As the saying goes, big things come in small packages. Since his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe back in 2015, Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man has proved it. The charming thief-turned-superhero even took the old adage quite literally in ‘Captain America: Civil War’. But in the aftermath of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, the House of Ideas unleashes Scott Lang and the gang once again in ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ for a theatrical experience for True Believers of all sizes.
Following his mission with Steve Rogers, Lang finds himself under house arrest for two years. During that time, he managed to build a life for himself outside of the Ant-Man suit. Not only does he have a stronger relationship with his daughter, but he and his friends have built a security business from the ground up. However, when Dr. Hank Pym, Hope Van Dyne, and their new quantum experiment face opposition from a mysterious operative known as Ghost, Scott has to team up with his former allies to right the wrongs of the past.
Now, up until this point, we’ve talked a lot about Scott Lang. There certainly isn’t anything wrong with that as he has become one of the most beloved characters of the MCU. But despite the name of the movie, it felt like The Wasp absolutely stole the show. Evangeline Lilly’s Hope had the best of everything in the film. She had the best action scenes, the most interesting storyline, and the most character growth from the first movie until now. Hope is still all business for sure, but her team up with Scott let her loosen up a little bit. And now driven by the desire to save her mother, it’s so compelling to watch her journey. Plus, all the seamless size shifting in mid-battle is so badass. In essence, even though the team of Ant-Man and the Wasp are heroic, she’s the real hero and an ultimate badass in this movie as her partner sort of bumbles through it. (And I mean that in the best way possible since that’s part of Scott’s charm.)
With that being said, Scott Lang wasn’t without his moments. Paul Rudd was as charming as ever and his comedic stylings were elevated thanks to Randall Park’s Agent Jimmy Woo. There’s also a great scene in Hank and Hope’s lab that’s just incredibly funny while being somewhat touching as well. It’s one of the most memorable/important moments of the movie and Rudd nails it.
In addition to Lilly and Rudd, there were a number of standouts in the cast. As previously mentioned, ‘Fresh Off The Boat’ star Randall Park brought his unique style of comedy that slightly elevated Jimmy Woo above the other law enforcement/liaison type characters we’ve seen before (with the exception of Agent Phil Coulson). Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet Van Dyne & Laurence Fishburne as Bill Foster were stand outs among the newcomers as well. Although,, the biggest addition to the franchise had to be Hannah John-Kamen as Ghost. While being the antagonist of the film, her backstory and motivations were very easy to empathize with and that was in large part due to the actress’ performance of this well written material. Unlike some Marvel villains, Ghost has many layers and each one is as interesting as the next. It would have been cool to see more of her backstory unfold onscreen in real time as opposed to quick flashbacks, but it’s easy to understand why director Peyton Reed went in the direction he did.
On the subject of great characters, it could be argued that San Francisco itself was another stand out character of ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’. The filmmakers took great care in spotlighting the city and its most famous sights in some of the most exciting scenes in the movie. And not only that, but by taking great care to establish San Fran as part of the MCU, it expanding this world beyond New York and outer space. Marvel has always been about these extraordinary characters in the world around us and that philosophy has been extended to the films in a great way thanks to this movie.
But with all the good things that can be said about the 20th Marvel Studios film, there is one glaring thing that stood out about the third act. A few details surrounding the climax were a bit too convenient. Without getting into spoiler territory, it’s safe to say that Ant-Man’s corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been largely based in reality and in science up until now. Late into the third act, a new development emerged that diverted from that notion and it led to a somewhat unsatisfying resolution. It doesn’t take away from the fun summer superhero movie filled with badass ladies, but it does leave the audience with some major questions. And considering the other films and shows that make up this shared world, this development isn’t even that far fetched considering that there are other dimensions, magic relics, aliens, and more. Regardless, it just didn’t feel right at the end of the day because it borders on lazy writing.
While that may make the latest offering from the House of Ideas sound like a flop, it’s quite the opposite. I definitely won’t go so far as to say that it matches up to heavy hitters like ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, or ‘Iron Man’, but it’s nowhere near the worst Marvel movie to date either. In fact, it might have even surpassed ‘Ant-Man’ on my ranking of MCU movies because it’s such a fun movie. And after the doom and gloom of ‘Infinity War’, this is definitely a good way for fans to cleanse their pallets. But really, the best way to put it is to paraphrase another saying: You take the good. You take the bad .You take them both and there you have ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’.
‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip “T.I.” Harris, David Dastmalchian, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, and Michael Douglas marches into theaters on July 6, 2018.