Slow first half brings down ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’

The trailers were funny and the release anticipation was high based on the amount of people in the theater on a late Friday morning. Or could it have been the heat? Regardless, this is another chapter in the Marvel series where Ant Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) teams up with the Wasp/Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly). You may remember her from past Marvel chapters but I remember her best from the “Lost” series.

We start with Lang at the end of his two year house arrest with ankle bracelet playing with his weekend daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) searching out treasure in a cardboard box maze at the top of a three-story house. I mention this because any child is going to want you to build one for them. At the end of the maze they slide down a cardboard encased slide on interior stairs to exterior stairs down multiple flights terminating at the fence whereupon Lang's foot goes through the fence. His ankle bracelet pierces his confinement perimeter which summons about 15 FBI agents led by Jimmie Woo (Randall Park). Park's character is a clinical and sanitary Inspector Clouseau-inspired investigator oblivious to life's nuances. Woo wants nothing other than busting Lang and making him do 20 years prison time. Woo sets the stage for the tension created later when Lang is pressed to return home before being discovered.

This sets up one of several subplots that have the movie going into so many directions during the first half that it's almost confusing. And the set up isn't that smooth thus making the movie drag a bit. If it weren't for Lang's humor, the verbal sparring with Hope and a few exchanges with Dr. Pym (Michael Douglas) it would almost be snooze-worthy. Throw in Lang's new security company that includes Luis (Michael Pena), who is outstanding; Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) partnering up with Dr. Foster (Laurence Fishbourne) who wants Pym's device to save Ghost; and then Pym who needs the device to save his wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) and you see the source of the confusion.

It all comes down to the device that enables travel to the Quantam Realm. There are several well-choreographed fights, new weapon usage and the hilarious changes between big and small that fuel an entertaining experience. I think I still have one of those Hot Wheels carrying cases.

The second half goes a lot better and smoother. You know what drives the characters and why. Now we get to see how they execute their missions. At the end, the differing groups come together and most, if not all, goals are met. I was a little disappointed in how Ghost and Fishbourne ended their portion of the story. I was hoping to see Ghost get together with Luis somehow. But it was probably left open-ended for a reason: think Ghost chapter.

The movie runs almost a full two hours at 118 minutes and is rated PG-13. Stay after the initial credits to see the final minutes which undoubtedly lead to another story. I laughed a few times and cared for some of the characters and watched with anticipation. Isn't that the goal? Too bad the first half was so slow. I'll give it 3 out of 5 Miners.