Saturday, July 28, 2018

It Came From The Cineplex: Ant-Man And The Wasp

Ant-Man And The Wasp was written by Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari (did it really take FIVE people to write this script?). It was directed by Peyton Reed.

McKenna previously wrote the kid flick Igor (!). He and his working partner Erik Sommers previously wrote The Lego Batman Movie and Spider-Man: Homecoming. They also co-wrote Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (along with Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner).

Rudd is of course primarily an actor. He previously co-wrote Role Models and Ant-Man (in which he also starred). Barrer previously wrote Haunt, and that's about it. Ferrari previously wrote... well, nothing.

Reed previously directed Bring It OnDown With LoveThe Break-UpYes Man and Ant-Man.

The film is of course a sequel to 2015's Ant-Man, and the 20th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

If you liked the first film (as I did), you'll probably like this one too, as it's more of the same. Ant-Man seems to be the "regular guy" of the MCU, and his adventures tend to be smaller scale (heh) than those of heavier hitters like Thor and Iron Man.

And you know what? There's nothing wrong with that! The world doesn't have to be threatened in every superhero movie. It's nice to see one in which the hero's trying to rescue one person, and get back home before his parole office discovers he's gone.

This film finally gives us Hope Van Dyne in her Wasp costume, and she makes a worthy partner to Ant-Man. Best of all, she's a superhero who just happens to be a woman. She's skilled, confident and competent, but never at Ant-Man's expense. 

Wow, imagine that. A movie with a strong female lead that doesn't belittle and ridicule its male characters. What a concept!

So far the film seems to be underperforming at the box office, where it's grossed $366 million worldwide, against its $162 million budget. The original film grossed $519 worldwide, so this one's got a ways to go yet if it hopes to top that.

Oddly enough, the domestic totals for both films are nearly identical. The overseas market doesn't seem to be interested in Ant-Man this time, for some reason. Hopefully the numbers will improve soon, so we can get an Ant-Man 3.


The Plot:
We start with a flashback to 1987, as Hank Pym (played by Michael Douglas) and his wife Janet Van Dyne (played by Michelle Pfeiffer) are prepping for a mission. Janet leans her digitally de-aged face in close to her daughter Hope, assuring her she and her father will be right back. Unfortunately Janet's wrong.

The pair suits up as Ant-Man and the Wasp, and fly off toward a Soviet nuke that's heading for American soil. They shrink down and try and enter the missile, but still can't squeeze between its plating. Janet says the only way to get in is to shrink to subatomic size. Hank says it's too dangerous, as she could get lost inside the mysterious, microscopic Quantum Realm. He tells her he'll go instead, but discovers his size regulator's been damaged.

Janet tells him goodbye, then shrinks down farther than she's ever gone before. She easily slips between the molecules of the missile and disables it. Unfortunately she keeps on shrinking, falling into the Quantum Realm and becoming lost, just as Hank predicted.

In the present day, Scott Lang, aka the new Ant-Man (played by Paul Rudd) is spending the day with his daughter Cassie. Scott's been on house arrest for the past two years, after violating the Sokovia Accords in Captain America: Civil War. Scott builds and elaborate playground to entertain Cassie during her visits. While playing on it, Scott's foot accidentally sticks past the yard perimeter, setting off his house arrest ankle monitor.

Within minutes, FBI Agent Jimmy Woo (played by Randall Park) arrives to inspect Scott's house and make sure he's not up to anything. Woo asks Scott if he's been in contact with Hank or Hope, since they're also wanted by the law for aiding him. Scott assures him he hasn't, as the two of them hate him now.

Woo reminds Scott that he only has three days of house arrest left, and advises him to keep his nose clean— else he faces twenty years in prison. Scott's ex-wife Maggie (played by Judy Greer) and her new husband Paxton (played by Bobby Cannavale) arrive to pick up Cassie. They both tell Scott they're proud of the way he's turned his life around, and encourage him to ride out the three days to freedom.

