Ant-Man and the Wasp is a 2018 American superhero film based on Marvel Comics featuring the characters Scott Lang / Ant-Man and Hope Pym / Wasp. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the sequel to Ant-Man(2015) and the 20th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Peyton Reed and written by the writing teams of Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, and Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari. It stars Rudd as Lang and Evangeline Lilly as Van Dyne, alongside Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip "T.I." Harris, David Dastmalchian, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, and Michael Douglas. In Ant-Man and the Wasp, the titular pair work with Hank Pym to retrieve Janet van Dyne from the Quantum Realm.
Talks for a sequel to Ant-Man began shortly after that film was released. Ant-Man and the Wasp was officially announced in October 2015, with Rudd and Lilly returning to reprise their roles. A month later, Ant-Man director Reed was officially set to return. He had joined the first film later in the process and was excited to develop this one from the beginning. He also looked forward to introducing Hope van Dyne as the Wasp in this film, and insisted on treating Lang and her as equals. Filming took place from August to November 2017, at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayette County, Georgia, as well as Metro Atlanta, San Francisco, Savannah, Georgia, and Hawaii.
Ant-Man and the Wasp had its world premiere in Hollywood on June 25, 2018, and was released in the United States on July 6, 2018, as part of Phase Three of the MCU. The film was a critical and commercial success, receiving praise for its levity, humor, and performances, particularly those of Rudd and Lilly, and grossed over $622 million worldwide. A sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, is scheduled for release in February 2023.
Two years after Scott Lang was placed under house arrest due to his involvement with the Avengers, in violation of the Sokovia Accords, Hank Pym and his daughter Hope van Dyne briefly manage to open a tunnel to the Quantum Realm. They believe Pym's wife Janet van Dyne might be trapped there after shrinking to sub-atomic levels in 1987. When he had previously visited the quantum realm, Lang had unknowingly become quantumly entangled with Janet, and now he receives an apparent message from her.
With only days left of house arrest, Lang contacts Pym about Janet, despite the strained relationship they have because of Lang's actions with the Avengers. Hope and Pym kidnap Lang, leaving a large ant with Lang's ankle-monitor on as a decoy so as not to arouse the suspicions of FBI agent Jimmy Woo. Believing the message from Janet is confirmation that she is alive, the trio work to build a stable quantum tunnel so they can take a vehicle to the quantum realm and retrieve her. They arrange to buy a part needed for the tunnel from black-market dealer Sonny Burch, but Burch realizes the potential profit to be made from Pym's research and double-crosses them. Donning the Wasp outfit, Hope fights off Burch and his men until she is attacked by a quantumly unstable masked woman. Lang tries to help fight off this "ghost", but the woman escapes with Pym's lab, which has been shrunk down to the size of a suitcase.
Pym reluctantly takes Hope and Lang to visit his estranged former partner Bill Foster, who gives them a way to locate the lab. After finding it, the ghost captures the trio and reveals herself to be Ava Starr. Her father, Elihas, was another of Pym's former partners who died along with his wife during an experiment that caused her unstable state. Foster enters and reveals that Ava is dying and in constant pain as a result of her condition. They plan to cure her using Janet's quantum energy. Believing that this will kill Janet, Pym refuses to help them and escapes with Hope, Lang, and the lab.
Opening a stable version of the tunnel, Pym, Hope, and Lang are able to contact Janet, who gives them a precise location to find her but warns that they only have two hours before the unstable nature of the realm separates them for a century. Using a truth serum, Burch learns the trio's location from Lang's business partners Luis, Dave, and Kurt, and informs a contact at the FBI. Luis warns Lang, who rushes home before Woo can see that he is violating his house arrest. Pym and Hope are arrested by the FBI, allowing Ava to take the lab.
Lang is soon able to help Pym and Hope escape custody, and they find the lab. Lang and Hope distract Ava while Pym enters the quantum realm to retrieve Janet, whom he finds alive. Meanwhile, Lang and Hope are confronted by Burch and his men, and following a lengthy chase, Ava regains control of the lab, allowing her to begin taking Janet's energy by force. Luis, Dave, and Kurt incapacitate Burch and his men so that Lang and Hope can stop Ava. Pym and Janet return safely from the quantum realm, and Janet voluntarily gives some of her energy to Ava to temporarily stabilize her.
