Hot Take: The okay-est sequel to the okay-est superhero film in the MCU. But really, a light superhero flick haunted by a “villain” who is in constant physical and emotional agony desperately trying to survive? Maybe that wasn’t the best idea.
When Ant-Man came on the scene three years ago, it was noticeably lighter than any other superhero film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This came as no surprise considering Paul Rudd was cast as the diminutive superhero. Keeping the character fresh, Rudd as Ant-Man was a scene stealer in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War but was notably absent from Avengers: Infinity War. The follow-up, Ant-Man and the Wasp, picks up two years after Ant-Man/Scott Lang’s arrest for his role in the skirmish between Captain America and the Avengers keeping the thread that bonds the movies together in place. While never addressing the other happenings in the MCU (unless you hang around for the post-credits scene), the film stands on its own pretty well but lacks the gravitas of the other films in the MCU. It almost feels like a side show, albeit a mostly entertaining one, but also shows why Ant-Man works more effectively as a supporting character rather than the main one. The result is an adequate superhero flick in a climate susceptible to superhero fatigue with the frequency that superhero flicks are released these days. (Ant-Man and the Wasp marks the 5th superhero flick of 2018! FIFTH!!!)
In Ant-Man and the Wasp, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) open a tunnel to the quantum realm which is where Hank thinks his wife Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), the original Wasp, might still be alive. When they open the tunnel, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), currently under house arrest, receives a message from Janet. Despite only having a few days of house arrest remaining, Lang contacts Pym and his daughter to tell them about what he received. Hope kidnaps Lang with plans on re-entering the quantum realm and using Lang as a conduit to find where Janet is located there. Before they can get the part they need to re-access the tunnel, the trio is stopped by Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) who also needs to get to the quantum realm to use Janet’s energy to cure her of the superpower that is killing her.
All in all, Ant-Man and the Wasp has an adequate story and tells the tale better than expected when looking at the credits and seeing the director of Bring It On and The Break-Up and five different screenwriters receiving credit. That’s usually a bad sign but Ant-Man and the Wasp withstands the onslaught of writers and delivers a tight script with plenty of humor. There’s still that overarching hangover from Avengers: Infinity War the film can’t seem to escape. Granted, Deadpool 2 came out a few weeks after Avengers: Infinity War but let’s be honest, does anyone even remember Deadpool 2 at this point?
MCU films have done an incredible job of insuring that every film is entertaining, watchable and also intersects with future films to stoke the interest of its fans. It’s not as if superhero films can’t fail. The DC Universe fails all the time. Previous Marvel efforts *COUGH* FANTASTIC FOUR *COUGH* have also failed. Hell, there’s even been a bad movie featuring Wolverine and Deadpool as characters in the film (Seriously? You’re telling me you enjoyed X-Men Origins: Wolverine? I’m not buying it!) so they aren’t fail proof. Ant-Man and the Wasp continues the MCU’s impressive streak of not only opening #1 at the box office as have the previous 19 MCU films before it but also satisfying both audiences and critics at the same time. It’s a testament to how well crafted and smartly chosen the characters and storylines for the MCU are. It’s more than just a fad at 10 years in and 20 films deep. Ant-Man and the Wasp‘s success isn’t solely reliant on its connection to the MCU, either. It stands on its own as a completely satisfactory film with a reasonable level of entertainment for even the casual superhero flick fan.
You’re 19 films deep into the MCU, why stop now?
The end is nigh thanks to these insipid superhero films. THE END IS NIGH!!!