Alone and bored out of his mind, Scott takes a bath to pass the time. He falls asleep in the tub, and dreams he's playing hide and seek with a little girl (paging Dr. Freud!). His dream then turns into a vision of the Quantum Realm, which he visited in the previous film.

Unsettled, Scott uses a burner phone to call Hank. He apologizes for getting him and Hope in trouble with the law, and tells him about the dream. Hank's pissed that he called, so Scott hangs up. Sometime later he's  watching TV when he's stung on the neck by an insect, and promptly passes out.

Scott wakes up inside a miniaturized car driven by a cold and distant Hope. He's furious when he realizes he's now violating his house arrest. She assures him it's fine, as she removed his ankle bracelet and placed it on the leg of the giant ant left over from the first movie. Com-O-Dee!

They arrive at a dilapidated office building and grow to normal size. They enter the building, and Scott's surprised to see it houses Hank's new lab, which houses a large Quantum Tunnel.

Scott demands to know why they've brought him to the lab. Hank explains that he built the Tunnel in order to enter and explore the Quantum Realm. He fired up the Tunnel last night, and five minutes later Scott called, babbling about a dream.

Hank believes there has to be a link between the two events, and asks about the dream. Scott says he was playing hide & seek with a little girl who hid in a wardrobe, and heard someone say the nickname "Jellybean." Hope blanches, as she says that little girl was her, and Jellybean was Janet's nickname for her. Hank and Hope realize Janet's still alive, and using quantum entanglement o send them a message thorugh Scott. 

Unfortunately the test burned out a crucial component of the Tunnel, and they need another one. Hank shrinks the entire building, loads it in the van (!) and he, Hope and Scott drive off. A shimmering, transparent figure watches them from the shadows.

The three arrive at an upscale restaurant, where Hope meets with Sonny Burch (played by Walton Goggins), a black marketeer who specializes in high tech gear. She hands him a case full of money, and asks for the component. Burch smiles and says he has an informant in the FBI, and knows who she really is. He says he has a mystery client who wants to buy their lab for one billion dollars.

Hope says it's not for sale, and Burch says the deal's off, but he's keeping the money. A disappointed and angry Hope walks out. Suddenly Burch's goons are attacked by an unseen force. It's a miniaturized Hope, wearing her Wasp suit!

There's a big action setpiece, as the Wasp battles Burch's goons, easily incapacitating them all. She grabs the component and flies out of the restaurant. She's stopped by Ghost (played by Hannah John-Kamen), the shimmering figure we saw earlier. Ghost can phase in and out of existence, meaning the Wasp's stinger blasts go right through her.

Hank reluctantly gives Scott a new Ant-Man suit, and he rushes in to help the Wasp. Ghost kicks Scott's ass, manages to steal the lab from the van and disappears.

With nowhere else to go, the three hide out at X-Con, the security firm run by Scott's friends Luis (played by Michael Pena), Dave (played by T.I. Harris) and Kurt (played by David Dastmalchian). Hank desperately tries to figure out how to get the lab back. He says the only way is to ask his former partner Bill Foster for help.

Ghost returns to her home, where she sets down the lab. She painfully stumbles into a special chamber that keeps her in phase with the real world.

Scott, Hank and Hope visit Foster 
(played by Laurence Fishburne)  at the university where he teaches. He's none too not happy to see Hank though, as years ago the two had a falling out over Project Goliath. Nevertheless, he listens to Hank's problem, and suggests modifying a part from the original Ant-Man suit to detect the lab. Just then Scott sees Woo outside, and fears he's tracked him to the college. He and the others make a hasty retreat.

Hank says Foster's idea is useless, as Scott claims he destroyed the original Ant-Man suit. Scott sheepishly admits that's not quite true, as he hid it inside a trophy his daughter gave him. Unfortunately she took the trophy to show & tell. Scott and Hope then infiltrate Cassie's school to get it.

