After the rollercoaster ride of emotions Avengers: Infinity War put us through, Marvel decided to lighten things up again and, once again, the job falls on Ant-Man to sort of liven up the party. I actually wrote about Ant-Man’s situation of being the follow-up act for the Avengers and how it can be detrimental for ticket sales. Still, I was really into the first Ant-Man film and I was excited to see what he was going to do next. While he already had his own crew, this time around, he’s not the only one with superpowers. This time, he’ll be partnering up with The Wasp in another adventure.
Before we go to the review proper, I do know that this movie hasn’t been released in all territories yet and the only reason why I managed to watch it early is because they showed it early in the Philippines. Since the trailers don’t really reveal much about the plot of Ant-Man and The Wasp and there are always going to be some people who don’t want anything revealed before watching a film, don’t worry. This will be a SPOILER FREE review of Ant-Man and The Wasp. Now, that that’s out of the way, on with the review.
Ant-Man and The Wasp takes place a couple of years after the events of Captain America: Civil War and not after Avengers: Infinity War. Scott Lang, the current Ant-Man, is being held under house arrest thanks to his participation of the battle in Germany where he joined Captain America’s forces against Iron Man’s. Both Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne are also being hunted by the FBI because it was their tech that Scott used then. When Hank and Hope figure out that it may be possible to rescue Janet Van Dyne, Hank’s wife and Hope’s mother, from the Quantum Realm, the duo attempt to reconcile with Scott as they need his assistance to bring her back. However, a mysterious person with the ability to phase through solid objects like a ghost is planning to use Hank Pym’s tech for unknown reasons.
While the first Ant-Man film was basically a heist movie, Ant-Man and The Wasp is kind of an amalgamation of a few genres. There are some heist film elements in this film but there are elements of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World as there are three different groups making a mad chase for some kind of macguffin, as well. You can even say it’s a buddy film as Ant-Man now has a partner in The Wasp. Sure, there are some superhero elements to it but there isn’t all that much heroism in the strictest sense since no one is using their powers for the good of mankind. Rather, everyone is using their special abilities to forward their goals. That’s not a bad thing and it actually feels kind of refreshing. But it’s best to be aware that this isn’t your typical “good vs. evil” superhero film; it’s more like a lighthearted crime movie with superpowered beings.
The first thing I like to talk about are the special effect shots, which are extremely good. They did a really great job with the shrinking and enlarging effects in the first Ant-Man as it feels much more seamless here. But the best special effect shots are used for Ghost, the person who wants to steal Hank Pym’s quantum technology. Her ability is essentially involves phasing in and out of our reality, making herself intangible to solid objects. To hammer this home, Ghost usually has a weird afterimage effect trailing her movements and it looks really good and natural.
The fantastic special effects leads to some really creative action and fight scenes as well. Ant-Man and The Wasp aren’t known for their brute strength and speed but they do use their size shifting powers in inventive ways. We don’t get any battles with miniaturized beings fighting in a kid’s playroom like in the first film but Ant-Man, Wasp and Ghost use their powers that feel organic and, oddly, enough, effective that makes things really exciting.
I do kind of have mixed feelings with the level of humor in Ant-Man and The Wasp. Like I said before, it feels like a lighthearted crime film and there are some good jokes thrown in throughout the film’s 118-minute runtime. The problem is there are just so many of them! It fits well with the general tone of the film but it comes of as really surreal at times. There are only a couple of moments where they don’t interrupt a generally serious moment with some weird humorous injection of dialog. I generally liked it but I’m not so sure that other viewers will be on board with how many jokes are sprinkled in Ant-Man and The Wasp and how the humor rears its head in practically every scene.
The acting is pretty solid for the most main cast. Paul Rudd once again reprises his role as Scott Lang, the second Ant-Man. He gives us a lovable portrayal of a somewhat dimwitted man who just wants to do right by his family and friends. He’s extremely likable and his general chemistry with every one in the cast is perfect. Evangeline Lilly’s Hope Van Dyne gets a lot more to do this time around as she dons the mantle of The Wasp. I do like her performance overall, albeit she doesn’t get to do a lot than just be the “straight man” most of the time. It’s a shame as there are times when she will rib Scott Lang because of a few mishaps but these moments are few and far between. I’m still really impressed that Marvel managed to get a high caliber actor like Michael Douglas but it looks like their investment paid off as he pulls off the hotheaded and somewhat egotistical Hank Pym really well.
Most of the bit players do hold their own when they’re on screen. Michael Pena pretty much steals the show when he gets to do all the fast talking he’s known for. I really have to commend Abby Ryder Fortson, who plays Scott Lang’s daughter Cassie Lang, as she comes off as really believable as the little girl who admires her father with all her heart. In fact, I even believe the chemistry she has with Paul Rudd is the best among all of the cast members as there is a natural back-and-forth in their dialogue that just works. The standout for me, however is Hannah John-Kamen as Ghost/Ava Foster. It used to be that villains in the Marvel films were really one-dimensional as they were doing bad things because they’re bad guys and that’s it. However, they’ve bucked the trend as of late as Marvel gave us interesting villains like Killmonger from Black Panther and Thanos from Avengers: Infinity War. Ant-Man and the Wasp’s Ghost follows the recent pattern of Marvel movie bad guys with some substance to why they’re they way they are. Thankfully, Hannah John-Kamen does make Ghost’s motivations apparent so you do feel sympathetic to why she’s doing those terrible things.
While I do like the character of Ghost, I can’t really say she’s a really scary antagonist. In fact, the lack of a really serious threat to the duo of Ant-Man and the Wasp is kind of the film’s weakness. As there isn’t a real world-stopping menace, the stakes feel incredibly low, but you could say the same thing for the first Ant-Man film. Here, it’s kind of worse as you never feel and sense of peril from any of the villains. It kind of works since it’s a light and playful movie but I do want to feel like the heroes have something insurmountable to overcome so, when they do eventually succeed, it feels earned. I just didn’t feel that in Ant-Man and The Wasp.
With that being said, I enjoyed Ant-Man and The Wasp a lot and I did walk out of the cinema happy with everything. But, oddly enough, I can’t give it a sterling recommendation. It’s not something you have to rush out and see like Avengers: Infinity War. It’s a fun movie for sure but I do have to say you have to temper your expectations as it’s nothing spectacular and I don’t see this being anyone’s contender as their favorite film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s good but not fantastic by any stretch of the imagination. I will say it’s worth watching but it’s not a “must watch” movie.
Have you seen Ant-Man and The Wasp? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments section below!