06th Jul2018

‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ Review (Non-Spoiler!)

by Jason Brigger

Stars: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris, David Dastmalchian, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas | Written by Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers | Directed by Peyton Reed

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The original Ant-Man may not have been a blockbuster film like previous Marvel films but it did add a new formula to the superhero genre, a heist theme. The original film introduced audiences to Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a snarky thief with a heart of gold when it comes to raising his daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson), and his journey in becoming the size-shifting superhero Ant-Man, as a result of a costume designed by genius Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly).

Ant-Man and the Wasp is not the heist movie like its predecessor but instead revolves around Pym’s mission to save Hope’s mother Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the mysterious Quantum Realm (the microscopic universe) she has been trapped in for the last 30 years. Pym and Hope must recruit the assistance of Lang again as he is the only person that can find Janet as a result of developing a cerebral connection with her upon his last visit to the Quantum Realm. The team has some upgrades as Hope is now a size-shifting superheroine named the Wasp and Pym’s old partner, Dr. Bill Foster, joins the team to assist in journeying to the Quantum Realm. Along the way, new villains in the form of the mysterious Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) and a high-tech arms trader with his eyes on Pym’s technology, Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), joins the film to cause havoc for our heroes.

The Good:

  • Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly. Marvel has perfected their casting of characters and no longer are audiences worried about which actor or actress will play their favorite superheroes. Rudd and Lilly personify the Ant-Man and Wasp dynamic found in the comic books and give a laid-back approach needed in a Marvel film after the depressing and heavy-handed Avengers: Infinity War film. Both actors are having fun in their roles and are making a run at Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo for the most fun team in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
  • The supporting cast. While the majority of the film focuses on Pym, Lang and Hope, the supporting cast of characters, including former thief Luis (Michael Pena), Cassie, Agent Woo (Randall Park), and Lang’s ex-wife Maggie (Judy Greer) all have moments to shine in the film. Ant-Man and the Wasp does a better job of being a comedic superhero ensemble film than any other Marvel film before it and this quirkiness allows the film to stand out in a crowded superhero field.
  • Walton Goggins as Sonny Burch. Burch is very similar to Sam Rockwell’s character, Justin Hammer, in Iron Man 2 but in the hands of Goggins, enough southern charm and viciousness is added to make Burch unique and a joy to watch. Whether in the television series Sons of Anarchy or Justified, or as Simon Burch, Walton Goggins cements his legacy as a national treasure, no matter what country you live in.

The Bad:

  • The second “after credits” scene. While the second after credits”scene is humorous, if you have seen any Ant-Man and the Wasp trailers or commercials, you have already seen the scene. While the first “mid-credits” scene is well worth the wait, the audience won’t miss much for not hanging around an extra ten minutes for the “after credits” scene.

The Middling:

  • Ghost. The new mysterious villain is still an enigma at the end of the film but enough information is provided to leave the audience wanting to see more of her. The film does provide enough twists and surprises in regard to Ghost, which allows more depth than most villains receive in the MCU and audiences will be wanting an origin film of Ghost.
  • The film’s place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The two Ant-Man films are unique as other superheroes from the Marvel Universe don’t appear in the films, are rarely talked about (outside a few passing lines) and events in other Marvel films barely impact our heroes in Ant-Man’s world. This allows Ant-Man and the Wasp more freedom and a more fun film but outside of one scene, doesn’t affect other storylines in the MCU. To be fair, the film is better and actually thrives for not being forced to connect the plot to a bigger cinematic universe but it still is a little odd to see a Marvel film that is a standalone film.

Final Grade: B+ (Very Good)

Ant-Man and the Wasp is a fun, unique and enjoyable film that surpasses the original. The cast, from the main stars to the supporting cast, deliver throughout the film and present one of the best ensemble superhero films in the MCU, which is a testament to the talent of director Peyton Reed. The writers created a well thought out story and interjected just enough humor to keep the film from being taken too seriously. Ant-Man and the Wasp is not only a good superhero film, it’s a great film for the whole family, even if they are not fans of the superhero genre.

You can catch Jason Brigger on the geek-centric podcast, The History of Bad Ideas, as new episodes are released every week at www.nerdly.co.uk or subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcasting apps. You can listen to their latest episode right here
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