Because Scott's current suit is a "work in progress," it keeps glitching at the worst possible times. He grows to twice his normal height before shrinking to the size of a child. They find the trophy, remove the suit and manage to sneak out of the school without being seen. Good security!

Hank then uses parts from the old suit to locate Ava's lair. He, Hope & Scott drive there, where they find the lab. Suddenly Ghost appears, knocks 'em out and ties 'em up. When they wake, she introduces herself as Ava Starr, and reveals she's working alongside... Bill Foster. Gasp!

Ava begins monloguing her origin story to the captives. Her father, Elihas Starr, was working on his own Quantum Tunnel (like everyone in the MCU, apparently). Unfortunately it malfunctioned and became unstable, and Starr ordered his wife and Ava out of the lab. Ava ran back in to save her father, and was exposed to otherworldly energy which ripped her cells apart. Foster built a suit to help stabilize her body, but her phasing's becoming more acute. Foster hopes to use the Tunnel to rescue Janet, so he can siphon the quantum energy from her body and use it to restore Ava to normal. Sure, why not?

Hank says Foster's plan could kill Janet, and refuses to cooperate. Just then he claims he's having a heart attack, and tells Foster he needs his nitro pills. Foster removes a tin from Hank's pocket, and when he opens it several trained ants leap out and grow to tiger size. They free Hank and his pals, while surrounding Foster. Scott grabs the shrunken lab and they escape.

The trio retreats to a nearby forest. There Hank restores the lab to normal size, and he and his ants install the new component. They fire up the Tunnel and ask Scott if he senses Janet in the Quantum Realm. Unfortunately he says no. Suddenly Scott becomes "possessed" by Janet, who speaks through him. She gives Hank and Hope her coordinates, and tells them they only have two hours to rescue her. After that the Realm will destabilize, and they won't be able to find her for another hundred years. Comic Book Science!

Meanwhile, Burch and his thugs arrive at X-Con, and interrogate Luis, Dave and Kurt with truth serum. The serum works especially well on Luis, who blurts out the location of Hank's lab, along with a lot of other superfluous info. Burch calls Agent Stoltz, his sketchy FBI contact, and tells him where to find Hank and the others. Once again, Ghost eavesdrops in the shadows, and heads off toward the lab.

Burch leaves, and Luis calls Scott to tell him the FBI is on its way. Scott panics, as he's still supposed to be on house arrest. Agent Woo bursts into the house again, but Cassie manages to stall him long enough for Scott to sneak into the bathroom and act like he's been there all along. After Woo leaves, Scott thanks Cassie for covering for him. She says he could use a partner to watch his back, meaning herself. Scott thinks she's talking about Hope though, and Cassie says she'd make a good partner as well.

Agent Stoltz and the FBI find the lab and arrest Hank and Hope. In the confusion, Ghost steals the lab again. Man, that thing changes hands more than a basketball in an NBA game! Hank and Hope are hauled off to jail, as the Quantum Realm timer counts down. Fortunately they're rescued by Scott and an army of ants.

Cut to the enlarged lab, where Ghost is powering up the Quantum Tunnel. Foster's there as well, and tries to talk her out of harming Janet. Ghost says she doesn't have time to waste arguing. Meanwhile, Hank, Hope and Scott track the lab's location again. Luis tags along behind as backup, in an effort to give him more much-needed screentime.

They find the lab, and Hank says he should be the one who rescues Janet. Hope's reluctant to lose another parent, but eventually agrees. Hank's giant ants corner Foster, who tells him he was just trying to help Ghost. Hank suits up, activates the Tunnel, climbs into the exploration pod and enters the Quantum Realm.

Suddenly Ghost attacks again. Ant-Man holds her off long enough for Hope to shrink the lab, and she and Luis drive off with it. Burch and his men follow in several cars, intent on grabbing the lab. Hope shrinks into the Wasp and battles Burch's men, running all but one of his cars of the road.

Ghost appears again and fights the Wasp, which allows Burch to snatch up the lab and get away. He runs toward the harbor and for some reason, boards a slow-moving ferry in order to get away. Ant-Man grows into Giant Man, emerges from the water and takes the shrunken lab from Burch.

