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Ant-Man and the Wasp is directed by Peyton Reed and is the 20th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Abby Ryder Fortson, and Michael Douglas all return to reprise their roles from Ant-Man. Newcomers to the cast include Walton Goggins, Hannah John-Kamen, Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Laurence Fishburne.
The second solo Ant-Man movie is the MCU's perfect follow-up to the titanic stakes of Avengers: Infinity War, spearheading the cleansing process necessary for audiences to feel refreshed and recharged heading into the MCU's Captain Marvel and Avengers 4 in early 2019. And while Ant-Man and the Wasp's post-credit scenes will ensure that Infinity War isn't too far from mind, the film as a whole is our chance to take a step back from the world-building of previous Marvel films and unwind a little. Like in Ant-Man, there's no need to worry about the Earth blowing up or the universe being sucked into a black hole of doom. Our expectations should be getting another fun and breezy superhero outing, expectations that Ant-Man and the Wasp 100 percent deliver on.
I am honestly unsure about deciding which Ant-Man movie is the better one. They both function in identical ways, so much so that it seems impossible to truly distinguish the two, except for their storytelling. Both movies rely on cheeky humor and colorful action as their meat and potatoes, and certainly that's going to get the job done for the most undemanding of Marvel fans. For myself, I was pleased by the control that Peyton Reed once again puts on the humor, never allowing for an overly-jokey tone that usually diminishes the experience as a whole, like in several of the MCU's previous films such as Thor: Ragnarok and Doctor Strange. There are other problems present in Ant-Man and the Wasp that keep it from being anything spectacular, but, as strange as it sounds, they are problems I welcome with open arms.
Here's what's going on with the story: After the events of Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang has been placed under house arrest, while Pym and Hope are forced to go on the run and cease any further communication with Lang. Two years later, Lang receives a strange message in his head from Pym's wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), whom Pym believes is still alive in the quantum realm. Lang decides to call Pym and tell him about the message. Hope then kidnaps Lang and brings him to Pym's shrinkable laboratory. Pym and Hope tell Lang that his message is proof that Janet is still alive, and the three begin to work on making a stable quantum tunnel so that someone can enter the quantum realm and rescue Janet.
Hope arranges to acquire a part for the tunnel from black market dealer Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), but Burch double-crosses Hope, intent on stealing Pym and Hope's research for himself. However, just as Hope is about to get away with the part, she is attacked by a quantumly unstable masked woman named Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), who steals the part for herself. Ghost desires to use the part to gain access to the quantum realm and heal herself of her unstable condition. Knowing that Ghost's plan puts Janet at risk, Lang, Hope, and Pym all work to find Ghost and finish their work on the quantum tunnel.
- Ant-Man gave us only a glimpse of what Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly could do together. This time, the two really get to show their individual charisma and their undeniable chemistry. Rudd as the dorky Lang and Lilly as the prudent Hope play off each other very well, without the romance angle ever being stretched too much. Lang and Hope also display a sort of underlying rivalry; Hope believes she is better because she has more experience with the shrinking technology and her suit has wings, while Lang believes he can make up for his lack of experience, because Hank Pym chose him for the suit.While the plot does make Lang seem like more of a supporting character since it heavily involves finding Hope's mother, both Lang and Hope get their shining moments during fights and chase sequences.
- The script by screenwriters Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, and Gabriel Ferrari is a little rough around the edges, particularly in how the movie is a bit all over the place with several subplots. The most detrimental effect of the number of subplots is the movie having two sub-antagonists as opposed to one primary antagonist. Sonny Burch and Ghost are after basically the same thing, just with different end goals in mind. It is flat out impossible to take Burch seriously as a villain, boasting absolutely nothing, no kind of weapon or secret information, that could make Ant-Man, the Wasp, or Ghost seriously deem him a threat. Meanwhile, Lang has to ensure that he isn't caught out of the house, as his home is periodically checked by FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park). And then on top of all that, Lang's buddies Luis, Dave, and Kurt start a new business called X-Con, eventually getting to help out in a car chase that happens late in the film. So in summary, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a little more busy than it probably should be, struggling to fully flesh out its new characters and to keep all of the plot lines steady.
So, is there anything else needed to be discussed? I don't think so. Just like its predecessor, Ant-Man and the Wasp shoots for being nothing more than a fun and cheerful superhero film, this time combining Paul Rudd's charm with the charm of Evangeline Lilly, creating a kick-ass duo that we will likely see more of some time down the road. The script has some issues, but it doesn't take away from the film's humor and its value as a work of entertainment. Some might think Marvel is crazy for not ending their 2018 movie slate with the bang that was Infinity War, but Ant-Man and the Wasp is able to accomplish two things that justify it being Marvel's final 2018 film: it keeps the MCU a little more fresh in people's minds throughout the summer movie season, and it represents something of a breather for audiences, so that there will be no fatigue or anything else of the sort heading into 2019. No way does Marvel intend to disappoint. They haven't spent the better part of the past 10 years to build up to nothing.
Recommend? Yes. Be sure to have Ant-Man fresh in your mind before you see it.
Here you'll find my reviews on just about any film you may have seen. I try to avoid major spoilers as much as possible. I structure my reviews in the following way: