Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
2015’s Ant-Man is a fun romp, small in scope and big in heart. It was somewhat of a palette cleanser back after Avengers: Age of Ultron, proving that sometimes, good things come in small packages. Now, however, we are post Black Panther and Infinity War, and after two huge events in a year, Ant-Man and the Wasp may seem a little too small for its placement in the MCU.
After his involvement with the rest of the Avengers in Civil War, Scott Lang (Rudd) makes a deal with the government to be under house arrest for two years. With just three days left to go, he is once again called into action by Hope “Wasp” van Dyne (Lily) and her father Hank (Douglas), who are now on the run thanks to Scott’s antics. They believe Scott could be the key to bringing Hope’s mother, Janet (Pfeiffer) back from the quantum realm.
The problem with the movie is that it is perhaps too slight, too inconsequential for the events that have just happened in Infinity War. With half of the MCU dusted into oblivion, an audience member’s focus is not going to be at the task at hand, but rather, when the snap will happen to this lot. No matter how much fun it is to watch the forever charming Paul Rudd, finger-snapping is always at the forefront, and it becomes incredibly distracting.
The story itself also feels under-developed. Running at just under two hours, it passes by without much happening at all, whilst the things that do happen are largely predictable. The first act of the movie is burdened with the resentment both Hope and Hank feel towards Scott, but this doesn’t add any tension, only tediousness.
The most refreshing thing about the movie is the fact that Hope now gets to join in on the action. Lily is a captivating screen presence, and you can visibly see how much she enjoys being one half of the heroic duo, as she was left very much on the side lines in the first film. It great to see Ant-Man and the Wasp fight side by side, but, to its detriment, it is still very much an Ant-Man movie, with most of the focus going on Hope’s male counterpart.
The action is fairly standard for such a film, albeit not terribly exciting. The third act’s chase sequence is enjoyable, however, with heroes and villains like these, they should be far more inventive. The film’s protagonists shrink, and, in one case, grow to exponential heights, and the villain, Ghost (John-Kamen) can phase through objects. It all feels a little bored, however, and you get the sense that this was a more rushed version of what could’ve been.
Saying this, there are some positives in the film; the cast is always on top form, including John-Kamen as Ghost, whose villain has more reason to be evil than your Average Joe. Due to an accident when she was a child, her phasing ability comes with its drawbacks, and she is in constant physically pain, her body tearing itself apart. It’s also worth noting that the role was gender-swapped from the comics, a decision I can get behind in a world of male dominated superheroes.
It’s not the most difficult film to watch in the MCU (I’m still looking at you Thor: The Dark World), but it’s far from the best. A mediocre finish to 2018’s trio of Marvel movies.