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Ant-Man and the Wasp Review

July 6, 2018 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP Image Credit: Marvel Studios
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Ant-Man and the Wasp Review  

Directed By: Peyton Reed
Written By: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari; Based on the Marvel comics and characters created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Larry Lieber
Runtime: 118 minutes
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13

Paul Rudd – Scott Lang/Ant-Man
Evangeline Lilly – Hope Van Dyne/The Wasp
Michael Douglas – Hank Pym
Hannah John-Kamen – Ava/Ghost
Michael Peña – Luis
Walton Goggins – Sonny Burch
Laurence Fishburne – Dr. Bill Foster
Randall Park – Jimmy Woo
Michelle Pfeiffer – Janet Van Dyne
Judy Greer – Maggie
Bobby Cannavale – Paxton
Dave – Tip “T.I.” Harris
David Dastmalchian – Kurt
Abby Ryder Fortson – Cassie Lang

Hot off the heels of Marvel‘s Avengers: Infinity War,is the sequel to 2015’s sleeper hit, Ant-Man. Ant-Man and the Wasp reunites a dynamite cast of heroes. The universe may not be hanging in the balance in Antman and the Wasp, but the stakes are still high for an entertaining adventure.

Ant-Man an the Wasp picks up with Scott Lang (Rudd) about two years after the events of Captain America: Civil War. While things are going well for Scott as far as his daughter Cassie (Ryder Forston), his ex-wife Maggie (Greer) and her second husband Paxton (Cannavale) are concerned, his action of teaming up with Captain America in Berlin have made him persona non grata to his former colleagues, Hank Pym (Douglas) and his daughter Hope Van Dyne (Lilly).

Meanwhile, Pym and Hope are in a desperate race against the clock to salvage their family. After the events of the first movie, they have renewed hope for rescuing the original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne (Pfeiffer), from the subatomic Quantum Realm, where she’s been stranded for the last 30 years. However, Pym and Hope, after taking on the mantle of Wasp, are fugitives from the law, and Scott is under house arrest. Activity with Pym and Hope could land him back in prison permanently, but Scott’s conscious still spurs him to get involved to help his friends.

Standing in the way of Pym and Hope’s goal of restoring their broken family is a mysterious assailant, Ghost (John-Kamen), who wants the secrets within Pym’s lab, but she’s not the only one. Slimy black market tech dealer, Sonny Burch (Goggins), is also after Pym’s tech, and with multiple sides encroaching on the heroes, they are running out of time and options.

After the universe-breaking stakes of Infinity War, it’s a bit refreshing to watch a superhero that’s a bit more intimate and personal. Not that there is anything wrong with Infinity War, but Ant-Man and the Wasp gives more opportunity to focus on Scott Lang and develop his circle of characters. This is a tight, focused narrative with a singular goal in mind. That’s why this sequel works very well as a solo, or rather duo, superhero outing.

Peyton Reed does a good job in showcasing the aftermath of Civil War, which was basically Scott going rogue to help Captain America. This has caused his relationships with Janet and Hank to become badly strained.

With the first Ant-Man, one of the unfortunate circumstances in making it the next generation story was that the original Ant-Man and Wasp, Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, were pushed to the sidelines. That means Hope Van Dyne was ushered in as a legacy version of the Wasp. Previously, Hope simply never had the appeal or captured what made Janet Van Dyne such a beloved hero in the comics.

While Hope is still unable to match or surpass Janet Van Dyne’s Wasp as a character, the sequel at least gives Hope a lot more to do, and she finally grows into her role as a hero by taking on the mantle of Wasp. The film does a great job of showcasing Wasp battle prowess, and Lilly’s onscreen presence is undeniable. She’s incredibly charismatic, but Hope as a character is still a little flat, though she’s tough and resilient. To her credit, Lilly skillfully shows Hope’s softer side where her mother is concerned.

Simply put, the visuals in Ant-Man and the Wasp are fantastic. A lot more sequences are dedicated to showcasing the subatomic Quantum Realm, which are a bit reminiscent of the trippy multiverse sequences from Doctor Strange. Peyton Reed does a great job of showcasing the Ant-Man and Wasp characters in battle and realizing how characters with shrinking and growth powers would work in a fight. All the visuals effects are layered incredibly well and never overshadow the story and characters.

Additionally, perhaps partly to the theater where the screening was held, the film also had a great sound mix. Even Christophe Beck’s score sounded better. The main Ant-Man theme from the first film is back, but it’s integrated a lot better throughout the film. There’s even an amusing eight-bit riff on the score that makes an appearance midway through in a very amusing sequence.

Another major aspect of Ant-Man and the Wasp is the comedy. This is probably the most comedic MCU film to date, and that’s saying something considering that Marvel Studios has found a lot of success with the integration of mirth in its output. This is probably the closest Marvel Studios has ever come to a straight-up superhero comedy, even more so than Thor: Ragnarok.

The good news is that Paul Rudd’s charisma exceptionally carries the weight of the significant amount comedy as well as the personal stakes for the plot. That aside, one gag involving a cell phone call did somewhat undercut one scene and was a bit prolongued.

The major drawback is the villains in the story are nothing to write home about. It seemed with Black Panther and Infinity War that Marvel Studios was starting to turn a corner with its antagonists. Hannah John-Kamen does her best with what she’s given here. She has a cool and unique power set that’s showcased with great visual effects.

Unfortunately, all of Ghost’s character development is basically dumped in one prolonged sequence that’s played in a rather cliche manner. Ghost’s motivations and conflict are somewhat forced. Sonny Burch is more of an annoyance than a true-blue villain.

Overall, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a satisfying and entertaining Marvel romp that succeeds in telling its own self-contained story within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s not the best MCU to date, but it’s a sequel that is easily superior to the original.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Ant-Man and the Wasp is a solid sequel and follow-up to the original. Peyton Reed presents a tight and focused movie that mixes personal stakes with high-concept comedy and some great superhero visual effects. Paul Rudd does a great job showcasing his comedic shops and carrying an entertaining romp. As always, audiences are advised to stay all the way through the end credits.