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Ant-Man and The Wasp: Release date, cast, plot and reviews

Get all the buzz about the next Marvel superhero movie, which helps move events toward the hush-hush Avengers 4.

Marvel Studios

Ant-Man and The Wasp will buzz into theaters this summer, making it the third Marvel Cinematic Universe movie of 2018. While it may not boast the fanbase of Black Panther or the intense interest of Avengers: Infinity War, the film about the tiny heroes is earning some outsized attention.

As Infinity War viewers already know, Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) didn't take part un the war, and this film should explain why. Don't expect to walk out of the theater knowing exactly what Avengers 4 will bring, but a few more of the puzzle pieces might slide into place as we lurch towards that 2019 film. Here's what we know so far, and we'll update this story as news trickles out. BYO bug spray.

Now playing: Watch this: Ant-Man and The Wasp: What to know
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Reviews, reception

Social media seemed to enjoy the film, with first reactions on calling director Peyton Reed's sequel fun and unique. Meanwhile, CNET's own editors Caitlin Petrakovitz and Eric Franklin called it the perfect post-Avengers palate cleanser after the death and destruction of Infinity War

"It's a silly, fun comedy, well-timed after the superhero smashes of the last few months, with an easy-to-follow plot (even with multiple foes) and a whole lot of love, making it one of the best MCU sequels," they write. 

As of Friday, June 29, it's gotten generally favorable reviews, with a rating of 70 on our sister site Metacritic

Release date, production info

Ant-Man and The Wasp comes out in the US on July 6, in Australia on July 5, and in the UK on Aug. 3. It's the sequel to 2015's Ant-Man, which starred Rudd as Scott Lang, the good-hearted thief turned hero. The movie was filmed mostly in Georgia, with scenes shot in San Francisco and Hawaii as well.

This one will give equal billing to The Wasp, also known as Hope Van Dyne, daughter of the original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne. Face it, Ant-Man needed a partner, and Marvel needed a female hero who could headline a film. Note Hope Van Dyne's last line in Ant-Man: "It's about damn time." Director Peyton Reed told Yahoo! "(That line) is absolutely about a larger thing. It's about damn time: We're going to have a fully realized, very very complicated hero in the next movie who happens to be a woman."

Our sister site ComicBook.com visited the set, and spoke with star Paul Rudd about how Ant-Man's suit differs in this film. "I guess on every one of these, they make modifications and, you know, the suit can do some different things but I think it's a little bit more streamlined," he said.

Evangeline Lily also gets in on the action even more this time around, telling ComicBook.com about her suit: "I have blasters on my wrists. I have my wings," she said. "Essentially there is like a reaction system to what I am thinking. So, I don't have to do anything physically to activate shrinking wings, blasters growing, none of that. I just think it and it happens." 

Cast: Who's who?

Returning characters

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Hannah John-Kamen stars as new villain Ghost.

Marvel Studios

New faces

Plot news, rumors and theories

Check your calendar: Even though Ant-Man and The Wasp itself comes out a few months after Avengers: Infinity War, the two movies aren't in sync. The official synopsis for the movie says it takes place after Captain America: Civil War, but doesn't get specific. Like... a day after Civil War? A month? Longer than that? We suspect the film might actually take place during Infinity War, a belief helped along by this video, where various Infinity War heroes muse about where exactly Ant-Man and The Wasp were during the big battle.

A new teaser trailer insinuates that Scott may have a feeling something big is coming: "I saw the end of everything," he says.

Busted: Actually, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) knows exactly where Ant-Man was: He was under house arrest. After the events of Civil War, he took a plea deal to protect his family, which explains the ankle bracelet he's seen wearing in one of the trailers. (ComicBook.com points out it's possible Scott slips the bracelet onto a human-sized ant who's seen playing the drums. Aw, that scene just makes us miss Ant-thony, the loyal ant Lang rode like a horse in the first movie.)

Haunted: The villain is Ghost, scorned by New York Magazine's Vulture as a "C-tier comics character." She seems to have stolen some technology and is planning to take over the world with it, as all supervillains do. In the comics, Ghost was male, but in the movie, she's played by Hannah John-Kamen. "The Ghost character could be male, female, anything, so it just seemed more interesting to us [to cast a woman]," director Peyton Reed told Entertainment Weekly. "Ghost's primary power is the ability to 'phase,' which allows Ghost to move through solid matter. She has all sorts of strange versions of that phasing power -- it proves quite difficult for Ant-Man and Wasp to deal with."

Quantum leap: In the first movie, the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), explains how his wife Janet was lost in the Quantum Realm, sacrificing herself to become so small she could slip between the molecules of a missile. Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) is Hope's mom, and we expect a mother-and-child reunion in this film. The mysteries of the Quantum Realm, and the knowledge Janet gained there, could set things up nicely to help the heroes of Avengers 4.

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Scott Lang definitely heads to the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man and the Wasp. 

Marvel Studios

A pioneer: Lilly is nervous about ensuring The Wasp lives up to the many male heroes who've headlined Marvel movies before. "I have often asked myself during the filming process, how am I going to make her special?" she told Vanity Fair. "I mean how do I make this character count, and how do I make her stand out? Because she's the first titled female superhero in the Marvel Universe, and I would hate to be that great big disappointment to the fans. That would mortify me."

Laugh it up: The film is supposed to be much more light hearted than Avengers: Infinity War. (But then, so is your average funeral.) Christopher Markus, one of Infinity War's screenwriters, told Collider that the reason Ant-Man and The Wasp wasn't teased in Infinity War's post-credit scenes was the shift in tone between the films. "Marvel tags often point to the next movie coming," Markus said. "The next movie is Ant-Man and the Wasp, which is light-hearted -- you don't wanna go, 'But meanwhile! Paul Rudd is still adorable!'"

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This piece was originally published June 7 and is updated as we get ever-closer to the film's opening.

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