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Ant-Man and the Wasp – Review


Release Date: 6 July 2018
Director: Peyton Reed
Writer: Chris McKenna - Erik Sommers - Paul Rudd - Andrew Barrer - Gabriel Ferrari
Cast: Paul Rudd - Evangeline Lilly - Michael Douglas



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Posted July 8, 2018 by

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Ant Man and the Wasp Review:

Remember when we didn’t want Ant-Man to enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and then found ourselves laughing our guts out at his on-screen antics in 2015? Well, get ready for plenty more of that in the sequel, with the cast back on hilarious form and the highly anticipated appearance of the Wasp as the newest female superhero in the MCU.

Ant-Man and the Wasp is set two years after the events of Captain America: Civil War, and Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang is still suffering the consequences of throwing his lot in with ‘Team Cap’. During his two-year house arrest, he has fallen out with Hank Pym (Douglas) and his daughter, Hope (Lilly). But, Scott surviving his trip to the quantum realm at the end of the first film has given Pym and Hope much to work on. With the right technology, Pym believes he can save his long-lost wife and decides to bring Scott back into the fold to help. They just need one more part to complete their quantum tunnel.

ant man and the wasp review

Of course, this being a Marvel film, their best laid plans never see fruition. The team find themselves faced with a new antagonist, the Ghost, while also being obstructed at every turn by smarmy businessman Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins). With a tight deadline to meet, Ant-Man and the Wasp are going to need all the help they can get to save Janet Van Dyne and themselves.

Three years ago, the notion of an Ant-Man film felt like a gross insult to every Marvel Cinematic Universe fan. But, Marvel and director Peyton Reed made it work, despite tumultuous behind-the-scenes drama that saw original director Edgar Wright exit before filming began. The final product was surprisingly cohesive, not to mention, hilarious.

But, the humour of the film attempted to gloss over the main issue – why was Scott Lang, an ex-con, the hero of the film when the far smarter and more competent Hope Van Dyne should have been saving the day? This sequel attempts to balance the scales, giving Hope and Scott almost equal amounts of screen-time and action. Most importantly, it is Hope’s (and Pym’s) mission that is central to the story, while Scott’s arc is more about surviving to finally regain his freedom.

As a sequel, there are a few tropes that the film subverts – mainly that the stakes aren’t higher and the villains aren’t bigger and badder. The storyline is very personal, not only for the heroes, but also for the villain. The Ghost has an agenda, and she is unwavering in her need to accomplish this task, because it means her survival rather than the world’s destruction. I don’t think we could put up with yet another villain looking to destroy the world. Marvel’s best films have all included villains with personal vendettas or those dealing with personal issues. Thor, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Black Panther dealt with the good and evil between individuals and they were the better for it. While I wouldn’t put Ant-Man and the Wasp in that territory, the film’s writers certainly hit upon the correct formula for guaranteeing the audience was more invested in its cinematic proceedings.

ant man and the wasp villain

Unfortunately, like most sequels, the film feels less accomplished than its predecessor. There is far too much exposition which hampers the pacing of the film and the central MacGuffin is little more than a tool to instigate proceedings, but then, that’s the point, I suppose. With a relatively large cast, some of the main players see curtailed screen time. It’s no wonder that Ant-Man himself occasionally takes a backseat in the film. Most of the film’s failings, however, are outshone by the effortless performances of the cast.

The considerable talent on display look like they belong in this fantastical universe. Lilly truly comes into her own in this film, capturing a happier and steadier Hope van Dyne in her scenes. Rudd is hilarious, as always, easing in and out of funny and emotional scenes with aplomb.

But the star, or rather, stars of the show, are the two Michaels, Douglas and Peña. Peña is a scene-stealer as Luis, obliterating any darkness with his effervescent charm and comic timing. We deserve an entire film told from Luis’ point of view – it will be the laugh riot we deserve.

I was surprised by Douglas, though. He is given more screen time this time around and is also allowed to engage in some of the humour. It is evident he is enjoying himself, and this comfort seeps into his onscreen performance. Pym is easily my favourite character in this film, simply because of how Douglas plays him (it helps that Marvel Studios loves to ignore Pym’s uglier comic book characteristics).

The rest of the supporting cast add to the diverse landscape that is the MCU today. New entrant Randall Park is superb as pesky FBI agent Jimmy Woo, while Hannah John-Kamen excels as the sympathetic but frightening Ghost. I wish Laurence Fishburne had been given a meatier role, but perhaps we will see more of him in future MCU films. And, of course, TI and David Dastmalchian are now inseparable from their characters and continue to back up Luis as two of the MCU’s best comic reliefs.

ant man and the wasp cast

At the end of the day, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a Marvel story, building on the existing cinematic universe and also tying the film into the overall MCU story. The film has multiple protagonists, which is precisely what makes it much more enjoyable. By empathizing with different characters and their situations, we are drawn deeper into the realm of this superhero fantasy. Honestly, if Chris Evans’ Captain America can get sidelined in his own trilogy, then Ant-Man can definitely take a step back to allow the Wasp, Hank Pym, as well as Luis and the gang, to spread their wings. Thankfully, Marvel Studios has finally seen the light, and is reluctantly putting the brakes on its roster of predominantly straight, white male heroes taking the lead every, single time.

This sequel may not leave an indelible mark on the MCU, but it brings back the concept of films being fun, which is something we all desperately need in today’s world. Despite some of its sillier moments, the film has a lot of heart and some incredible action set pieces. And, don’t forget to stay for the mid-credits scene, it is undoubtedly the best part of the instalment.


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Lestat de Lioncourt
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