With the release of Avengers: Infinity War, the team at Marvel has seemingly turned the superhero universe on its head. Who will live? Who is staying dead? The mind boggles. Luckily, director Peyton Reed and the creatives behind Ant-Man dropped their latest installment of the MCU comedy as a cinematic reminder to take a breath. Everything is going to be okay, kids. How does the new superhero movie Ant-Man and the Wasp match up to its MCU predecessors?
Ant Man and the Wasp follows the adventures of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) during the action of Avengers: Infinity War. The wanna-be superhero finds himself under house arrest after the events of Captain America: Civil War. However, it seems his time in the “Quantum Dimension” in the first Ant-Man somehow linked him to the long-missing Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer). Could the female scientist and superhero still be alive? Lang quickly finds himself once again working with Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) as they struggle to find the answers they need in order to rescue the original Wasp. Peyton Reed directed the film from a script by: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari.
This is the first Marvel instalment coming on the heels of Avengers: Infinity War. The superhero film was (while epic), also exhausting and highly emotional. By contrast, Ant-Man and the Wasp features a delightful change of pace from the heavier Infinity War. If any Marvel franchise can be considered the candy of the MCU, it is the Ant-Man movies. The script continues with the tone established in Ant-Man, developing it into a fun and effective sequel for MCU fans.
Once again, the supporting cast in Ant-Man and the Wasp prove to be stand-outs. It is difficult to not like Paul Rudd, who brings a likeable and relatable (though slightly man-child like) take on Scott Lang. He is charismatic and achieves an equally adorable chemistry with Lilly who shines as Hope. The two are completely natural together, and their pairing stands out as one of the better duos in the MCU.
As in the last film, Michael Peña once again carries much of the humour on his more than capable shoulders in the role of Luis. A part like his in the first Ant-Man is always a concern. Examples in pop culture have shown plenty of instances where popular supporting characters find themselves thrust into the spotlight, and suddenly everything making them funny disappears. Does everyone remember Joey? However, under the combined care of Peña and the equally capable Reed, Luis manages to not only grow as a character, but remains just as strong as he was in the first film.
Ultimately, the script could be a bit stronger. This is seen most noticeably in the villains. Ant-Man and the Wasp brings two villains to the narrative: Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) and Sonny (Walton Goggins). Barring a Martin Freeman-esque return to the franchise, Goggins is a typical disposable MCU villain. He doesn’t have a heck of a lot to do, and it shows.
However, the series has a more interesting figure in Ghost. A quick Google will show that quite a bit of creative license has been taken with this character, but it works. In fact, the new structure injects an interesting emotional depth to her narrative. This is a another villain (like Thanos) who audiences can almost “get”. Her backstory is enough to illicit some emotion and even understanding of her motives. After all, no one is truly the bad guy in their own story.
Ant-Man and the Wasp once again produces great action and stunt sequences, developing on the fun tone of the first film and even expanding upon it. It is particularly refreshing to see Hope and Ghost carrying a tremendous amount of the weight as it relates to the action. Marvel has gradually been moving to answer DC’s success with Wonder Woman and (especially since Thor: Ragnarok) has been improving with leaps and bounds. Both women are incredibly fun to watch and show that sometimes it’s the ladies who get to kick the butt and take the names.
This review is avoiding spoilers, but for the love of all that is good and awesome, stay till the very end of the credits. Ant Man and the Wasp uses every inch of their story-telling space. The post-credit sequences are interesting and show a return to form for Marvel in this area (some of the more recent have been somewhat lacking).
Fans of the MCU as well as the first Ant-Man movie should definitely add Ant-Man and the Wasp to their list. The movie manages not not only maintain the tone they established in the first film, but also expands on it. This is a fun and enjoyable sequel, perfect for beating the sweltering heat around the country this week.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is in theaters around the country now.