Reviewed by: Ryan McLelland

Ant-Man and the Wasp is probably perfect summer fare for the entire family.  The third Marvel film of the year is a bit silly, very funny, and the perfect antidote for those who found Avengers: Infinity War a bit too dark.  Going in to AMATW I didn’t expect anything serious.  I expected something akin to the first film: a comedy heist film.  The film delivered in that but also had the problems of most Marvel films which is a super weak villain.  It also felt, at times, like an unneeded sequel though I will say I think living in a world with an Ant-Man 2 is better then one without.

The film once again centers around Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) who is about three days away from finishing out a two year house arrest sentence following a plea deal he took after the events of Captain America: Civil War.  Scott spends many days trying to entertain his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) and helping his friends-turned-business partners Luis (Michael Pena), Dave (T.I.), and Kurt (David Dastmalchian) get their security business X-Con off the ground.

While Scott hangs out around the house his former crimefighting partners Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) find themselves on the run from the government.  As Ant-Man helped fight for Captain America and the others who broke the Sokovia Accords, Hank and Hope are accomplices for supplying Scott with the Ant-Man suit.  They don’t seem to mind being on the run as their shrinking technology keeps them one step ahead of Agent Woo (Randall Park) and the FBI.  Hope and Hank are building a Quantum Tunnel in the hopes of going into the Quantum Realm in the hopes of finding Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfieffer) still alive after thirty years.  The crux of the story is Scott being drawn in to help Hank and Hope right at the end of his sentence.

There are two bad guys.  One is Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) who is trying to steal all of the Quantum stuff that Hank and Hope have.  The other is Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) who is supplying Hank and Hope with the Quantum technology.  Once Burch finds out the true identities of who is actually supplying this crap to, he wants in.  When he gets a no?  He becomes an adversary.  Is he much of an adversary?  Of course not.  My grandmother can beat the crap out of Walton Goggins.  Scott is quite the unwilling participant as he doesn’t want to break his house arrest right at the very end of his sentence.  So there’s the setup.

I think my problems with this film will dissipate upon further viewings.  Having Ant-Man and the Wasp come out after Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War shows a huge contrast.  Both of those films were serious with lighter moments.  They also had some great baddies in Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and Thanos (Josh Brolin).  I like my Marvel films a bit more serious with the lighter elements sprinkled in.  More Winter Soldier then Guardians 2.  Did I really expect Ant-Man 2 to be serious?  Of course not.  The thing is I have watched Black Panther and Avengers 3 multiple times.  I think those two films are amongst the best that the MCU has to offer.  Ant-Man 2 is a great ying to those films’ yang but can, in no way, hold a candle to those two films.

So if kids thought that Infinity War was too dark, Ant-Man 2 is the perfect film to take them to.  I brought my son who laughed throughout the film but looked very bored at times.  After the movie I asked him what he thought and he said, “I thought it was okay.”  Just okay?  “Just okay.”  It’s pretty much how I felt about the film as well.

I did think that both Rudd and Lilly were outstanding and I loved seeing a female hero finally get her own movie.  Yes this is as much Wasp’s movie as it is Ant-Man’s movie if not more.  On top of that the Lilly’s Wasp is much more adept at being a superhero than Lang’s Ant-Man.  It is refreshing and it is great to see the Wasp kicking so much ass up on the big screen.

I hated the Sonny Burch character and immediately thought afterwards that they could have cut all of that garbage to make way for a different villain or at least expand upon the Ghost character.  Burch just felt like he was in there as filler that really didn’t help drive the narrative.  He was a slight annoyance.

I liked that Lang’s ex-con friends are still in the picture, that they formed a security business together, and that they named that business X-Con.  Pretty witty.  T.I. and Dastmalchian take a backseat to Michael Pena but that’s probably well deserved.  Pena’s Luis is a fast talking ex-con who brings a ton of humor to the film.  I don’t find this annoying.  Rather I find the character to be one of the better characters of the MCU.  Honestly I’d love to see this character grow to become like a man who supplies super suits and weapons a la Incredibles’ Edna Mode – just popping into different MCU films to help characters as needed.

While the sequel felt unneeded with majorly weak villains, there are some incredible action sequences that will really blow away the audience.  These are worth the price of admission alone and they do some witty things with the plot when using the shrinking and growing plot devices.  I think this movie will really grow on me as time goes on and once it is more separated from Black Panther and Avengers 3.  I just think that coming 4 months after BP and 2 months after Avengers 3 slightly bogs the film down in my mind.  Others may vehemently disagree and I am totally okay with that.  If anything see the film for the great performances of Lilly, Pena, and Rudd and how it all ties into Avengers 3.


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