Movie Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

This 2018 sequel to the character’s solo debut, and once again directed by Peyton Reed, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a superhero team up film, and the twentieth (!) movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Set before the recent Infinity War, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is under house arrest following his involvement in the superhero Civil War, and has retired as Ant-Man, until he is dragged back into things by two of the FBIs most wanted, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lily) and her father, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). Pursued by FBI Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), and criminal Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), Lang, Van Dyne and Pym seek to rescue Pym’s wife Janet Van Dyne from the quantum realm.

+ something about both of these Ant-Man movies has just felt so different than the rest of the MCU. They are very clearly part of the same universe, but they have their own worlds (and/or micro universes) with their own rules to work with. Similarly, the threats are almost Spider-man-like in their scale: you don’t need Thor to come and lay the smacketh down on Ghost (a great, but perhaps underutilised Hannah John-Kamen) or Sonny Burch, because Ant-man can do it himself (or at least with a little help from Wasp)
+ I’ll come out and say it: the ship has sailed on a Black Widow stand-alone film (at least one starring Scarlett Johansson), so just add Wasp (Lily) to a movie with Scarlet Witch, Okoye and Gamora. I’d watch that
+ there is fantastic physical comedy, both in terms of CGI weirdness and general slapstick tone. Paul Rudd’s comedy pedigree is not lost, even when he is saving the world, and the simple idea of growing or shrinking, like some sort of weird Alice in Wonderland scene, never ceases to get a chuckle from me.
+ the action feels so much more real than most superhero movies. Despite things like instantly-growing salt shakers or Pez dispensers, the “science” feels almost believable, giving the film an almost Iron Man 1 like quality, where you know it’s silly, and you know it is not real, but there is a part of you that thinks “nobody is Hulking out or shooting lightning from their hands, so this feels real”. Maybe it is just because the characters are wearing suits in real life, and it’s not all CGI. I dunno. Is that dumb?
+ the film ties into earlier movies so well, and answers a lot of questions you might have going in (yes, even the obvious one). Don’t let any of those clickbait “ending explained” videos fool you, you won’t need them

– I don’t know why Marvel is shitting all over the Ant-Man lore the way they are. Hank Pym’s most well known accomplishment (aside from beating his wife) was creating Ultron – so of course Ant-man came out after Age of Ultron. Bill Foster (aka Black Goliath, or just Goliath as he is here played by Laurence Fishburne) is arguably best known for his not-so-heroic moment in the Civil War comic – so they introduce him after Civil War. It almost seems intentional at this point.

> Both John-Kamen and Goggins were just in Tomb Raider, which also had some themes of a bad-ass woman attempting to rescue a long-thought-dead parent. What are the odds?

Should you see this film: Both of these movies have felt like more than “just” superhero movies, with strong themes of family and redemption. The “big and small” gimmick never feels overused, and allows for really clever action set pieces. I loved the first Ant-Man movie, and I think I liked this one even more.

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