‘Ant-Man and The Wasp Review’: A Superior Sequel That’s Full of Fun and Never Too Serious

Check out our review for ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’ which opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, July 6…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

Marvel has managed to produce more than a few surprises during its 10 year reign atop the box office.

While it’s not a surprise that blockbusters like ‘Avengers’ pulled in billions in revenue, the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe was founded on a hero that did not have household familiarity like Batman or Superman.

Instead Marvel’s foundation is the empire built by Tony Stark.

Yep, ‘Iron Man’ was the first installment in the new Marvel Cinematic Universe and that filmed helped spawn a series of films that set up an incredibly elaborate story telling mechanism that had never been seen before when it came to comic book movies.

So it stands to reason that a studio like Marvel that launched on the back of a so-called ‘B’ list character manages to constantly pull together fun films based on even lesser known comic book properties like ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’.

Much like ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and the first ‘Ant-Man’ movie, Marvel has somehow figured out a formula to take these characters who barely had their own starring titles in the comic book industry and transform them into million dollar franchises at the movies.

The first ‘Ant-Man’ film pulled in more than $519 million at the box office — a paltry number when compared to franchise films like ‘Black Panther’ or ‘Captain America: Civil War’ — but no one expected the movie to become a blockbuster. Instead, ‘Ant-Man’ was a franchise founded on a fun movie that could draw in hardcore and casual fans alike while offering them something much different than the seriousness surrounding more intense features like ‘Avengers: Infinity War’.

In fact, ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ might be the perfect film to follow up ‘Infinity War’, which was an action packed superhero mash up where the stakes were higher than any other comic book film in history. In contract, ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ feels almost like a two hour television episode — much smaller in stature with far less on the line but still a very good time at the movies.

If you were left speechless at the end of ‘Infinity War’, you’ll be able to pick your jaw off the floor and just have a popcorn chomping good time at ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’.

With that said, let’s get to our review of ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’…

Plot

In the aftermath of ‘Captain America: Civil War’, Scott Lang is on house arrest following his participation in backing up Captain America against Iron Man and the controversial Sokovia Accords. Scott has given up being Ant-Man and he’s not even in contact with Hank Pym and his daughter Hope after they were forced to go on the run from law enforcement for producing the technology that made his suit in the first place.

But it doesn’t take long for Scott to cross paths with Hank and his daughter again after they’ve spent months trying to figure out a way to enter the Quantum Realm to rescue Jane Van Dyne — Hank’s long lost wife and Hope’s mother. Janet disappeared there 30 years ago and Hank has been on a mission to find her ever since and now he may be close to finding a away to reach her but that’s going to require some help from Scott.

Acting

Paul Rudd definitely gets the role he’s meant to play as the comedic, slapstick superhero with a heart of gold. Rudd is well known for his comedic timing and that was definitely on display during the first film and there’s no shortage of that in the sequel either.

Perhaps the best parts of Rudd’s performance come when he’s acting alongside Abby Ryder Fortson, who returns to play his daughter Cassie in the movie.

Meanwhile, Evangeline Lilly adds another strong, capable female superhero to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as she transforms from Hope Van Dyne into the Wasp for this movie. Lilly has all the chops to do the physical work required for her part but she’s tops when playing serious next to Rudd’s goofball antics.

As far as the newest additions to ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’ — Walton Goggins is devilish as always, although his character is essentially forgettable by the end of the movie. Laurence Fishburne is a welcome addition as an old colleague of Hank Pym and Hannah John-Kamen is solid as the mysterious ‘Ghost’ — one of the primary antagonists of the movie who can phase through any solid object.

Directing and Writing

Peyton Reed returns for the sequel after a solid job on the original ‘Ant-Man’ movie as well. There’s nothing that really stands out where Reed would be applauded for his bold choices in filmmaking with this movie but sometimes it’s better for a director to just let the story and the stars shine for themselves as opposed to trying to reinvent the wheel (here’s looking at you Rian Johnson).

The script is well done with more than a few comedic beats that keep the action moving along throughout the film. The plot of the movie isn’t exactly built like a Rubik’s cube in terms of difficulty to figure out what’s going to happen next but then again ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ is exactly a film that needs that kind of intricate storytelling.

Instead, ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ sticks to what it’s supposed to be — the sidekick to the more serious fare at Marvel that doesn’t need the world to be set on fire for it to make sense.

What’s Wrong with the Movie?

Like many Marvel movies before this one, ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ suffers from a villain problem but the truth is it doesn’t really take away from the fun of the movie.

Still, the two obstacles put in the way of our heroes — Walton Goggins’ black market tech dealer and a mysterious character called Ghost — aren’t really that ferocious when facing off against Ant-Man or the Wasp. Sure, Ghost has a few cool action sequences during the movie but really she’s not there to serve as the Thanos of this particular corner of the Marvel Universe.

Maybe the point of this movie was to go in the opposite direction of the original ‘Ant-Man’ feature where they tried to make a serviceable big bad called Yellowjacket and really that character just ended up as a splatter on somebody’s windshield and nobody is going to ask to see him again.

The same will probably be said with this movie as nobody really stands out enough to where you’d want to watch them again but at least Ant-Man and the Wasp shine bright, which is really the point of the entire sequel.

Final Verdict

Listen don’t go into ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’ and expect a follow up to ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ because this film is about a deep as a mud puddle compared to an ocean in terms of the gravity of the subject matter. That said, ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ is exactly what it’s supposed to be — a funny, quirky comedy-comic book movie that’s light on story, heavy on the laughs and an all around good time at the movies.

‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’ gets 4 out of 5 on the Skolnick Scale

 

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