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Marvel is right in the middle of its best year yet, and they aren’t even done. It’s also a huge year for superhero movies, and it isn’t over after Ant-Man and the Wasp. It’s actually crazy that we’re getting a second Ant-Man movie. Even ten years ago that would have seemed unbelievable. Now it’s just another movie we line up to see on opening weekend. I really liked the first Ant-Man. It’s so different from a typical MCU film, and I loved the cast. Paul Rudd really worked as Scott Lang, and Peyton Reed was able to capture the feel of a heist movie. Ever since the post-credit scene introduced the Wasp, I’ve wanted to see Evangeline Lilly as one of the original Avengers, and after the ending of Infinity War we all might have needed something a little bit lighter.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is directed by Peyton Reed and stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Laurence Fishburne, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Hannah John-Kamen, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Scott Lang is back as the smallest superhero in the MCU, but this time he isn’t fighting Yellowjacket or half of the Avengers. He’s taking on a task much bigger: fatherhood. When Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne come calling in need of Scott’s help, he’s forced back into action with Hope as a new superhero duo. Things don’t often change in a world with superheroes, so with even more people after Pym’s technology, Ant-Man and the Wasp take on brand new threats.
It’s a really good thing that Wasp has a place in the title of this movie because she’s just awesome. On top of Evangeline Lilly’s great performance, we always knew that Hope was a more skilled fighter than Scott Lang, but she was only able to show that off in short bursts in the first film. She gets her chance to shine in Ant-Man and the Wasp, and she takes complete advantage of it. Her fighting sequences are great, and they’re only made better by the shrinking and growing effect. They’re also very well-directed and edited, so I never felt lost in the shuffle with all of the visual effects. On a wider scale, Peyton Reed and Marvel were able to get much more creative with the shrinking and growing. Maybe they had to hold themselves back a bit in the first film due to the fact that Ant-Man isn’t as recognizable as Iron Man or Captain America, but they don’t hold anything back in the sequel, and I loved that the creativity of the characters was a major decision in how they used the Pym technology. I also loved the family aspect of this movie. Scott’s relationship with his daughter has dramatically improved after the first film, but there was still so much to explore when it came to Scott’s ability to balance his daughter with Hope and Hank. The Pyms also had their own family drama to explore, and I found that equally compelling to everything going on with Scott. On top of Wasp being a great fighter, Hope is a compelling person because of her past and her relationship to her father, and we explore that in Ant-Man and the Wasp. Michelle Pfeiffer isn’t in the movie nearly as much as I would have thought, and I’d love to see more of her in the future, but her presence alone made me latch onto Hope and Hank even more than I already had. I also love that this story has nothing to do with anything else in the MCU. There are nods to other events in the MCU, and Ant-Man’s actions in Civil War definitely have repercussions that are depicted in this film, but it’s probably the most self-contained movie in the entire Marvel Universe. Sometimes I want my big Avengers: Infinity War mash-up, but I also love to see Marvel take a step down and, you know, shrink. At the same time that this story means nothing in the grand scheme of the MCU, it means everything to these characters, so I found it very compelling. Ant-Man and the Wasp is funny, entertaining, well-paced, and full of heart, and it’s further proof that good things come in small packages.
I really enjoyed this movie, but I’d probably say that I liked the first one better for a few reasons. The first film definitely has a tighter narrative. Whereas the original Ant-Man shows us everything that we need to know while leaving a little bit to the imagination and a little bit unexplained for the next film, this one completely lays out most of its missing pieces in dialogue. It’s chock full of exposition, and often times it feels like characters should turn to the camera and ask the audience if we’re following. In movies, almost every example of exposition that doesn’t break the fourth wall is brought to life through one character conversing with another, but so often during Ant-Man and the Wasp I found myself thinking that the character receiving the explanation probably didn’t need one. That character likely had a pretty good grasp on exactly what he or she needed to for the film to proceed with the story. Also, as much as I praised the smaller nature of the story, I do think that it holds the movie back slightly. Sometimes it feels as though the movie doesn’t even take itself seriously. It goes past self-awareness to a point that feels like cheating or giving up on opportunities to ground the story. Finally, as most Marvel movies do, it has a huge villain issue. I love the casting of Walton Goggins, and he’s one of the best character actors working today, but he’s inconsequential in this story. I also didn’t find Ghost very threatening. She’s not a bad fighter, and she has an interesting ability, but the best way to avoid a fight with her is to run away. If you’re faster than she is, she probably won’t catch you.
Overall, Ant-Man and the Wasp is easily the most self-contained movie of the entire MCU, and it’s stronger for that reason. It has to build these characters and their relationships to each other to hold itself up, and it does so beautifully. I loved the bond between Scott and his daughter, and I was equally invested in Hope and Hank’s connection to Michelle Pfeiffer’s character. Marvel waited to show off Evangeline Lilly and Wasp, and it paid off perfectly. She’s awesome, and Peyton Reed handled her action sequences extremely well. Almost all of the jokes hit, and I was thoroughly entertained for every single second. It falls into a few traps with tons of exposition, and the villains seem like more a road block than a conflict, but I was able to move past that simply because of how much fun I was having. I’m going to give Ant-Man and the Wasp a 7.8/10.
Will you be seeing Ant-Man and the Wasp? Comment down in the comment section and let me know! As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!