“Ant-Man and the Wasp” stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, and Michael Douglas. Released on July 6, 2018, the film has Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne on another mission that involves Hope’s mother and the quantum realm.
The film is directed by Peyton Reed, who also directed films such as “The Love Bug", “Bring It On”, and “Yes Man”. It is a sequel to the 2015 superhero film, “Ant-Man” (also directed by Reed), and it is the twentieth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One of the questions that people asked while viewing “Avengers: Infinity War” was: “Where the heck is Hawkeye?” While we won’t get our answer until next year, we do get to find out what Ant-Man has been up to before Thanos arrives on Earth. Back then, a lot of non-comic book fans weren’t very familiar with Ant-Man, but thanks to the success of the 2015 film, both critically and financially, these types of people are now excited to see this tiny superhero in action once again, including me. “Infinity War” really set the bar high for the 10-year-old franchise when it was first released, but it also created an unsettling mood for its audience. Luckily, this film may be able to perk things up a little bit, but will it be as fun as the first “Ant-Man” film?
Taking place two years after “Captain America: Civil War”, Scott Lang (Rudd) has been placed under house arrest for his actions during that event, leaving his new comrades, Hank Pym (Douglas) and his daughter Hope (Lilly), to go into hiding. Some time later, they reunite to try to open up a portal to the quantum realm in order to rescue Hope’s mother, Janet van Dyne (Pfeiffer). When a woman known as Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) starts to interfere, Scott and Hope, now known as the Wasp, must team up once again to take her down while attempting to accomplish their own mission in the process. The tone in this film came from the fact that the story takes place right before the events of “Infinity War”, which is considered to be the most emotional entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The MCU is known for balancing the fun action with the epic-ness of its storytelling and character depth to please both kids and adults alike, and, unsurprisingly, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is no exception. Similar to its predecessor, this is a light-hearted and simple superhero film that kept its stakes small as opposed to the huge MCU movies that feature the “entire world at risk” scenario. While its storytelling doesn’t compare to the likes of “Infinity War” and “Black Panther”, I still had a lot of fun hanging out with these characters again. What I also liked about the story is that it’s not just about their rescue mission. It’s more about Scott’s quest for redemption. His actions in “Civil War” caused him to lose his trust in Hank and Hope, and he had to work his way to earn that trust back. It didn’t hit the right emotional notes, but it was handled in a way that kids and older comic book fans can appreciate. The entire cast did a great job with their performances as well as generating a lot of charm and humor into its straightforward plot. Paul Rudd was amazing and charismatic as Scott, and Evangeline Lilly was stunning in her role as Hope. We waited quite a while for Hope to get in on the action in her Wasp suit, and now that that moment has finally arrived, was it worth the wait? I would go with yes. Even though I would like to see more of her in action, the way Peyton Reed showcased her action sequences and her abilities did not disappoint me. I also enjoyed Peña’s portrayal as Luis because he knew how to maintain his character’s personality and sense of humor without becoming an irritation to the audience. As for Ghost, who is portrayed wonderfully by John-Kamen, I thought the writers made the right choice in making the character a misunderstood and scared individual instead of a typical bad guy. I would tell you more about her, but I want you to experience that yourself. The “typical bad guy” status belongs to Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), a black market dealer, which happens to be my personal flaw of the film. I think if you take this character out of the film, it wouldn’t change the story that much. Plus, his motives were very cliched and uninteresting. Peyton Reed once again showed off his talent by balancing the action with the humor without going over-the-top with one or the other. The action sequences were far from memorable and intense, but they were fun to watch, regardless. The visual effects were also the best parts of the film as they portray the shrinking abilities and the quantum realm with finesse and imagination.
Overall, it may feel a bit simplistic compared to the last two installments in the MCU, but “Ant-Man and the Wasp” has enough charm, action, and laughs to shrink its way out of its problems. Thanks to its irresistible cast, Peyton Reed’s direction, and its visual effects, this entertaining sequel was able to finish off the MCU’s 10th anniversary with a bang. I can easily admit that this has been a great year for Disney and Marvel Studios. “Black Panther” became a cultural phenomenon, “Infinity War” changed the course of the franchise in a big way, and “Ant-Man and the Wasp”…well, it didn’t do anything important, but it was entertaining and light-hearted, so that’s something. Here’s hoping that next year will be even better. If you like the first “Ant-Man” film and the MCU in general, this film will suit you well.