Wednesday, June 27th, 2018 at 12:50 pm
Ant-Man and the Wasp Director: Peyton Reed Writers: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari, Paul Rudd Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael PeÃ±a, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip “T.I.” Harris, David Dastmalchian, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas Studio: Marvel Studios
Rated PG-13 | 118 Minutes Release Date: July 7, 2018
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is in a very interesting place right now. There is no doubt the fallout of the Avengers: Infinity War left some very deep emotional scars for fans and non-fans alike. That film took some pretty bold risks. And it paid off. Now the studio who placed their success on B-list heroes and relative unknowns can afford to make a few more gambles. Most of which will pay off anyway given the studio’s history. So it should come as no surprise that Ant-Man and the Wasp is yet another solid Marvel Studios film.
The sequel doubles down on the shrinking and growing abilities and integrates those elements into the innovative action sequences to deliver a visual feast that is big on excitement. Check out my full review below.
Ant-Man and the Wasp takes place after the events of Captain America: Civil War with Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) serving his sentence for treason under house arrest. The affable hero is forced to turn his entire home into a playground in order to keep his daughter, Cassie, entertained. But even with its cardboard budget, it looks like Scott is still the best father in the world to his daughter. That is until, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) come out of hiding for being unwitting accomplices to Scott for giving him the suit, and ask for Scott’s help in a new dangerous mission that could help rescue Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) to escape the Quantum Realm.
The only problem is, The Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) and Sonny Boursch (Walton Goggins) are after Pym’s new tech, and if in the wrong hands it could kill both Janet and the entire world.
Under normal circumstances, a sequel like this would have been preceded by just the title film. However, Ant-Man and the Wasp serves a sequel to both Ant-Man and Captain America: Civil War. The former having established the ground rules and tone of the title character, while the latter allows said title character to suffer the consequences of his actions. In the film, Hope and Hank are forced to go underground. Hiding from the government who initiated the Sokovia Accords which forced anyone with superhero abilities to register their names or go into retirement. Seeing that they had nothing to do with Scott’s actions, the two needed to stay out of sight if they were to rescue Janet.
And the only way Scott was going to return to the fold is if Scott had something of value. Without going into spoilers, Scott has something he didn’t know he even had to begin with, and he is the key that will help Hope and Hank bring their beloved Janet back from the Quantum Realm.
It’s pretty clear that director Peyton Reed had free range to do almost anything he wanted in Ant-Man and the Wasp. Building upon what he established in the first film, the sequel doubles down on the comedy, effects, and action set pieces to create something we’ve never seen before in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film. Whether it’s increasing your heart rate as a tiny Wasp runs across the blade of a knife that was just thrown or making you laugh as Wasp throws a Hello Kitty Pez dispenser to distract her pursuers, the way the shrinking effects are used in tandem with the action set pieces are both exhilarating and hilarious.
That chase sequence is one of the most exciting since Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It may not be entirely comedic as Winter Soldier, but it uses the shrinking and growing abilities to great effect both on a comedic and suspenseful level. You never quite know how or what they will use at that time.
That said, the film works well as a self-contained comedy that exists in the MCU. It’s not as concerned about what is going on outside of their own world. Although, they are dealing with the repercussions. The events of Civil War act as a springboard for the sequel, with the team having to deal with the fallout of Scott’s decision to steal the suit. This forces Hank and Hope to go on the run and hide from the law. But there are no stones for these characters to worry about. Well, none that they are aware of.
But perhaps the most endearing thing about Ant-Man and the Wasp is its charm and sweetness. Scott is the kind of guy you can relate to. He may not be a raging monster, a super soldier, or a wall-crawler. A lot of his likability comes through that affable personality. And though he may not make the best decisions, he’ll do his best to atone for the bad ones. But if there is anything he is truly good at, it’s being a father.
As a self-contained comedy, the sequel has a villain or lack thereof, that isn’t black and white. There are no plans to rule or destroy the world. It’s all about rescuing a loved one. And that theme of family ripples throughout the film. We see it in Scott and his daughter Cassie, Hank and his daughter Hope, and Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) and his surrogate daughter and unwitting assassinating pawn Eva aka Ghost. See, Ava isn’t in this to help an organization fulfill an agenda or total annihilation, she needs the tech to help cure what is ailing her. Although he will accomplish that by any means necessary. Luckily, Bill is there to offer some guidance and much-needed parenting.
Unfortunately, some of the film’s predictability does take away from a great sting. And there are just a few things and relationships that the film fails to flesh out. Going into more details about said gripes would probably delve into spoiler territory, there are some things I just felt like weren’t fully explained due to either oversights or just because of the runtime. But it’s a comedy sequel, it’s going to have a relatively short runtime anyway.
Evangeline Lilly and Michael PeÃ±a are just perfect in their roles as Hope and Luis. The former finally gets a chance to spread her wings, fly, and sting. I honestly cannot wait to see more of The Wasp in future installments. If anything this sequel proved that she is ready for her own outing or be a part of the Avengers (whether that be the current team or an all-female version). And then there is Luis, who provides comedic jabs that bring in even more laughs. His storytelling is definitely some scene-stealing moments.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is a high-energy fun sequel from start to finish. By utilizing the comedy to great effect and fusing it into the action set pieces, the sequel delivers some of the most thrilling sequences that haven’t been seen in the MCU. Its self-containment also works to their advantage because it allows the film to act on its own while also being a part of that larger Marvel Cinematic Universe – just wait until you see how it ties together. And the sweet, charming, and funny qualities of the sequel are just the kind of thing the MCU needs following what happened in Avengers: Infinity War.
So while there may be a few tiny flaws, Ant-Man and the Wasp is yet another sold Marvel Studios film that opens the door for more interesting crossovers.