As Scott Lang balances being both a Super Hero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past.
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Any Marvel film that was released after Avengers: Infinity War
and before Avengers 4
was going to have a hard time, especially one like Ant-Man and the Wasp
that is set slightly before the events of Infinity War
. Perhaps Marvel knew that, and rather than try to balance the tone of a light, Paul Rudd-led adventure with the somber, high stakes Avengers
epic, the studio decided to give fans a fun distraction without any of that weight.
In that regard, Ant-Man and the Wasp
delivers. It's just as fun and funny as the first film, with plenty of cool, size-changing effects. There are more opportunities to learn about the key cast of characters, especially Michael Douglas' Hank Pym and Evangeline Lilly's Hope Van Dyne/Wasp. But, at the end of the day, it's hard not to feel like this is a film that should have released before Infinity War
The story of Ant-Man and the Wasp
has a lot of roots in the Quantum Realm, the space that exists between atoms. The Quantum Realm was seen briefly in the first Ant-Man
, but in its sequel, it becomes a focal point. First off, Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Rudd), Pym, and Van Dyne are busy trying to rescue Hope's mother/Hank's wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the Quantum Realm. At the same time, the film's main villain, Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), is trying to understand the Quantum Realm to cure an instability problem with her atoms.
All told, Ant-Man and the Wasp
is a disposable romp that, while exciting and filled with plenty of humor, can best be described as "fine." It's not going to reinvent the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's not a gut-busting comedy. And its action set pieces aren't all that memorable. The perspective and size-changing affords some interesting cinematic opportunities, but it feels a lot like a one trick pony. Things that are typically large get small and things that are generally small get large. At times, the effects are impressive, but many of the more unique sequences and shots are spoiled by the trailers.
What Ant-Man and the Wasp
does have going for it above a lot of Marvel movies is a strong cast. Rudd is charming and filled with an endless array of quips. Douglas is a great foil for Rudd's playful goofball. Even Lang's business associates, especially Michael Peña as Luis, bring a fun energy to the movie. If you're going to lean into comedy, it's best to have talented actors at the wheel, and Ant-Man and the Wasp
has that in spades.
But the real gem of the film is Evangeline Lilly's Wasp. For as much as the title suggests that Wasp is a sidekick, Hope Van Dyne is an equally essential piece of the puzzle. Where Ant-Man is a lot less serious both in terms of the action and the story, Wasp kicks major ass. If you were looking for proof that a female-led Marvel superhero story could work, look no further than Ant-Man and the Wasp
Even at what some might consider mediocre, Ant-Man and the Wasp
is exciting and engaging enough to be worth a watch. There's no doubt that it feels odd to be watching such a light film after Infinity War
's heavy punch, but that's a byproduct of marketing and not the fault of the filmmakers. What director Peyton Reed has put together is another fun romp with Ant-Man, who has brought along some fun friends this time around. Is the movie up there with the more popular MCU films? No, but it's still a far better time at the movies than most blockbusters.
Unfortunately, if you've seen the trailers for Ant-Man and the Wasp
, a lot of the big moments have been ruined for you, even when they involve Ant-Man or Wasp shrinking down to miniature size. Although there is a basic through line for the film, there are a lot of B-plots being juggled all at once and, because of that, there isn't as much time for action as one might hope.
What is there, though, is effective, and the use of shifting perspective is still a fun trick. But really it's Wasp's sequences that are the most enjoyable, as she shows what a more accomplished fighter can do with Hank Pym's tech.