Lang returns home once again, in time for a now-suspicious Woo to release him at the end of his house arrest. Ava and Foster go into hiding. In a mid-credits scene, Pym, Lang, Hope, and Janet plan to harvest quantum energy to help Ava remain stable. While Lang is in the quantum realm doing this, the other three turn to dust.
- Paul Rudd as Scott Lang / Ant-Man:
A former petty criminal who acquired a suit that allows him to shrink or grow in scale while also increasing in strength. Following the events of Captain America: Civil War(2016), in which Lang escapes from the Raft prison, director Peyton Reed said that "he's a fugitive in most of the first Ant-Man (2015) movie. He's just a bigger fugitive now." Rudd was interested in Lang being a regular person rather than "innately heroic or super", and to be driven by his desire to be a responsible parent.
- Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne / Wasp:
The daughter of Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne who is handed down a similar suit and the Wasp mantle from her mother. The writers were excited to be able to give the character a proper introduction as the Wasp, showing her "power set, how she fights, and what are the injustices that matter to her". Lilly felt the character receives "incredible satisfaction" from becoming the Wasp, "something that she has been waiting for her whole life, which is essentially an affirmation from her father." Her relationship with Lang is more complicated than in the first film, and includes anger towards his actions during Captain America: Civil War. Lilly felt it was important that Hope "be an extremely empathetic and compassionate person" and that she should "always push for feminine qualities to be apparent when she is dealing with situations." In her fight sequences, Lilly wanted to move away from the more masculine Muay Thai and MMA-style of fighting that she had learned for the first film, noting that Hope moves differently from a man, so her fights should have "elegance, grace and femininity" with "a signature style" young girls could enjoy and emulate. Lilly worked with the writers to help ensure that Hope was able to "represent a modern woman" without becoming the stereotype of a motherly figure. Madeleine McGraw portrays a young Hope van Dyne.
- Michael Peña as Luis:
Lang's former cellmate and a member of his X-Con Security crew. There was less opportunity for Peña to improvise compared to the first film, where he and Rudd were still developing the character during filming. The creative team wanted to feature another scene of Luis "riffing a long story" as he did in the first film, but did not want to repeat themselves; they were able to take a different approach by giving the character truth serum in a scene for this film.
- Walton Goggins as Sonny Burch:
A "low-level criminal-type" who wants Pym's technology to sell on the black market.
- Bobby Cannavale as Jim Paxton:
A police officer, married to Lang's ex-wife, Maggie.
- Judy Greer as Maggie:
- Tip "T.I." Harris as Dave:
A member of Lang's X-Con Security crew.
- David Dastmalchian as Kurt:
A member of Lang's X-Con Security crew.
- Hannah John-Kamen as Ava Starr / Ghost:
A woman with molecular instability, who can phase through objects; she is only considered a "villain" because her attempts at survival clash with the heroes' goals. The character is traditionally portrayed as male in the comics, but the creative team believed that the character's gender was irrelevant, and felt that casting a woman would be more interesting. It also allowed them to continue the fathers-and-daughters theme that embraced other characters in the film. John-Kamen enjoyed the "blank-slate" situation, which allowed her to make the character her own. Producer Stephen Broussard said that they wanted to cast a lesser-known actress to help maintain the mystery of the character, and John-Kamen "blew us away". RaeLynn Bratten portrays a young Ava Starr.
- Abby Ryder Fortson as Cassie Lang:
The daughter of Lang and Maggie.
- Randall Park as Jimmy Woo:
An FBI agent and Lang's parole officer.
- Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet van Dyne:
Pym's wife, Hope's mother, and the original Wasp, who is lost in the Quantum Realm. Pfeiffer was Reed's dream casting for the role when he was working on the first film and he ensured that he received her input on the character. He noted that the character has spent 30 years in the quantum realm, so there is a question regarding how that has affected her. Producer Kevin Feige explained that the character ages over those 30 years, even though time works differently in the quantum realm, to avoid any "sci-fi weirdness" that could take away from the emotional reunions with Pym and Hope in the film. Michelle Pfeiffer was de-aged to portray young Janet van Dyne, with Hayley Lovitt acting as a reference double. Lovitt portrayed Janet in the first film, before Pfeiffer became involved with the franchise. Reed explained that Lovitt had been cast for the first film because of her "saucer-like, Michelle Pfeiffer eyes."
