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Film Review – Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Infinity War rocked the world a few months ago, changing the landscape in superhero films, expanding what was possible within this subset of films that is slowly becoming a genre of its own.  You always need a palette cleanser after such a film, however.  There’s only so much you can do to up the ante in every MCU movie.  Ant-Man and the Wasp, the latest movie from Marvel, does just that, blending humor and wacky technology for a relaxing, pleasant time at the theater.

The following review will be spoiler free.

Synopsis

Directed By: Peyton Reed

Written By: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, and Gabriel Ferrari

Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Michael Douglas, Hannah John-Kamen, Laurence Fishburne, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, T.I., David Dastmalchian, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, and Michelle Pfeiffer

After being put on house arrest for his role in the German airport fight between many, many heroes a few years back, Scott Lang (Rudd) finds himself without an outlet for hero-like activities, losing touch with Hope (Lilly) and Dr. Pym (Douglas) a while back.

But when Scott starts to have bizarre visions of Hope’s mom who was lost in the quantum zone long ago, Scott is thrust back into action to help Hope and Dr. Pym create some new technology to possibly bring her back, but people like Ava (John-Kamen) and Sonny (Goggins) won’t make that very easy.

Background

You saw Infinity War.  Everyone saw Infinity War (the film has made over $2 billion and counting thus far in its theatrical run).  But in case you’ve been living in a bunker somewhere, cut off from the world and its regular phenomena (in which case I must thank you from the bottom of my heart for making MovieBabble one of your first reads since your reemergence back into society), I’ll spare you from the details.

But, Infinity War had a rather large fallout, which made even more eyes dart to Ant-Man and the Wasp.  Would the film answer some of the more pressing questions to come out of the biggest team-up superhero film of all-time?

Marvel was smart to place Ant-Man and the Wasp after Infinity War.  The film is obviously more modestly budgeted than other superhero outings.  It’s never going to make a run at the $1 billion mark.  Still, the implications of Infinity War have more eyes turned to this surprise sequel.  It wouldn’t shock me if it overperformed passed box office predictions.  The ripple effects of Infinity War will be felt for years, but Ant-Man and the Wasp’s success might be the first sign of its power over popular culture.

ant-man and the wasp

image via Vue

Paul Rudd is Still a National Treasure

You love Paul Rudd.  I love Paul Rudd.  We all love Paul Rudd!  He’s arguably the best scamp in Hollywood today.  His disposition is so damn charming, you can’t help but fall in love with him.

Ant-Man and the Wasp is wise to coast off of Rudd’s likability — it’s a pretty easy thing to do.  From a comedic standpoint, Rudd is the center of it all, deflating intentionally over-serious or verbose sequences with a simple wink and smirk.  Like the first Ant-Man, Evangeline Lilly is clearly the more skilled and intelligent person between the two of them, and Rudd knows that too.  His suit doesn’t work perfectly, his seemingly well-natured actions backfire, and he even struggles to be a good parent to his adorable daughter.  But then he smiles or offers a quick quip, and you immediately love him.

His humor works as the perfect reality check.  When everything appears a tad too serious, Rudd quickly jumps in to change that; he acts as a supporting character in his own movie.  The balance allows the wonderful Evangeline Lilly to shine while still allowing Rudd to do what he does best: quip like there’s no tomorrow.

ant-man and the wasp

image via BBC.com

Ant-Man and the Wasp is a Breath of Fresh Air…

Sometimes, it’s a bit tiring to see the universe on the verge of collapsing in every single superhero movie.  There’s only so many ways to build tension in that manner.  Although some of it isn’t as developed as I would have liked, it’s charming to see a car chase as a massive set piece in a Marvel movie.

Brad Peyton and Co. add little, intricate details to each fight, choreographing fun ways for the heroes to change size and wreak havoc on baddies.  When I remember Ant-Man and the Wasp, I’ll think of its fun little quirks, both from the characters and the situations.  It’s suitably small-scale, relying on zaniness and intelligent stupidity to continue the magic.

ant-man and the wasp

image via Slash Film

…But It Feels Unremarkable

But, in its reliance on smaller scale thrills, the entire film is somewhat forgettable.  That does not mean that Ant-Man and the Wasp is unremarkable because it lacks a $250 million budget and an absurd spectacle that requires that it is seen in IMAX.  Ant-Man and the Wasp simply struggles to innovate.

Ant-Man and the Wasp is similar to one of the lesser Phase One MCU films.  It’s extremely competent in basically every way, but it includes nothing spectacular.  The jokes are good, but they never reach their gut-busting potential.  The action is fun, but it’s not much of a step up from the original Ant-Man.  And this is the MCU, so you know that there’s a villain problem (just when you thought they were righting the ship with figures like Killmonger and Thanos).

Amazing thrills are possible from these characters.  Except, everything is entirely too familiar in the end.  I find myself having trouble talking about it in great detail.  Yes, it’s a fun ride, yet it should be a little more than that.

ant-man and the wasp

image via BGR.com

Final Thoughts

Though it struggles to feel like a memorable piece of entertainment, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a very serviceable — and fun — entry into the Marvel canon.  Filled with hilarious moments from the charming Paul Rudd, what Ant-Man and the Wasp lacks in pure spectacle it makes up for with great humor and inventive action set pieces that keep finding different ways to add a needed bit of delightfulness to it all.

Not every superhero movie can have end of the world stakes (nor should they all), and Ant-Man understands its places in the grand scheme of things for Marvel.

Grade: B

ant-man and the wasp

image via The Wrap


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Nick Kush

A current young professional, Nick founded MovieBabble in October of 2016 in order to provide insightful film analysis that is meant to educate and entertain. Nick is also a member of the Internet Film Critics Society. You can follow Nick at the official MovieBabble Twitter account @MovieBabble_

7 Responses

  1. Another gem of a review, Nicky Boy! If you’ve seen my first-reaction on Stardust, then you know how I felt about it. With Ghost, I really do get a level of sympathy towards her and her plight. However, I feel that the presence of Sonny Burch got in the way of her becoming a memorable antagonist. It’s not a fault on Hannah John-Kamen at all since she gives a good performance (Plus, she’s a Game of Thrones actress if only for two episodes). I would have chucked Walton Goggins from this film (since his character is more of a nuisance than a threat) and give his screen-time to her so that Ava Starr could be fleshed out completely and approach the level of of sympathetic villains. Other than that, Rudd & Lilly were wonderful together while Douglas is as solid as ever.

    • Nick Kush says:

      It’s weird — between this, Tomb Raider and Maze Runner, Goggins seems to love playing these weird characters that aren’t utilized fully. He’s needs better work!

  2. Dave Gardner says:

    We went and watched this movie a few days ago. It was entertaining and a fun watch. Thanks for following Daily Ramblings! I really appreciate it. I look forward to interacting with you in the future. All the best with your blog!

  3. Terrio says:

    Are you spoiling anything in your article? I still haven’t seen it yet.

  4. Nick Kush says:

    Want to join the MovieBabble staff? Check out this link in your browser to get started: https://moviebabblereviews.com/join-moviebabble/
    Be sure to check out the MovieBabble Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/MovieBabble

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