Unfortunately growing to such a large size weakens Giant Man, causing him to pass out and sink into the harbor. He drops the lab, and once again Ghost grabs it and slinks away. The Wasp arrives and dives into the water to save Scott. She hits the regulator on his suit to shrink him to normal size, and pulls him from the water.

Meanwhile, Hank searches the Quantum Realm for Janet. At long last he finally manages to locate her, and the two embrace. They enter the pod and head back for the real world. Ghost enlarges the lab, and activates a device that somehow begins draining Janet of her absorbed quantum energy, weakening her.

Ant-Man and the Wasp burst into the lab and shut down Ghost's device. This buys Hank and Janet enough time to return to the real world. Hope has a tearful reunion with her long-lost mother. Janet then notices Ghost, and instinctively knows what's wrong with her and what to do. She lays her hands on her, using her quantum energy to stabilize Ghost so she's no longer out of phase or in pain.

Hank lets Foster and Ghost go free. Luis, Dave and Kurt capture Burch and inject him with his own truth serum. When the cops arrive, Burch spills his guts about all his illegal activities, and the X-Com team is credited with capturing him.

Woo sees Giant Man on TV, and realizes he's really Scott. He bursts into Scott's house yet again, accusing him of breaking his house arrest. He finds Scott innocently playing the drums, seemingly having been there all along. Scott reminds him that as of this moment, his house arrest is completed, and Woo has no choice but to remove his ankle monitor.

As a result of capturing Burch, Luis and his X-Con crew get enough new business to keep them afloat. Hank takes Janet to a picturesque beach, where he takes a tiny vacation house out of his pocket and grows it to normal size. Scott, Hope and Cassie are seemingly at a drive-in, watching a movie. As the camera pulls back, we see they're in a toy car watching a film on a laptop. The movie's interrupted with a moth lands on their tiny vehicle.

In the obligatory mid-credits scene, we see Hank's placed a miniaturized version of the Quantum Tunnel inside Luis' van. He, Hope and Janet are prepping for Ant-Man to return to the Quantum Realm, where he can gather energy to help permanently stabilize Ghost. He enters the Realm and gathers the quantum energy in a container.

Ant-Man radios the others, telling them he's ready for extraction. Unfortunately all he hears is radio silence. Cut to the real world, where we see the ashy remnants of Hank, Hope and Janet blowing away in the wind, as apparently all three of them were victims of Thanos' snap from Avengers: Infinity War. WOW!

In the after credits scene, Scott's giant ant plays the drums, as the TV blares a report about half the people in the city disappearing.

• A few weeks ago in my Deadpool 2 review, I said it was what I like to call a "Barnacle Movie." That's when a film in a franchise begins accumulating characters the same way barnacles build up on the hull of a ship.

Ant-Man introduces us to Scott Lang, his daughter Cassie, his ex-wife Maggie and her boyfriend Paxton, Luis and his pals Kurt and Dave, Hank Pym and his daughter Hope Van Dyne. That's a whopping nine characters, and that's not even including the villain.

Ant-Man And The Wasp brings back EVERY single one of these characters, and adds even more into the mix, including Bill Foster, Agent Woo and of course Janet Van Dyne. 

I'm not really complaining here, as I like all the characters and it's fun to see them return. But that's a hell of a lot of characters for the poor script to have to deal with. It's inevitable that a few of them are gonna be underused, as happens with Maggie and Paxton in the film.

If there's an Ant-Man 3, I'm afraid they're gonna have to scrape a few of those barnacles off the call sheet! No movie can adequately service twenty characters!

• Not a nitpick, just an observation: Janet Van Dyne apparently chose not to take her husband's last name. Considering they were probably married sometime in the 1970s, that was pretty progressive of her.

Maybe she'd already made a name for herself in the scientific community, and didn't want to jeopardize that.