- Laurence Fishburne as Bill Foster:
An old friend of Pym, who was once his assistant on Project Goliath. Fishburne approached Marvel about joining the MCU, pitching them a few ideas about whom he could portray, before Marvel offered him the role of Foster in this film. Fishburne had already played Perry White for DC Films, but he said that he had always fantasized about being in an MCU film, admitting that he considers himself a "Marvel guy". Reed likened the rivalry between Foster and Pym to that of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, and wanted an actor who could go "toe-to-toe" with Michael Douglas. Laurence Fishburne was de-aged to portray young Bill Foster, with Langston Fishburne, Laurence's son, acting as a reference double.
- Michael Douglas as Hank Pym:
An entomologist, physicist, and former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, who became the original Ant-Man after discovering the subatomic particles that make the transformation possible.Pym has grown a lot closer to his daughter Hope since the first film, and according to Feige, he has "that joy of fatherhood" in watching her become a superhero in her own right. Reed was attracted to the "morally dubious" decisions Pym sometimes makes.Douglas was de-aged to portray young Hank Pym, with Dax Griffin acting as a reference double, having done so for the first film as well.
Additionally, Stan Lee, co-creator of the titular heroes, has a cameo in the film as a man whose car is shrunk by accident. Michael Cerveris appears as Ava's father Elihas Starr, while Riann Steele plays his wife and Ava's mother Catherine. Tim Heidecker and Brian Huskey appear in cameos as a whale boat captain named Daniel Gooobler and a teacher at Cassie's school, respectively. Sonny Burch's team of men includes Divian Ladwa as Uzman, Goran Kostić as Anitolov, and Rob Archer as Knox, while Sean Kleier portrays Stoltz, Burch's FBI inside man and Jimmy Woo's subordinate. Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster of The Best Show make brief appearances as Burch's SUV drivers.
Ant-Man and the Wasp grossed $216.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $406 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $622.7 million. Following its opening, Deadline Hollywood estimated the film would turn a net profit of around $100 million. It became the eleventh highest-grossing film of 2018.
Ant-Man and the Wasp earned $33.8 million on its opening day in the United States and Canada (including $11.5 million from Thursday night previews), and a total opening weekend of $75.8 million; this was a 33% improvement over the first film's debut of $57.2 million. Its opening included $6 million from IMAX screens. In its second weekend, the film earned $28.8 million, coming in second behind Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, and in its third weekend grossed $16.1 million, coming in fourth. The film placed sixth in its fourth weekend, seventh in its fifth weekend, and tenth in its sixth weekend.
Outside the United States and Canada, the film earned $85 million from 41 markets, where it opened number one in all except New Zealand. Its South Korea opening was $20.9 million (which included previews). The $15.5 million opening from the market without previews was the second-best opening of 2018 behind Avengers: Infinity War. In its second weekend, playing in 44 markets, it remained number one in Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Singapore. The film opened in France in its third weekend, earning $4.1 million, and opened in Germany in its fourth, where it was number one and earned $2.8 million, including previews. The next weekend saw Ant-Man and the Wasp open at number one (when including previews) in the United Kingdom, where it earned $6.5 million, and two weeks later, Italy opened number one with $2.7 million (including previews). In its eighth weekend, the film's $68 million opening in China was the fourth-best MCU opening in China and the third-highest Hollywood film opening of 2018. $7.2 million was from IMAX, which was the best August IMAX opening in China. The film opened in Japan the next weekend, earning $3.7 million, which was the top Western film for the weekend. As of September 9, 2018, the film's largest markets were China ($117.5 million), South Korea ($42.4 million), and the United Kingdom ($21.5 million).
On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 87% with an average rating of 7/10, based on 428 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "A lighter, brighter superhero movie powered by the effortless charisma of Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly, Ant-Man and The Wasp offers a much-needed MCU palate cleanser." On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 70 out of 100, based on 56 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale, down from the "A" earned by the first film.
A sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, is scheduled to be released on February 17, 2023, with Reed returning to direct and Jeff Loveness writing the script. Rudd, Lilly, Douglas, and Pfeiffer reprise their roles, while Kathryn Newton takes over as Cassie Lang. Jonathan Majors joins as Kang the Conqueror.