The fact that a superhero movie about a man given a suit that makes him the size of an ant and allows him to control ants made its way to the cineplex three years ago still amazes me. The finished product of Ant-Man was surprising, as it gave us a likeable superhero in Scott Lang (played greatly by Paul Rudd) and something a little different (in a good way) for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Fast forward three years and now we have its sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp, which is one of the best sequels to follow an MCU superhero’s first solo outing. On par with its predecessor, Ant-Man and the Wasp is another good entry in the MCU, thanks to its small-scale stakes (ha), action, humor, and most importantly Evangeline Lilly, who ultimately takes the reigns of the movie as the Wasp.
Scott Lang is grappling with the consequences of his choices as both a superhero and a father. Approached by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym, Lang must once again don the Ant-Man suit and fight alongside the Wasp. The urgent mission soon leads to secret revelations from the past as the dynamic duo finds itself in an epic battle against a powerful new enemy.
Ant-Man and the Wasp’s story is small in comparison to almost everything we’ve seen in the MCU, but, yes, the movie addresses why Ant-Man was not in Infinity War. And yes, we see how Avengers: Infinity War becomes connected to this movie (though that won’t be spoiled here). If there are a couple negatives worth pointing out in Ant-Man and the Wasp, it’s that there’s a bit too much going on with some of the movie’s subplots, while also not having a clear villain. You might be thinking, “Another villain problem with an MCU movie? You don’t say!” Yes, the MCU still struggles to consistently offer antagonists for its superheroes to face off against. But like Ant-Man and the Wasp and more than half of the MCU movies, the shortcomings from its villain and story at times are made up for in its casting, action, and humor. And going off the recent trend of delving into the realm of science fiction, Ant-Man and the Wasp offers up new and intriguing areas for the MCU that could play a pivotal role in the overarching landscape of this ever-growing cinematic universe.
Paul Rudd is back as Scott Lang, who is fine (and funny) as ever as the ex-con turned hero trying to set a better example for his daughter. Some of the movie’s best humorous moments come from Rudd himself, especially in the first two thirds of the movie. While Ant-Man holds the title role in the movie, the true star of Ant-Man and the Wasp is Evangeline Lilly as the Wasp. Given more to work with in this sequel thanks to the main plot, Lilly is another kick-ass female superhero the MCU has urgently needed in its ever-growing universe. Holding her own, Lilly showcases herself as another star-budding actress who hopefully will be offered bigger and better things outside of the comic book adaptation genre. Along with Rudd and Lilly, Michael Pena is back as the scene-stealing, Luis (who delivers arguably the best and funniest moment in the movie), and the always great Michael Douglas as Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man. Joining the returning cast members are Walton Goggins as an arms dealer, Hannah John-Kamen as Ghost, Laurence Fishburne as an old colleague of Pym’s, and Michelle Pfeiffer as Pym’s wife and the original Wasp. All these new cast members are good, but minus Pfeiffer’s character, these characters their subplot easily could have been cut, and it would have made for a tighter movie.
While small in stakes, the action of Ant-Man and the Wasp is bigger than ever before. Showcasing more of Ant-Man and objects within reach and switching between different sizes both large and small makes for some clever moments that help further the story while also taking opportunities to give the audience a chuckle. While this is an Ant-Man movie, the action makes a case for this being the Wasp’s movie, with Ant-Man serving as an assistant. The visual effects of Ant-Man and the Wasp are fine and not too overwhelming, as the movie does a good job juggling the changing of different sizes, traveling to other realms, and seeing things appear and disappear within a flash.
Ant-Man and the Wasp serves as a good antidote after witnessing the wake and destruction from Avengers: Infinity War back in April. Following the blueprint of the MCU and evolving from its predecessor, Peyton Reed’s follow-up is another clear winner for the MCU. What happens next is anyone’s guess for this franchise about a man in a suit resembling an ant. But let’s hope the franchise’s characters keep up the laughs, stings, and everything else when we see them again wherever they pop up next. Ant-Man and the Wasp, the movie, is a welcome summer guest, providing some environmentally friendly repellent against their real-world pest namesakes.