Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers for Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War, and Avengers: Infinity War.
After the devastating ending of Infinity War, most audiences were probably not ready for another emotional and heavy Marvel movie. As such, offering us a fun, size-changing romp with Ant-Man and the Wasp was the perfect palate cleanser.
This movie picks up after the end of Civil War where Ant-Man went to Germany to fight Iron Man’s team alongside Captain America and his team.
Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang aka Ant-Man is under house arrest by the FBI following his involvement in that movie with an ankle bracelet that monitors his movements, while Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym aka the original Ant-Man and his on-screen daughter, Evangeline Lilly aka Hope Van Dyne aka the Wasp are on the run from the authorities.
It also picks up the plot thread from the previous movie when Scott shrunk himself beyond safe limits and went to the microscopic quantum realm.
As you may remember, Janet Van Dyne aka the original Wasp also shunk herself some years ago and disappeared into the realm. As such, this movie is mostly about the Pym-Van Dyne family trying to find out if she is alive and rescue her if possible.
Before we go on, one thing worth talking about is how the first movie was actually the brainchild of not one but two directors; Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Baby Drive, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, etc) and Peyton Reed (Yes Man, the Breakup, Bring It On, etc). That movie being as good as it was surprised most of us as most director changes that late in the game tends to result in movies like DC’s Justice League which was an uneven mess.
As such, this movie stands as the true measure of the partnership between Reed and Marvel Entertainment.
So how was it?
In a word? It was alright. It’d be appropriate to describe it as ‘pretty decent’.
In an age where superhero movies are a dime a dozen, each movie has to rely on what makes its character unique to stand out from the crowd. With Ant-Man, it’s the size changing shenanigans, which this movie heavily leans into.
This movie is first and foremost a comedy. It is also a family drama, along with an action film with sci-fi elements thrown in. And for the most part, it works reasonably well.
The action scenes were fun and inventive, the characters were well-developed and enjoyable to see on screen, and the whole movie had more good points than bad. The fight scenes especially stand out as being pretty inventive and at times, hilarious. Knocking someone out with a giant salt shaker (as shown in the trailer) is something you’d only see in an Ant-Man movie and it’s great!
However, this movie is not without flaws. The largest flaw is the villain, Ghost.
After Killmonger in Black Panther and Thanos in Infinity War, it seemed as though Marvel was finally progressing away from its history of terrible, boring, or forgettable villains. But Ghost is back to remind us that there’s still a long way to go.
In the comics, Ghost is an Iron Man villain who can pass through things like… a ghost. Get it? Here, the character was given a gender swap and is played by Hannah John-Kamen from the TV show, Killjoys. Her powers of phasing through matter comes at a price where it causes her near-constant pain and is slowly killing her. As such, she has an understandable and even sympathetic goal in the story.
However, the way it’s handled lacks any subtlety with an egregious exposition dump in the middle of the film that lazily catches us up on her backstory and personality. Also, no matter how sympathetic her motivations, her actions and demeanor paint her as an simplistic, irrational, and desperate villain who is hard for us to root for in any measure.
That being said, the visual effects that depict her condition looks really great and John-Kamen is obviously doing the best she can with the material she’s been given. Also, her outfit is really cool. It just looks so unnerving when she randomly pops up through a wall or something to ruin the protagonist’s day.
Another superfluous part of the movie are these mobster/criminal-type villains who I honestly think were in the movie to give someone the main characters to beat on without feeling guilty about it. After all, there’s a limit to how much they can beat on the FBI without crossing the line from hero to anti-hero or villain.
Also, the conclusion of the movie is a bit… let’s say convenient. The phrase ‘deus ex machina’ comes to mind.
That being said, there’s a lot to love here. Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus from the Matrix) stood out in this movie and I generally enjoyed his character. They even got Fishburne’s son to play a younger version of him in flashbacks! How cool is that?!
Paul Rudd’s acting was also pretty on point. He plays the everyman and the underdog in this movie hilariously well. There’s a scene where he is acting Scott Lang, acting as another character and it was honestly a highlight.
Michael Peña and his fast-talking is also back and they used it to great effect this time. His long-winded recaps of situations were hilarious to watch and he had more to do in this movie, which is great.
Another great addition was Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) as FBI agent Jimmy Woo. He was funny, likable and at times, adorably pathetic.
All in all, this movie was a pretty fun ride and was a great addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It’s great to see Ant-Man and the Wasp finally team up just like in the comics and have a fun adventure. The comedy was mostly on point as well and their gimmick of size-changing is used in hilarious and interesting ways. It also had several ant puns which… it’s Ant-Man so why not, right?
This movie scores THREE giant ants out of FIVE.
More please, but with a more engaging villain.
P.S.: If you’re wondering how this movie ties into Avengers: Infinity War, wait for the post credit sequence. (The first one, at least.) That’s all that can be said without spoilers.
Header Image Source: Tek Id