Ant-Man and The Wasp

Ant-Man and The Wasp is big on laughs and action yet self-aware of its limits as a sequel.

It’s been just over two months since Avengers: Infinity War left viewers paralysed with that unexpected and somber ending. Yet film forums and chatrooms are still endemic with what happened, why it happened and how it can be undone in Avengers 4 (currently untitled). Which is why Ant-Man and The Wasp couldn’t have come out at a better time. There’s none of that do or die scenario which immediately elevates this film above something as colossal and imposing as saving the universe, essentially making this sequel a story with a little charm and a lot of humour and with just the right amount of action.

Two years after backing Cap in Civil War, Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang is under house arrest and nearing the end of his sentence. Although this could explain why the Ant-Man wasn’t seen in Infinity War, the story suggests that the film isn’t too concerned of its position in the MCU. Instead, the story builds on the hypothesis that if Lang could return to his fully functional form after his subatomic adventure in the previous film, then there’s a slim possibility of finding Hank Pym’s (Michael Douglas) long lost superhero wife and the first Wasp (Michelle Pfeiffer). Together with Hank’s daughter Hope (Evangeline Lily as the new Wasp) this is their mission until a new and dangerous character surfaces with an opposing agenda.

In the ensuing conflict, Ant-Man and The Wasp erupts into a ton of fun with the inclusion of a motley mix of wacky characters led by Walter Goggins as petty criminal Sunny Birch, Randal Park as a zany FBI agent, Lang’s friend and ex-con Michael Peña’s Luis (who they pronounce as Louise), and Lawrence Fishburn as Hank’s old associate. In the wake of the mass-destruction seriousness of previous MCU films, these characters ground the story with an everyman feel to a level where this superhero story is reduced to a more relatable human scale. But while the film is content with exploring the frailty of family dynamics and kinship, the story feels underdeveloped when it comes to a few essential plot points; the big one being – Ghost – a new and never-before-seen character in MCU films. With the ability to manifest between apparition and physical form, a condition Hank calls “Molecular Dequilibrium”, Ghost is a welcome addition to the franchise with vast potential as an anti-hero. Perhaps we will know more about this character if there is a third film but until then it suffices to say that this character deserved to be better explored.

With the use of scientific jargon in the film, returning director Peyton Reed and his team of five screenwriters (including Rudd himself) also had to throw in some exposition to keep us following. The first half has a lot of this and most viewers will see through the superficiality of it all being just a build-up for what comes later. As a sequel this is expected, along with product placements where we see the product logo cropped to fit the screen. The film really opens up when it stops holding back and then unleashes everything we have been waiting for and more. The action is thick and fast, outdone only by the comic timing from Rudd and Peña. By this time Ant-Man and The Wasp has also devolved the notion that a superhero film doesn’t have to be boosted with hype or shrouded in secrecy. In its own ‘little’ way, this is a superhero film like the good old days and that’s all it tries to be – a small and lighthearted story that doesn’t require viewers to pull out pivot tables after the film.

Rating: ★★★½☆


About Lloyd Bayer

Besides his passion for travelling, photography and scuba diving, Lloyd is a prolific film critic having contributed hundreds of film reviews to web and print journals, including IMDb and local daily Khaleej Times.