• If nothing else, at least this movie has a decent looking poster. It's Photoshopped of course, as all modern movie posters are, but at least it's colorful and has a strong, dynamic design.

Compare that to this sad looking poster for the original film. Note the off-putting, desaturated color palette and incredibly lifeless layout. And don't forget the way the blurry characters look like they were shot with a circa 2000 cell phone, and are all lit by completely different light sources! It really ties the whole design together!

I'm still convinced that whoever designed this abomination had a month to work on it, but blew it off until the day of their presentation. They then hurriedly slapped this thing together on the bus ride to their meeting with Marvel Studios.

• The movie opens in 1987, as Hank Pym and Janet say goodbye to their daughter Hope. These scenes of a much younger Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer are flawless, and look completely natural. In fact they're so seamless you might not even realize you're looking at a CGI effect!

I tell you, Marvel Studios is getting scary good at this digital de-aging thing! 

Supposedly they scan the actor's current face, then created a younger, digital version. They then use a youthful body double to act out all the character's scenes. Finally they map the de-aged CGI face onto the double's body, creating a perfect younger version of the actor. 

Marvel used this same technique in last year's Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, which featured an astonishingly perfect young Kurt Russell.

• The movie's ostensible villain is Ghost, who continues the Marvel Studios tradition of dull, ineffective and uninteresting villains (Hela and Thanos aside, of course). 

Ghost first appeared in the comics in 1987 (hey, the same year as this film's flashback) in Iron Man #219. His origin story's pretty complicated, but basically he started out as a programmer and engineer at a large tech company. Eventually he became disillusioned with government and big business, and became an anti-capitalist saboteur. He developed a revolutionary "Ghost Tech" that made him intangible, and he began destroying various corrupt corporations.

He was a minor Iron Man villain, but as far as I know never tangled with Ant-Man in the comics.

Of course the cinematic version of Ghost is completely different, as usually happens in these films. In addition to receiving a gender swap to pacify the SJW crowd, this Ghost has a tragic new origin story to try and make her a more "sympathetic" villain. Feh!

Wait, did I say sympathetic? "Dull" is more like it! Honestly, every time Ghost took her mask off and started whining about her condition, I felt like dozing off. I'm really tired of superhero movies trying to humanize their villains. Why can't a bad guy just be an evil asshole for once? Why am I always supposed to care about them?

I wasn't impressed with actress Hannah John-Kamen's performance, either. I'm sure she did her best, but unfortunately she was blown off the screen by big-name talents like Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer and Laurence Fishburne.

But hey, Movie Ghost's costume is actually pretty darned close to the comic version, so that's something, right?

• At one point, Hank Pym visits his former friend and colleague Bill Foster. That named likely sailed far over the head of the average moviegoer, but it should've been instantly recognizable to comic book fans.

In the comics Bill Foster was secretly Black Goliath, a superhero who could become a giant. This of course was back in the days when all superheroes of color had to have Black in their name, such as Black Panther, Black Falcon and Black Lightning. At least Black Panther made sense, as that's a thing. But why Black Goliath?

Foster first appeared in 1966 in The Avengers #32. Oddly enough, he didn't make his first appearance as Black Goliath until 1975, in Luke Cage, Power Man #24. In 1976 he got his own book, titled, as you might expect, Black Goliath. Unfortunately it only ran for five issues (cue falling slide whistle sound effect).

As with pretty much every black superheroes of the time, Foster grew up in the ghetto and managed to "pull himself up" from the slums and become a respected scientist. Did any of these characters ever grow up in the suburbs? Eh, at least Marvel was trying to be diverse, I guess.

Foster eventually changed his name to Giant Man, and later to just Goliath.

Foster got his powers from ingesting Pym Particles (invented by Hank Pym, of course), which gave him the ability to increase his size to around fifteen feet high. Later he was able to extend his size to twenty five feet (which is actually referenced in the movie!).

• Michael Pena is a national treasure, and I thank the Maker he's back. His Luis character was instantly likeable, and definitely the best thing about the original Ant-Man. I love his long-winded, rambling stories about his friends and family.

