Director: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Judy Greer, T.I., David Dastmalchian, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas
As Scott Lang (Rudd) balances being both a Superhero and a father, Hope van Dyne (Lilly) and Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas) present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past. (Source: IMDb)
It’s been a big year for the MCU. Back in February, Black Panther broke records left, right, and centre, promptly followed by the behemoth that was Avengers: Infinity War which broke them all over again.
Slotting the sequel to Ant-Man after these two huge box office smashes meant that the lead-up to it has been a little on the quiet side. But away from the hype, Ant-Man and The Wasp proves to be yet another solid offering from Marvel; although admittedly one without the earth-shattering consequences and record-breaking qualities of its immediate predecessors.
The majority of the events of Ant-Man and The Wasp precede the events of Infinity War (more on the exceptions to that later!), so without the pressure of giving us the continuation of that story, this sequel instead delivers a neat heist caper that proves to be what so many superhero films sometimes lack; fun.
Ant-Man (2015) was criticised by many for being another “generic” origin story, and without that pressure to introduce the character, Ant-Man and The Wasp is action-orientated from the get-go and immediately establishes us back in the world of Scott Lang. The events of this film follow Civil War, where you might remember Ant-Man was suddenly called upon to join Team Cap in the unforgettable airport showdown between the Avengers. Now under house-arrest, Scott’s life is a little less action-packed, but not for long.
One major thing this film succeeds in doing is cementing the Father-Daughter bond between Scott and his young daughter Cassie. They have a believable and endearing dynamic, and much like the first film, the fact that Scott’s motivation is something so familial, means the character is instantly relatable and likeable; albeit one with shrinking powers and ant buddies!
The familial motivations of the characters extend beyond Scott and Cassie, with the main thrust of the storyline being the attempted rescue of the original Wasp, Hope’s mother and Hank’s wife, Janet van Dyne. It is ultimately refreshing to have a Marvel film that feels a lot smaller (pun not intended!) and separate to everything else, and there’s huge amounts of fun to be had with it.
As with the first film, Michael Peña’s Luis is the biggest scene stealer, and it is great that he has a much bigger role to play this time around. He is used perfectly, and sparingly, and whilst being afforded more screen-time, it is not something which feels out of place, or something shoehorned in because of the fact his character was so popular the first time around. His cronies, played by T.I. and a hilarious David Dastmalchian also have more of a role in this film, and their scenes inject the film with consistent and well-timed punchlines.
Action wise, this film is pretty solid and it really rollicks along from start to finish. It is a little, “we need to go to this place to get the thing, and then we need to go here to do that thing”, but when the characters are so endearing and the action is fun and frequent, it won’t bother you. The shrinking/growing visuals are again spectacular and lend themselves to some amazing visual gags.
If there’s one thing the film could’ve done without, it would’ve been the slightly anthropomorphized giant ants; it just veered a little far into the silly category. The villain, whilst earnestly played by Hannah John-Kamen, was also pretty underused. The phasing visuals were great and there were some neat subtle jumps playing on the characters ability to just appear out of nowhere, but the film’s focus always felt like it was elsewhere and it didn’t always give her enough to do which was a shame.
I saw this movie and you should too. Those who were not fans of the first film probably will not find themselves convinced again this time around, but that being said, there’s still huge amounts of fun to be had. As alluded to earlier, whilst the majority of the film plays out before the events of Infinity War, the mid-credits scene directly ties in, and if anything, it only adds further to the questions and hype that we were left with following that ending. Whilst the film itself may feel like it is lacking in world-changing consequences, and there is a certain disconnect with the rest of the MCU, it is a fun and enjoyable stop-gap, and one which may prove to be much more significant as the films progress.