit, he's a somewhat clueless guy in a super-suit and that makes him very relatable. Getting back to the funny, Michael Pena, who shone in the first film, once again steals the show here. His energy lights up the screen and his bizarre flashback of his introduction to Scott is hilarious.

Along with that, Ant-Man and the Wasp works very well as an action movie. In many ways, this is a heist movie. The recent Solo: A Star Wars Story showed that introducing a heist element to a familiar franchise doesn't always work. However, this concept flows very smoothly here as Hank & Hope battle with Ghost for possession of quantum technology. Again, the thing which makes Ant-Man and the Wasp work as an action movie is it's very unique approach to fight sequences. Scott and Hope, who dons who own super-suit to become The Wasp, can shrink and grow at will, giving them the ability to constantly befuddle their opponents. Director Peyton Reed does a fantastic job of utilizing visual effects in these sequences, as the characters seamlessly change sizes within long takes. The film also has some great car chase sequences, the difference being that some of the cars are toy-sized, and like Scott and Hope, can suddenly become large. (I don't know why, but I found the scenes with the little cars to be very funny.)

I occasionally see movies which are good, but I rarely see one as satisfying as Ant-Man and the Wasp. The movie offers a great combination of action and comedy, with a nice dose of humanity delivered through characters which don't feel like comic book stereotypes -- Even the villains feel more fleshed out then normal. The pacing is excellent and there is rarely a dull moment here. My only word of caution goes out to parents who watch this with younger children -- They will be asking why you have not build them an ant slide.

Ant-Man and The Wasp does get arguably racist with Luis' choice of car on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 31 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look fantastic and the image is never overly dark or bright. (Reed has shot the film in a very natural fashion, with no brooding, dark scenes.) The level of detail is very good and the actors are always clearly separate from the backgrounds. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 5.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. This is a very active track, as it delivers nicely detailed surround sound effects and appropriately placed front-channel effects. We are constantly alerted to sounds occurring off-screen and the mix allows each sound to stand out. The subwoofer effects are well-integrated, highlighting each explosion and car crash.

The Ant-Man and The Wasp Blu-ray Disc contains several extra features. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Peyton Reed. "Back in the Ant Suit: Scott Lang" (6 minutes) profiles Rudd's character, as other cast and crew members comment on what he brings to the role. This includes some gaffs from the set. Likewise, "A Suit of Her Own: The Wasp" (5 minutes) looks at Lilly's character, and includes a look at the costume and some camera tests. "Subatomic Super Heroes: Hank & Janet" (4 minutes) brings us more back story on Douglas and Pfeiffer's characters. "Quantum Perspective: The VFX and Production Design of Ant-Man and The Wasp" (7 minutes) has Reed discussing his approach to the look of the film, including the effects and the sets. From there, we get a tour of the lab. The Disc contains two DELETED SCENES which run about 2 minutes and can be viewed with commentary from Reed. "Gag Reel and Outtakes" offers a 2-minute "Gag Reel", a 1-minute reel of "Stan Lee Outtakes", and a 1-minute reel of "Tim Heidecker Outtakes".

Review Copyright 2018 by Mike Long