The highlight of this film was his tangential arguments with Burch and his crew, particularly the one about whether a drug that makes one susceptible to questioning is a truth serum or not.

• Many of the side characters in Ant-Man And The Wasp previously appeared in the comics.

Sonny Burch made his debut in 2003 in Iron Man #73. He was the chairman of Cross Technologies, and through used his knowledge of patent law to legally acquire Tony Stark's Iron Man armor from him.

When Ghost is infodumping her backstory, she reveals her father's name was Elihas Starr. In the comics, that was the alter-ego of Egghead, an evil genius who was the archenemy of Ant-Man (!).

Agent Jimmy Woo appeared in the comics way back in 1956 (!), in Yellow Claw #1. As you might expect, he battled the Yellow Claw, who was a Fu Manchu-type villain. Later he joined S.H.I.E.L.D., and founded the Agents Of Atlas, a superhero spy team.

• This is probably some heavy-duty nitpicking, but whatever. How does Scott afford his house? It looks like a pretty nice place, and it's plenty spacious too. Even if he's just renting and not buying, how's he paying for it? He's been on house arrest for two years, meaning he likely doesn't have a job.

• At one point Scott, Hope and Hank are sneaking onto a college campus to contact Bill Foster. Since they're all wanted by the police, they're wearing baseball hats and sunglasses to hide their identities. Scott notes the silliness of this, saying, "These aren't disguises. We look like ourselves at a baseball game!"

This is a dig at many previous Marvel movies, in which the hero was on the run and "disguised" themselves with a hat and sunglasses. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, The Winter Soldier, Scarlet Witch, Nick Fury and Falcon have all worn this same disguise at one point.

• During a heart to heart talk with Scott, Cassie says she'd like to be his partner. In the comics, a much older Cassie Lang became the size-changing hero known as Stature (proving that every possible superhero name has already been used).

• Stan Lee makes his obligatory cameo appearance in the film, and I think this one may be my favorite. As he walks up to his car, a stray blast from the Wasp hits it and shrinks it to Hot Wheels size. Stan stares at the now tiny car in disbelief and says, "Well, the 60s were fun, but now I'm paying for it!" HAW!

• I spent a big portion of my Ant-Man review pointing out the film's nonsensical science, so I won't bore you with that again. I will say that all the points I made back then pertain to this movie as well. 
Ant-Man and the Wasp's ability to shrink makes absolutely no sense and violates all the known laws of physics, so let's just accept that it works somehow and move on.

• Ant-Man and the Wasp aren't the only things that shrink in this film. Now that Hank's on the run from the law, he can't use the high-tech lab in his home.

To that end, he builds a brand new one inside what appears to be a large office building. Amazingly this building is actually portable, as Hank can cause the entire edifice to shrink with the touch of a switch.

He then pulls a large handle out of the roof of the miniaturized building...

And then carries it away like he's pulling a piece of luggage through the airport.

Even though I liked this movie quite a bit, my brain came up with about a hundred reasons why this shrunken building could never possibly work.

Buildings aren't just giant self-contained boxes that sit on top of the street. They're hooked up to electrical grids and sewer systems, with all kinds of wires and pipes running in and out of them.

The same goes for Hank's building. How's it powered? It must have its own generator if the entire building can be carried away. Does it have its own water supply and sewage disposal system as well? And what about that handle? Are there giant shafts inside the building housing it?

And of course the same problems relating to Ant-Man's shrinking ability apply also apply here. Hank says his Pym Particles shrink objects by reducing the space between their molecules. Fair enough. That would shrink an object, but it wouldn't alter its mass. If his office building weighs 10,000 tons when it's full size, it'll weigh that much when it's a foot tall. There's no way in hell Hank pull it along behind him.

Ah, but not so fast! It seems I was totally wrong about the nature of this office. According to the filmmakers, Hank didn't take a full-sized building and shrink it. Instead he built a miniature office and ENLARGED it! This explains how he (and every other cast member at some point in the film) is able to pick up the building and run around with it.

