Release Date(s)2018 (October 16, 2018)
Studio(s)Marvel Studios (Walt Disney Pictures)
- Film/Program Grade: C+
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: A-
- Extras Grade: C
After leaving audiences with a major cliffhanger in Avengers: Infinity War, it seemed odd timing to release two follow-up Marvel character films before launching into the record-breaking conclusion that was Avengers: Endgame. Once Captain Marvel had finished crashing through the box office like a wrecking ball (also creating a schism in the fan community and beyond), Ant-Man and the Wasp, the sequel to 2015’s well-received Ant-Man, crept its way into theaters.
Under house arrest after the events that took place in Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is living a solitary existence, but has become closer to his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson), his ex-wife Maggie (Judy Greer), and her husband Jim (Bobby Cannavale) in the interim. One day Scott experiences a flashback to his time in the quantum realm after going sub-atomic in the first film. He quickly informs Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lily) about it. Believing that he came into contact with Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer)—Hank’s wife and Hope’s mother who also went sub-atomic years ago but never returned—Hank utilizes Scott’s connection to Janet to create a quantum tunnel in order to bring her home.
Meanwhile, entrepreneurial criminal Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) is made privy to Hank’s use of quantum technology and wants to steal it for his own financial gain. Also in need of it is Ava (Hannah John-Kamen)—otherwise known as Ghost—who suffered an accident that left her molecular structure unstable and is slowly killing her in the process. Running out of time, she and her guardian Bill (Laurence Fishburne), an old colleague of Hank’s, also attempt to gain access to the quantum tunnel, which they believe will stabilize Ava’s cell structure. Attempting to keep everyone at bay, Hope takes over the mantle of the Wasp from her mother and helps Scott take on Burch and Ghost while avoiding the FBI, who are keen on catching Scott away from his home. Returning from the first film is Scott’s friend and audience favorite Luis (Michael Peña).
That’s certainly a complicated set of storylines, especially compared to the first film which was also not straightforward. The second film expands the story with far too many plots and characters, leaving things a bit muddled in the end. In fact, a couple of characters feel shoehorned in, either because of their connection to their first film or to provide quick but unnecessary obstacles for the leads. Yet, Ant-Man and the Wasp is not a film to hate on. It has moments worth appreciation, including a stirring car chase through the streets of San Francisco, but the film isn’t as clever or as funny as it thinks it is. Performances are good and the set pieces are mostly enjoyable, but perhaps a few things could have been red-lined and saved for other films (like Ghost, who felt sorely underwritten).
Ant-Man and the Wasp was shot digitally in the ARRIRAW codec at 6.5K, using Arri Alexa 65 (IMAX), Arri Alexa Mini, Arri Alexa SXT, and Panavision Millennium DXL cameras (and in Redcode RAW at 8K using Red Weapon Dragon cameras). It was finished as a 2K Digital Intermediate at the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, then upsampled for its UHD release and graded for high dynamic range in HDR10. It’s a lovely presentation, soaking in detail, and much more robust than its predecessor. The color palette offers a wide spectrum of hues, especially in the quantum realm where a literal kaleidoscope of colors can be seen. Blacks are inky deep and textures on skin and costumes are outstanding. Even the de-aging effects used on Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer hold up. It’s a visually rich presentation, to be sure.
The same goes for the English Dolby Atmos mix that’s provided. The soundstage isn’t quite as large as some of the other Marvel movies, but atmospherics and panning activity are frequent and effective. Bass is used sparingly, but kicks in successfully during moments of action and amps the score up nicely. Dialogue exchanges are clear and discernable and music selections are given added dimension. Additional audio options include English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, Quebec French 5.1 Dolby Digital, and 7.1 Dolby Digital in French, Spanish, German, and Italian. Subtitle options include English SDH, French, Quebec French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Korean, Swedish, Dutch, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), and Thai.
The accompanying Blu-ray offers the film in 1080p with audio options that include English 7.1 DTS-HD, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, and 5.1 Dolby Digital in Spanish and Portuguese. Optional subtitles include English SDH, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
The Ultra HD disc includes no extras, but the Blu-ray adds the following features (all in HD):
- Marvel: Contest of Champions Video Game Trailer (Opens Disc) (0:32)
- Marvel: Strike Force Video Game Trailer (Opens Disc) (0:32)
- Marvel: Future Fight Video Game Trailer (Opens Disc) (0:32)
- Marvel: Battle Lines Video Game Trailer (Opens Disc) (0:30)
- Back in the Ant Suit: Scott Lang Featurette (5:56)
- A Suit of Her Own: The Wasp Featurette (5:19)
- Subatomic Super Heroes: Hank & Janet Featurette (4:09)
- Quantum Perspective: The VFX and Production Design of Ant-Man and the Wasp Featurette (7:04)
- Gag Reel (1:31)
- Stan Lee Outtakes (0:46)
- Tim Heidecker Outtakes (1:29)
- Deleted Scenes (2 scenes with optional commentary – 01:38 in all)
- Audio Commentary by director Peyton Reed
The featurettes are mainly fluff pieces and not much else. The gag reel and outtakes are enjoyable, but the deleted scenes are inconsequential. Peyton Reed provides a decent audio commentary, but the lack of Paul Rudd’s involvement this time around is sorely missed. Unfortunately, the Blu-ray 3D version of the film isn’t included, but you do get a Movies Anywhere Digital code on a paper insert.
Upon its initial release, many seemed uninterested in Ant-Man and the Wasp. After all, finding out how everything turned out in the next Avengers film was more of a priority than the continuing adventures of Scott Lang. Yet the box office take proved substantial nonetheless. The UHD presentation of the film offers a satisfying A/V experience, so those looking to complete their Marvel 4K collection should be pleased with the presentation.
– Tim Salmons