Stings Like a Bee
Ant-Man and the Wasp is a movie I am very divided on and I have spent the last few hours trying to find out why that is. Maybe it is because we have had spectacular Marvel movies preceding it that I should have lowered my expectations a little before coming in. Or maybe it is because I hold the first Ant-Man film so highly that a sequel could never live up to the hype. Nonetheless, Ant-Man and the Wasp is definitely an enjoyable Marvel movie that provides a nice counterbalance from the events of Infinity War with great action scenes and humor. Sadly it reverts back to some of the same problems that have previously existed in the franchise which we thought would be gone thanks to some excellent preceding movies but unfortunately still persist.
This movie won’t answer any questions you have about the events of Infinity War. It takes place prior to that film and after the events of Captain America: Civil War and follows Scott Lang’s last days under house arrest. Meanwhile, Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne have discovered a way to bring back Janet Van Dyne from the Quantum Realm and begin to enlist Scott’s help in a mission to bring her back.
Paul Rudd is still perfect as Scott Lang/Ant-Man imbuing the same charm, wittiness, and fun personality he had in his previous two appearances. This time we focus a little more on the relationship he has for his daughter and how she is driving force for him to do good. It brought the character down and made him feel more human and empathizable as he is out doing crazy stunts. That motivation is easily one of the highlights for the movie and adds an emotional weight to his character.
Evangeline Lilly as the Wasp definitely gets more to do in this movie, and for the most part it is mainly her show. She is more sophisticated and intuitive than Scott and that is excellently portrayed through dialogue and action sequences. Similar to Scott though, her journey is more personal as she is trying to free her mom who she hasn’t seen in 30 years. You feel the urgency in their mission and the glimmer of hope (hehe) that is in her eyes as she fights to see her mom again.
Of course Michael Pena is still the scene stealer he was in the previous movie, with his quick comedic timing and general happiness that embodies him. He helps the movie feel more light and fun which is much needed after the darkness that imbued Infinity War.
The movie’s strengths lie in its action sequences, family talks, and comedy. The movie has an advantage in that its superheroes have a very simple power, but is so versatile that it can pull off some amazing stunt work. Whether it is shrinking down and back up really quickly to take out a bad guy or growing to a the size of a building to take down a convoy, there is no shortness of creativity that has been put into those sequences.
There is also a lot of comedy in this movie which is very welcome. It balances well with the drama and is never used immaturely. When a serious family discussion is happening you feel the weight and heart of the moment, and when Scott is having witty banter with Hank Pym you’re laughing til it hurts. It is a great blend that makes this a highly entertaining movie.
However, this movie has been plagued the mistakes Marvel has made before with its movies and it’s a little disheartening to see at this stage of the franchise. The movie technically has two villains: Ghost and the FBI. Ghost is a character who has enough intrigue about her to make her a successful villain, but the execution is poor. We are supposed to sympathize with her and her situation but we don’t know enough about her and everything dealing with her is given in exposition heavy scenes that detract from the movie. Her motivations are understandable but near the end of the movie it is a little too over the top.
The FBI on the other hand is an unnecessary villain that makes the movie feel more crowded than it needs to be. They mainly serve as a roadblock to the heroes and don’t serve any other purpose. It does make for some good comedic moments, but their inclusion feels more frustrating in the long run and feels like their used to lengthen the run time a little.
The movie’s plot also does not necessitate the need for these villains. The movie is more about Hope and Hank trying to free their mother/wife from the Quantum Realm while simultaneously being on the run from the police due to the events of Civil War. There is enough within that plot that Ghost’s backstory, the inclusion of additional FBI agents, and a forced romance feels like too much to the movie. The movie has thrown a bunch of smaller plot points that don’t really go anywhere instead of focusing up on one that is really clever and has a lot of intrigue.
It is disheartening especially in lieu of the string of excellent Marvel movies we have gotten in the past two years. Save for Doctor Strange and Thor: Ragnarok most of the phase 3 movies have had well developed villains that serve a purpose to the overarching story. Their inclusion feels necessary and they have become pretty memorable. It made me think that Marvel had fixed most of their problems, but this movie shows that there is still some work to be done.
I have a feeling the events in this movies will definitely have repercussions in the future of the Marvel universe. I will say the first post-credits is a must see and serves as a proper ending to the film rather than an easter egg.
There still is a lot of fun to be had while watching the movie, and if you’re looking for an entertaining fun superhero blockbuster then this is one for you. Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lily’s performances are noteworthy for praise and help bring levity and heart to the film. The action and comedy are still stellar and there is loads of entertainment. Unfortunately the fun the film provides can’t make up for too many plot threads and unnecessary villains, a problem the first film was able to avoid for the most part. This is definitely a step down from the first Ant-Man and a step down from the films that have preceded before it. I feel very divided on this movie, but hopefully they can be improved on in the future.
Check out more Marvel Movie reviews: