Peyton Reed

Still healing from the sting of AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR? Marvel’s newest release, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP, will help lift your spirits. The film is a hybrid of sorts, combining elements of the crime, comedy and romance genres. AMC sat down with director Peyton Reed to discuss his second Marvel movie — the 20th in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

“The thing I like about the ANT-MAN movies is they occupy their own space in the MCU,” Reed said. “I think it’s what the MCU does best. It really allows filmmakers to mix up the tone and genre, and yet they are all able to fit into the same universe.”

The plot of ANT-MAN AND THE WASP has been kept fairly vague, possibly intentionally. (More on that speculation in a minute.) In short, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is dealing with the ramifications of his actions in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR when he’s approached by Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) with a life-or-death mission.

“The stakes in the movie are really personal,” Reed said, but he offered no spoilers of any kind, focusing mostly on the characters’ growth from the first film and how that affected the story. Two characters, however, were absent from the conversation, though they both appear in the poster: Janet van Dyne, Dr. Pym’s wife, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, and Dr. Bill Foster, Dr. Pym’s former lab assistant, played by Laurence Fishburne.

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In the comics, Janet is the original Wasp; Dr. Foster is Black Goliath. In the film’s trailer, Dr. Foster tells Scott he worked on the “Goliath project” with Dr. Pym, possibly foreshadowing the introduction of his superhero alter ego. We can only wait to find out what role these characters will play on screen.

What we do know is the sequel will maintain the balance of action and humor. “Paul and I have a very, very shockingly similar sense of humor,” Reed said of the Ant-Man star, who co-wrote the script. “We really developed a short hand, and we kind of know what we find funny, what we don’t find funny.”

But the story isn’t all laughs. Reed said there is “lots of double crossing” and internal conflict in ANT-MAN AND THE WASP. For Scott, who Reed calls “the everyman of the MCU,” being a superhero has “only brought him trouble.”

“He wants to be there for his daughter,” Reed explained. “He wants to be a good father — that’s the thing that’s important for him … if he can figure out a way to be a hero and have that relationship intact and not threatened, I think he’d be good with it.”

Hope, on the other hand, has been waiting for and working toward her suit. While her father, Dr. Pym, held her back in the first ANT-MAN, she’s a “wholly formed hero” in the sequel.

“The movie is called ANT-MAN AND THE WASP, and it’s very much about the two of them,” Reed said. “[Hope] is not a supporting character in this movie — she’s a lead in this movie.” Their partnership is one of the things that made Reed most excited for the film. “They are both formidable characters,” Reed continued. “But they have very different points of view on the world.”

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Michael Peña’s Luis also returns to the big screen as an evolved character. Since the last film, Luis has left behind his life of crime and become a small business owner. “The character of Luis is something that has really been crucial to the ANT-MAN movies,” Reed said. “He’s the most positive character in the movie,” and he even ends up helping Dr. Pym, Scott and Hope with their mission.

We also meet new villain the Ghost. Fans of Marvel Comics may be familiar with the character, who was linked with Iron Man. Reed and his team ended up choosing the Ghost for ANT-MAN AND THE WASP because of his powerset; however, in the film, the Ghost is female and played by Hannah John-Kamen.

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“We liked the idea of switching genders, because it really made sense with the thematic of our movie,” which surrounds father-daughter relationships, Reed said. For the director, every decision goes back to the story. “We had a very clear story we wanted to do in the script phase,” he said, “But within that story, we wanted to be able to bend things and provide amazing visuals an audience hasn’t seen before.”

The level of detail put into the imagery and sound of ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is something you can only experience in a theatre. Reed said the film “demands to be seen big” and with a group of people. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Get your tickets today for the July 6 release of ANT-MAN AND THE WASP at AMC.