Ant-Man and the Wasp is another enjoyable and entertaining addition to the MCU, but doesn’t rise that much higher than the titular characters’ first movie, which sits near the middle of the twenty films in the series so far. It’ll most likely please Ant-fans and those looking for a fun action flick, but I don’t think it’ll do much more than that.
The story picks up roughly two years after the events of Captain America: Civil War, with Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) finishing up his sentence of two years house arrest. After experiencing a vision from the subatomic locale known as “the quantum realm,” he joins Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope/Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) in an effort to rescue Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), Hank’s wife and Hope’s mother, who has possibly been alive and stranded within the space between atoms for three decades. Along the way Lang and co get help from old friends like the brilliant storyteller Luis (Michael Peña), and Hank’s former co-worker Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne), while evading the black market dealer Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), goofy FBI Agent Woo (Randall Park), and the intangible “Ghost” (Hannah John-Kamen).
Speaking of Ghost, she was fantastic! The antagonist’s power (being able to phase through solid objects) made her a threat in combat against both heroes at once and created many opportunities for some awesome action sequences, but her reasoning and goals made her a truly sympathetic character that I wanted to win, just not the way she thought was necessary. The MCU had only given us a handful of strong villains before 2017, but now it’s safe to say we’re getting them consistently. Ghost isn’t quite as amazing as Killmonger or Thanos, but she still ranks among my favorites so far.
Lilly’s Wasp was great as well, and joins the likes of Okoye, Black Widow, and Scarlet Witch as another kick-ass heroine who deserves her own movie. She’s the first to get her name in the title (that’s a start, I guess), and it’s well-earned. The choreography in Wasp’s fights was consistently great, her suit’s powers allowed for some really slick takedowns, and her banter with Lang was so much fun to watch. I hope she gets even more to do in the follow-up to Avengers: Infinity War.
Unfortunately, the male heros and villain weren’t as great. Rudd’s Ant-Man and Douglas’ Pym were decent but just more of the same, and Goggins’ talents were completely wasted with Burch. It pains me to see that the actor who played Justified’s Boyd Crowder, one of my favorite TV villains ever, ended up as multiple one-dimensional bad guys this year (the other being the bland Vogel in the Tomb Raider reboot).
However, the biggest disappointment had to be the quantum realm. It left me scratching my head more than a few times, and led a lot of frustration with the film’s ending. I can’t really go further into it without spoilers, but from now on I’m calling it “the deus ex machina realm.”
With all said and done, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a very fun, but overall middling superhero flick. The male leads keep it from among the MCU’s best, but the badass women keep it far from the bottom… And really make me want an Okoye/Black Widow/Scarlet Witch/Wasp team-up.