By Dave B.
For starters, because Ant-Man and The Wasp (Marvel, Disney) takes place before, or concurrent with, the events in Avengers: Infinity War it isn’t necessary to have seen that movie (nor the first Ant-Man for that matter) to enjoy Marvel’s newest release. The movie starts with Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) under house arrest for his role in events that take place in Captain America: Civil War (again, not necessary to have seen this; everything gets fully explained). His relationship with Hope van Dyne/The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) has been severely damaged. Hoping to quietly serve out the few remaining days of his sentence, Lang is drawn back into the superhero business when he comes to suspect that Pym’s wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) who is presumed dead, may be alive and trapped in the “quantum realm”. There’s a lot to like about this film, but I wouldn’t put it in the upper-tier of Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies.
In its favor, Ant-Man and The Wasp is (mostly) tons of fun. The humor is great. Michael Pena (who plays Ant-Man’s sidekick, Luis) really carries the movie at some points with his seemingly random stories filled with questionable details. With a star-heavy cast, it’s unsurprising that the performances are good. The action sequences are engrossing and the special effects range from great to spectacular. Even the overall pacing of the film was generally decent.
My biggest issue with Ant-Man and The Wasp is that it’s too long. It might not be fair to review a movie outside of the context of itself, but I can’t help but feel that two hours is too long of a runtime for an MCU movie that doesn’t seem to significantly advance the greater MCU narrative. There aren’t any parts of the movie that bored me, however I did start to get a bit antsy for the ending to arrive, especially as it was nearly entirely predictable how it would go down. That touches on my second major issue with the movie: because the stakes are entirely personal, the “antagonists” are either not really antagonists or are inconsequential. For example, Ghost (played by one of my favorite actresses, Hannah John-Kamen) is more worthy of empathy and assistance than fear or scorn. And Sonny Burch, despite being fairly well-resourced, doesn’t have superpowers and isn’t a Lex Luthor. I won’t say this film is strictly a play for money, but if you had to throw away an MCU movie while trying to have as little negative impact on the greater MCU storyline as possible, this movie would be one of the top contenders to get scrapped.
Despite my criticisms, I recommend seeing this movie. Ant-Man and The Wasp is fun and funny and entertaining. But it’s not special and it’s not consequential on its own (events in it may prove to be important down the line, yes; I totally concede that). If you’re not a huge Marvel or Ant-Man fan, I think that you would enjoy this movie on it’s own merits. Just don’t go into it expecting it to be more than it is: a fairly solid offering with some big names attached to a movie about Marvel’s Junior Varsity squad.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.