No ants in these pants

July 14, 2018 12:00 am | Updated 04:53 am IST

Paul Rudd’s sequel to his 2015 outing as a superhero is that funny, charming, feel-good chink in Marvel’s heavy armour

Not so super: “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is not your usual Marvel fare

Not so super: “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is not your usual Marvel fare

Right in the thick of things, Ant-Man, the ever charming and funny criminal-turned-superhero has a very important question during a serious conversation between the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). They’re discussing the quantum realm, quantum experiments and other quantum-related elements. Just then, Scott Lang aka Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) chimes in, “Do you guys just put quantum before everything?” It’s not his first inane quip to temper situations and it won’t have been the last. Rudd’s superhero may not be the most popular in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to get his own film, but he does have remarkable humour and wit going for him.

As expected Avengers: Infinity War (2018) turned out to be the biggest blockbuster to emerge from the Marvel kitty. While the superhero cinematic universe has been upping the ante with every single release, it seemed unlikely that any attempt could trump Infinity War . Unfortunately, that guesstimate has turned out to be very true indeed. So naturally Ant-Man and the Wasp has fallen short of filling the Grand Canyon-size hole that the previous Marvel outing has left.

Lang (Rudd) is under house arrest in the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War (post the enforcement of the Sokovia Accords). He’s lost touch with Pym, the original Ant-Man and Hope Van Dyne aka the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) who have gone into hiding fearing arrest. It’s on the chance that Janet, the original Wasp (Michelle Pfeiffer) — who vanished in the quantum realm — could still be alive that unites the trio.

There’s plenty of scientific mumbo jumbo involved to rescue Janet; evil guys have realised the potential price of Pym’s quantum technology; an underwhelming villain is the ant in the heroes’ ointment; and the FBI is on Lang’s tail or should we say gaster (the posterior of the many-legged hard-working insects).

Ant-Man and the Wasp has very little action, in which Lilly shines through and through. The sparse special effects are staid and par for the course. So ultimately director Peyton Reed focuses on the film’s strength: Rudd’s good-guy charm. Complement that with other comedic relief in the form of his crew — Luis (a hilarious Michael Peña), Dave (Tip “T.I.” Harris) and Kurt (David Dastmalchian) — and Reed’s got a winner. Even Fresh Off The Boat ’s Randall Park’s turn as the sweet FBI agent Jimmy Woo is a delight to watch, especially his repartee with Lang.

While Reed hasn’t quite broken the Marvel mould, he puts together a competent feel-good feature instead of the usual superhero spectacle.

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