You can actually see this in the film. If you look closely in certain scenes, you can see a giant Duracell battery in the lab, which explains how the building's powered!

Other parts of the lab look like they're made of embiggened stereo and electronic components as well.

And supposedly the Quantum Tunnel is constructed of erector set parts. I'd have to see the movie again to confirm that though.

The idea of enlarging a tiny building instead of shrinking a large one is pretty cool, and subverts the audience's expectations in a fun and novel way. Unfortunately the way the movie's shot, this concept doesn't come across at all. It's wayyyyy too subtle.

I don't need every little detail spoon-fed to me, but I feel they definitely should have made this notion a bit more clear.

Of course this still doesn't explain why everything inside the building stays perfectly in place when people are carrying it around and running with it. Realistically (!) all the contents should be overturned and lying on the floor every time Hand & Co. enter the lab.

• More scientific nitpicking: Hank has a fleet of full-sized cars that he's shrunken down to Hot Wheels size. In fact he even stores them in an old school Hot Wheels Rally Case— the kind shaped like a wheel! 

Each of the cars contains a gear shift-like lever that causes it to shrink and grow. There's a big action setpiece in which Burch and his men chase after Hope, who shrinks and enlarges her vehicle (and herself inside it, of course) to get away.

Here's where those pesky old laws of physics butt in once again and ruin all the fun. It just ain't possible for a tiny car to keep up with a normal size one, much less outrun it.

Think of it this way. Hot Wheels cars are 1/64 scale (meaning they're 1/64th the size of the real thing). That means when a shrunken car's speedometer shows it driving at 30 mph, it's actually driving much, much slower around .4 miles per hour, if my math is right. That's because the tiny car's engine and tires are now sixty four times smaller than normal.

So if Burch's car is speeding through the streets at 60 mph, Hope's miniaturized car would have to be going the equivalent of 3,840 miles per hour just to keep up! It seems unlikely the engine would be capable of doing that.

• Eventually we find out that Bill Foster isn't evil, he's just trying to save Ghost before she phases out of existence altogether. To that end, he wants Hank's lab so he can use the Quantum Tunnel to siphon energy from Janet, and use it to stabilize Ghost. Unfortunately, this process will kill Janet in the process.

But why do they need to drain energy from Janet in the first place? Where'd Janet absorb all her Quantum Energy? From the Quantum Realm, of course. So why can't Ghost just absorb the energy directly from the Realm, instead of getting it from Janet? Why does she have to be the middleman, er, woman?

Heck, in the mid-credits scene we see Scott enter the Realm to collect more energy to permanently stabilize Ghost. That pretty much proves she didn't need to get it from Janet.

The only reason the writers did this is because the movie needed for Ghost to be a threat, and they wanted to place Janet in danger for dramatic purposes.

• So Scott's a free man at the end of the movie, but what about Hank and Hope? Are they still wanted by the law for collaborating with Ant-Man during the Sokovia Affair? As far as I know, the movie never says one way or the other.

• How about that mid-credits scene? Apparently the end of this film coincides with that of Avengers: Infinity War, as Hope, Hank and Janet are all snapped out of existence. I heard quite a few audible gasps at my showing, as the audience figured out what just happened. Now THAT's how you end a movie!

Sucks to be Janet though. She was stuck in the Quantum Realm for thirty years, and a week after she finally escapes she gets turned to dust.

Ant-Man And The Wasp is a worthy followup to the original film, and continues Marvel Studios' seemingly unstoppable winning streak. While it doesn't outdo the original film, it does manage to add to the mythology and advance the characters sufficiently. It's also nice to see a "small stakes" superhero movie for a change. One which concerns itself with the life of one character, and doesn't involve the destruction of the world. I gave the original film a much too enthusiastic A-, even though it deserved a B+ at best. That's what I'm giving this one as well. A nice, solid B+.

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