When I heard that Marvel Studios was planning to do an Ant-Man movie; I must admit that I rolled my eyes. I thought to myself, “Ant-Man is a B-stringer. Why give him a solo flick?” However, I suppose I was making a mountain out of an ant hill. In the end, I thought the film worked just fine. Even so, I would put it on the lower-end of the pantheon of The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Ant-Man and The Wasp finds our heroes from the original film separated. Following the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016), Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is under house-arrest. Thankfully though, he only has three days to go before he is once again a free man. Meanwhile, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and her father and the original Ant-Man, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) are working on technology to enter The Quantum Realm. The father-daughter scientific duo hopes that they can find the long-lost Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer).
However, new threats soon take precedence for our pint or giant-sized heroes. It seems everyone wants Pym’s technologies for themselves. There’s a black-market profiteer, Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), who is set on getting the tech for himself after Hope refuses to partner up with him. Worse yet, there’s a bigger (and super) villain known as Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen); who will do anything she needs to get all of Pym’s tech and does. Now, it’s a race against the clock as Scott and Hope must team up as Ant-Man and The Wasp to retrieve their technology before it can be utilized nefariously.
Having seen my fair share of bad movies recently, perhaps my expectations for the film in review were just too low. But, I must say that I very much enjoyed Ant-Man and The Wasp! While we’ve been treated to some good comic-book movies this year, I wouldn’t call the majority of them fun. The fact of the matter is that this year’s previous MCU entries, Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War are heavy films. Well, that is not the case with Ant-Man and The Wasp. No, this film is two hours of pure fun!
In my estimation, it seems the cast and crew of this picture genuinely have a handle on this material, the second time around. That’s no surprise though, as the original Ant-Man was a troubled production. Initially, writer/director Edgar Wright (Baby Driver) was supposed to helm the 2015 film. Alas, after experiencing creative differences with Marvel Studios, the filmmaker and the studio parted ways. As a result, director Peyton Reed (Yes Man) was brought in to take over the film. Having had a smoother production, Ant-Man and The Wasp is a sequel in which Reed, who returns as director, his cast and crew, and the studio are all working in tandem wonderfully.
Quite simply, the Ant-Man universe is just better established in this follow-up than it was in its predecessor. Therefore, this cast also is at the top of their craft as they are now working in a world in which they’re all comfortable. Granted, I do find Evangeline Lilly do a bit of stiff actress. However, the chemistry between she and Rudd is magnetic. The whole cast here are given something of note to do, and I particularly enjoyed most of the new characters introduced here.
Now for as much as I enjoy Ant-Man and the Wasp, the film isn’t without its flaws. As great the cast is, this movie feels just a little overcrowded at times. Mind you, is a flick with a ticking clock narrative. Thus, it just feels like some of the characters are occasional distractions during the adventure. Of course, that problem could be rectified if the pacing was tightened up, as the third act drags a bit.
Then there’s that problem that has reared its ugly head many times in the MCU. Yup, you guessed it, the weak villain. While Ava/Ghost is an interesting character; I found her to be problematic as an antagonist. She is too sympathetic as the film goes to great lengths to paint her as such. Therefore, it’s too easy to forget she’s a threat. Lest I forget Sonny Birch, who is nothing more than a comic villain and therefore, also lacks menace. Although I must say that Goggins is a pleasure to watch as usual.
For me, the Ant-Man movies finally have their place in this cinematic universe. They are light and fun movies. These movies are for the whole family as well, and I think that’s great. Sure, this movie is aimed at kids than other MCU installments, but 20 movies in, variety is essential! I found Ant-Man and The Wasp to be a refreshing cleanser after the heavy meal that was Infinity War. Moreover, it’s the most fun I’ve had with a comic-book movie thus far this year. Oh, and if you’re wondering how this movie ties into Infinity War? In a word, the two films tie together neatly.
Ant-Man and The Wasp is in Theaters Now!
The Next Installment in The MCU, Captain Marvel is Set for Release March 8, 2019!
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