Ant-Man and the Wasp Review

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Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Walton Goggins

Director: Peyton Reed

Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes: From the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes a new chapter featuring heroes with the astonishing ability to shrink: “Ant-Man and The Wasp.” In the aftermath of “Captain America: Civil War,” Scott Lang (Rudd) grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to rebalance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne (Lilly) and Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas) with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from their past.

Review:

After two sensational box office hits with Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, the Marvel Cinematic Universe ends their 2018 theatrical schedule on the lighter side with Ant-Man and the Wasp, a sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man.  Known for relying more on its comedy and chemistry rather than the dramatic and suspenseful moments than the other films in the MCU, how will this new film stand out when the other two were so critically acclaimed?  While not quite as well scripted as the more serious films in that Universe, the strong cinematography and special effects combined with a great showing from the supporting characters make Ant-Man and the Wasp an enjoyable addition to an already enjoyable group of movies.

The film follows Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Rudd), a hero who has three days left on his house arrest due to his actions with Captain America in previous a previous film and wants to spend that free time connecting with his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson).  When he starts dreaming about Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), Hank’s (Michael Douglas) wife who was trapped in the quantum realm 30 years ago, Ant-Man and Hank work together with Hank’s daughter Hope/Wasp (Lilly) to see what they can do to finally bring Janet back from the quantum realm.  One of the things that immediately stands out is just how good the cinematography and special effects are.  Most of the fight scenes are very well choreographed and shot in an organized fashion that allows you to see what is going on without ever being dizzy or distracted.  The camerawork honestly may have been the best out of the three MCU to come out this year, and that is saying a lot considering how good Black Panther’s was.  On top of this, the special effects really stepped their game up for this especially when it came to Ghost’s (Hannah John-Kamen) actions.  Since Ghost can walk through walls and avoid any physical contact due to her unstable molecules, and seeing how there are ghostly versions of molecules going in different directions as she walks is really cool to see, especially during fight sequences.  Moving on to the acting, while Rudd brings his usual charm to the film, Pena is the one that really blew me away with his comedy.  He embraces his supporting role perfectly and nails the timing of his jokes.  His scene recounting his meeting Scott for the first time is one of the funniest in the recent MCU movies, so good on Ant-Man and the Wasp for continuing the level of innovation that Marvel is known for.

Where the film struggled to capture my attention is that the story is severely lacking. Goggins plays his typical, B-level villain that did nothing to add anything unique to the movie.  If his character was removed and a few different details were changed, then his group could have been completely removed and the movie would be completely fine. Outside of that, while I know that Ant-Man and the Wasp is supposed to be a light-hearted and relaxed movie, I never thought as if the stakes were high or that the consequences of anyone’s actions mattered.  Looking at the last two MCU from 2018, the stakes were incredibly high and every situation felt like the world depended on it, but unfortunately we get the opposite effect here where I assumed that everything would work out fine.  There is a fine line between a film taking a relaxed approach to its plot and the plot being predictable and boring, and Ant-Man and the Wasp sometimes dips into the predictable side of that line.

Overall, while not the strongest film in the MCU, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a respectable and enjoyable film.  I believe that if this film did not have the word Marvel attached to it in any way, it would have been much better received, but it can still tell a solid albeit predictable story with a good amount of laughs along the way.  I am curious to see how the plot from this film impacts the actions taken by other characters in other Marvel movies, but I guess we will have to wait until next year to find out.

Overall Score: 7.5/10

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