(director: Peyton Reed; screenwriters: Paul Rudd/Erik Sommers/Chris McKenna/Andrew Barre/Gabriel Ferrari; cinematographer: Dante Spinotti; editors: Dan Lebental, Craig Wood; music: Christophe Beck; cast: Paul Rudd (Ant Man/Scott Lang), Evangeline Lilly (Hope Van Dyne/Wasp), Michael Pena (Luis), Walton Goggins (Sonny Burch), Bobby Cannavale (Paxton), Judy Greer (Maggie), Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris (Dave), David Dastmalchian (Kurt), Hannah John-Kamen (Ava/Ghost), Abby Ryder (Cassie), Randall Park (Jimmy Woo), Michelle Pfeiffer (Janet Van Dyne/Wasp), Laurence Fishburne (Dr. Bill Foster), Michael Douglas (Dr. Hank Pym); Runtime: 118; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Kevin Feige, Stephen Broussard; Walt Disney Pictures; 2018)

Comic book fun and comic book shallow.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A Marvel Comic book feature via Disney, that’s comic book fun and comic book shallow. I’ve grown comic book weary from the overgenerous supply of such films recently released and aside from a few goofy gags and a few freshening irreverent moments, I found it a burden to watch its dull plot unfold. It’s a franchise film made to be appealing to the masses as escapist entertainment, which it probably accomplishes for such comic book movie fans but not for all. Writers Paul Rudd, Erik Sommers, Chris McKenna, Andrew Barre and Gabriel Ferrari hand in a disposable script and Peyton Reed (“The Break-Up”/”Yes Man”) directs the sequel to his 2015 Ant Man with a flair for keeping things small and smaller.

The former thief and now crime fighter, known as the superhero Ant-Man, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), has a few more days of house arrest after nabbed two years ago for violating the Marvel Universe’s superheroes-must-register law of the Sokovia Accords to go fight with “Captain America: Civil War” in Berlin. The Ant-Man as punishment sports a police ankle monitor and is stuck at his San Francisco home playing inside with his drums and 10-year-old daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder). The problem arises that his scientist mentor Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), the inventor of a shrinking formula that comes with gaining superhuman strength, and his daughter Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), need his help to retrieve Hank’s dear miniaturized wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), who was falsely thought to be dead when 30 years ago she was submerged in the Quantum Realm (the subatomic dimension in which one gets lost forever if one shrinks too much). Hank and Hope have built a tunnel to that dimension, that has a tiny submarine-type gadget for both to ride in after shrinking. This means the inventor and his daughter smuggle Scott out of his house so he’s undetected. We should be aware that Ant-Man himself survived a brief descent into the Quantum Realm at the end of the last film. It now seems as if Janet’s consciousness united with Ant-Man’s while he was down there and, thereby with this new info, it’s assumed she is probably still alive in this infinitesimal alt-universe. On the journey Ant-Man and the Wasp must contend with a supervillain–the Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), Howard’s mysterious disgruntled colleague. The lady passes through walls and other solid objects and now wants Howard’s technology, which displeases her surrogate father (Laurence Fishburne). Plus there’s black market operator Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), a corrupt restaurateur and businessman who wants Hank’s world-altering research laboratory for nefarious purposes. Also, Scott has to evade the Fed/S.H.I.E.L.D agents, under Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), who watch over his house arrest, which means he must get help from an hilarious Luis (Michael Pena), his former cellmate, now in a security-consultant business with partners (David Dastmalchian & Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris), to elude them and stop Sonny.

Things seemed forced with constant references to other Marvel projects, with all the goofiness afoot it seemed too goofy and with all the subplots it seemed murky.