“Where the hell were Ant-Man and Hawkeye during Infinity War?” that’s one of the main question everyone had after the events of the most recent Avengers movie. Well, that AND “What’s Next?!” Luckily, we have one of those questions answered. Ant-Man and the Wasp picks up 2 years after the events of Captain America: Civil War and gives us some insight to what happened to Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). The last we saw him, he was locked up on ‘The Raft’ and broken out by Captain America by the finale of the film. The choices and events of Captain America: Civil War are the catalyst of what sets off this ‘tiny’ adventure.
Without giving too much away, even though this movie isn’t exactly shrouded in secrecy, Ant-Man and the Wasp is basically a “recover the ____” movie. As we saw in the previews, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) can shrink down his laboratory to the size of a suitcase and move locations on the fly. That’s more the side plot of this film, woven with the task of trying to find and free Janet Pym (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the Quantum Realm. That’s about it. This movie doesn’t directly tie in to Infinity War, which I kind-of enjoyed, so if you’re hoping to get a little closure after the infamous *SNAP*, then you’re going to be upset. That’s the thing I like about these Ant-Man movies though. They are a part of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), but they stand on their own as independent adventures. Kind of like the Marvel/Netflix shows, but with a better budget. The OG Ant-Man was a heist film and this one is more of a Race-Against-Time! It works in parts, but the plot wasn’t as gripping as I’d hoped it would be and the race to free Mrs. Pym seemed… unimportant.
The newest character(s) of note in this film are Evangaline Lilly (The Wasp) and Pfeiffer’s OG Wasp. There’s not much I can say about Michelle Pfeiffer without going dangerously deep into SPOILER waters, but I will just say that I was disappointed and underwhelmed with her character. They made a certain choice with the direction of what her character can do that had zero explanation and just felt a little out of the blue. Lilly’s Wasp, however, was great! She has a chip on her shoulder with Scott (Rudd) over the events of Civil War and it plays out really well on screen. Plus her action set-pieces are probably the best ones in the film, but I’ll talk about action in a bit. Wasp was fun, humorous, bad-ass and didn’t feel forced or labeled as a “Side-Kick” in this film. By the end of the film I was hoping I’d get to see more of her in future Ant-Man movies or, maybe, as a full time Avenger! I mean, we KNOW that we’re going to lose some characters in Avengers 4 and she would be perfect to help lead the new team! Aside from that, supporting cast was awesome. Michael Pena continued to be hilarious and tell stories in the way memes have been replicating since the original film. Michael Douglas (Hank Pym) was.. Michael Douglas, but I have to say: Marvels “De-Aging” technology is INCREDIBLE! They managed to make Laurence Fishburne, Douglas and Pfeiffer look like they were in their early-mid 30s and at no point do you notice that it’s all computer effects. It blows my mind that certain effects have crossed into the “Uncanny Valley” and it excites me to see where this technology will go from here!
Again, I wont be able to say much about Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) without spoiling some story, but she was… fine. The way that they demonstrated her powers was pretty cool, but in true Marvel fashion she isn’t the most developed or in-depth character. Her motivations are understandable by the end and her role in the film makes sense, I guess, but I felt like they could have gone a little more cryptic with her character instead of just a super attractive woman in a suit that’s misunderstood. They had a second “villain” in the film that barely deserves a mention, but I will because I need to hit my word count. Sonny Burch (Walt Goggins) was pretty useless. I’m not sure what his point was for being in this film aside from setting up 2 action sequences. He doesn’t offer anything extra to the film and I found myself annoyed when he’d show up because his character and motivations were, for lack of a better term, small and insignificant. He’d show up to steal the building, fail and then try again and fail. The movie could have carried on without the inclusion of his character and the audience wouldn’t have known. Aside from him showing up in the first act of the film, the rest of his arc was very manila.
The action was good! I wouldn’t say that it was better or worse than the original film’s, but it was roughly on par. The main things we saw in the trailer were basically what we got in the film. Ant-Man goes little and big, with some funny “half way” scenes. They utilize the shrinking and growing of buildings and vehicles nicely, but after a while I started to think that was all they had. The choreography of The Wasp’s fights were some of the best in the film and that was probably to cement her role as a badass and able to go toe-to-toe with any of Ant-Mans foes without question and that much worked. But there weren’t any “WOAH” moments like in the first film. I remember seeing the final fight between Ant-Man and Yellowjacket and thinking how incredibly epic this tiny toy train fight was! I never got that with this film. I found myself wanting more of the Quantum realm as well. The time there felt rushed and under-developed. That’s the most interesting part of the Ant-Man lore! It’s as interesting as going HUGE with the space films like Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy, but on the opposite end of the spectrum. What’s down there? How does it work? Show me the science or at least give me a montage like we got with the infinity stones in GotG Vol. 1. Aside from that I had fun with the action, but wasn’t floored by anything I saw.
Ant-Man and The Wasp is a good installment in the MCU and distraction from the events of Infinity War. It stands on its own, while still keeping the film connected in ways, and manages to pump me up for Captain Marvel when it releases in March of next year. The comedy doesn’t hit as hard as the first film, but still delivers a handful of laughs that doesn’t just rehash the jokes of the first. The action is fun and fast paced, but nothing we haven’t already seen in the trailers and original film. Ant-Man and The Wasp is more geared towards the younger Marvel fans and is a good weekend movie to bring the kids to, but don’t expect the emotional roller-coaster and conversation sparking finale we’ve gotten from some of the ‘bigger’ heroes in the MCU.
PS — Don’t stay until the end-end of the credits with this film. The first “Post-Credit” is awesome, but you don’t need to waste 10 minutes sitting through credits for the final one. You’ve already seen it in the trailers…
— The Middle Show with Darren Worts