When Ant-Man was first released back in 2015, I was surprise how much I enjoyed it. I say that because over a year before it was released the film had problems behind the scenes where they had to replace Edgar Wright as the director. Fortunately, they found another one just in time for them to continue production and Ant-Man was released to decent reviews and box office returns. Thus, I felt a bit more confident and somewhat anticipated seeing the sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018). I was confident because the director from the first film was returning and excited because after Avengers: Infinity War I needed something lighthearted to watch after the emotional roller coaster that film put me through. Did this prove that the first Ant-Man wasn’t a fluke? As usual let’s find out and expect minor spoilers ahead.
Taking place after the events of Captain America: Civil War and right before the events of Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp finds our hero Scott Lang A.K.A. Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) under house arrest. He’s been put in that position due to his involvement with Captain America during the events in Captain America: Civil War. The good news for Scott is that he only has a few days left on his sentence. The bad news, however, is that Scott’s sentence is about to get a lot harder to serve. During the last few days of house arrest, he gets kidnapped by Hank Pym (Micheal Douglas), the original user of the Ant-Man suit, and Hope Van Dyne A.K.A The Wasp (Evangeline Lily). The reason for that is because they’re working on a quantum tunnel that could lead them to the quantum realm, a microscopic dimension where they believe Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), the original Wasp and wife and mother to Hank and Hope respectively, is and Scott is the key to helping them out. This would be a simple task, but of course it wouldn’t be a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film without a villain and our baddie here is Ava A.K.A. Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen). She has a condition that allows her to phase through walls and other people at will, but it’s slowly killing her and the cure involves the quantum tunnel and realm, which would jeopardize our heroes’ plan. From that point forward, our heroes are on a time crunch to not only save a beloved family member but to make sure Scott’s future isn’t jeopardized in the process.
When the MCU released their films in 2018 it felt like I was getting a three-course meal. A weird analogy but bear with me. Black Panther represented one the best salads you ever had, Avengers: Infinity War was the entree that had all the right ingredients, and finally Ant-Man and the Wasp was the dessert. It’s sweet, fulfilling, and doesn’t have a lot of substance, but at the same time you are glad you got to experience it. I guess what I’m trying to say is that Ant-Man and the Wasp is a fun film but doesn’t have a whole lot to offer to compared to the other MCU films.
If you read my review for The Incredible Hulk, then you’ve heard me say that it felt like a filler episode in one long story. Ant-Man and the Wasp feels like that for the most part despite the fact that the MacGuffin (the quantum tunnel and realm) does play a big role in Avengers: Endgame. I guess what I’m trying to say is other than the main plot itself, there’s not much substance to this film compared to the first Ant-Man. There are films that I love where style overcomes substance (i.e. Mad Max: Fury Road), but this film didn’t offer anything groundbreaking or extraordinary that made me want to see it again right away. There were some cool moments in here that involved shrinking and growing, but after a while it felt like watching a 3-D movie: cool at first but after a while it’s nothing to write home about.
While Ant-Man and the Wasp wasn’t something extraordinary like Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, the one thing that it did have over those two films is that it is simple but in a good way. Avengers: Infinity Warwas a great film, but the ending left me in a depressed state (yes, I understand how hyperbolic that sounds). Ant-Man and the Wasp was the Marvel film I needed after that due to the humor and fun action moments that were just plain entertaining. The motives of the villains weren’t on a global level, which was nice to experience after so many MCU films that involve the fate of the world. I know Spider-Man: Homecoming had a similar tone but I’m glad that this one was able to pull it off.
If I did find any substance that’s worth mentioning in Ant-Man and the Wasp, it’s the importance of family and what they mean to us. In the first film there was tension between a lot of family members, especially the ones centered around Scott Lang. In this film, it seemed that tension eased due to the interaction of the characters. Scott’s ex-wife and her new husband treat him with a lot more respect compared to the first film and not just for the sake of their daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson). It’s something that I enjoyed seeing because most films that show divorced families are often show the ugly side of people but here they all get along in a loving way. The ending itself has a positive family message. Once Janet reunites with her husband and daughter the film has an uplifting positive tone up until the first after-credit stinger. It was nice watching a film with that kind of family message without overdoing it.
Ant-Man and the Wasp isn’t an an extraordinary film, but it is entertaining and enjoyable. If you love the first film, you’ll admire this one as well. They did say that a third film is in the works with the original team and I’m pretty stoked because of how this film performed. Hopefully it’ll come out sooner than expected.