Movie Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp

Perfectly adequate. That’s the best way to describe the latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man and the Wasp. I loved Ant-Man, as the film in 2015 was one of the earliest to shake up the Marvel movie formula in many ways. The movie still stuck to a lot of what we’ve seen, evil corporate bad guy (who wears three piece suits and is bald), it broke the mold by adding in comedic aspects. The movie was the first real comedy released featuring a more relaxed style and visual jokes, not to mention a dialed back villain that lowers the stakes of it all. Ant-Man and the Wasp takes a lot of that formula to give us a family friendly film that has laughs but misses some of the charm of the original.

Taking place after Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang is on lockdown attempting to stay out of trouble and be a father. Hope van Dyne and Hank Pym are on the run and need Scott’s help to find Janet van Dyne, the original Wasp, Hope’s mother and Hank’s wife. The villain is two fold. Ghost, a character who needs Hank Pym’s technology to cure her and Sonny Burch, a technology dealer who wants Pym’s technology to sell to the highest bidder. Then there’s the FBI who wants to arrest Hope and Hank for having the tech they have.

The story is a bit convoluted and is best to not think too hard about. Things are either over explained or not explained enough and we’re expected to roll with it. Each aspect feels like an excuse to present so visual gag involving size or explore the Quantum Realm, the place Scott shrunk to in the first film and where Janet is lost.

While Ghost is a potentially interesting villain, the actions taken by her leave you wondering why she wouldn’t just reach out to Hank to help to begin with instead of attempting to steal his technology? There’s a backstory but much feels watered down and lost from the original comics’ tech focused anarchist who presented as originally released would have been a much more interesting villain. Burch, as played by the always entertaining Walter Goggins, feels like the villain version of Michael Peña‘s Luis whose entire aspect is to give us a moment of respite (the ongoing jokes about a truth serum) or to set up some action sequence.

And that’s the issue at the heart of the film, it provides little new and you feel like you’re sitting there waiting for the next gag or in my case Michael Peña’s rants. Yes, he steals the show as usual delivering entertaining recaps and there’s far too few of them. There’s an energy about his performance where he immediately creates a spark in any scene he’s in. It’s a fun energy that feels like it’s missing everywhere else and the closest we come is Paul Rudd as he interacts with his daughter with childlike fun.

There’s nothing terribly wrong with the film but it’s clear this is the family friendly release of the year to change things up, much like the original. After the weightier films that are Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a film geared towards families with younger kids who’ll laugh at the visual gags. Ant-Man and the Wasp is empty entertainment that’s a step back from the original missing… something.

The visuals are entertaining and we get a new world to explore in the Quantum Realm but overall the film feels like empty calories that will fill you up temporarily but in the end leave you wanting an hour later.

Overall Rating: 6.95

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