Note: This is a spoiler free review.
The first Ant-Man had been in development at Marvel way before the MCU started. With the various production problems that movie had, it’s a surprise that it turned out as good as it did. Even though, many people complained that it treaded the same territory as Marvel’s other outings. Ant-Man and The Wasp is similar in many ways, maybe more so than Marvel intended it to be.
The sequel picks up sometime after the events of Captain America: Civil War. With enhanced individuals now being seen as criminals, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is under house arrest. As for the consequence of the events of that movie, both Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) have been forced to go into hiding. In this period of time, the Pym family has been working on a way to get Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) out of the quantum realm. Seeing as how Scott got into the alternate dimension and got out at the end of the last movie, it’s now plausible.
Putting this movie out right after Infinity War always seemed like a weird move. You’d think that it wouldn’t work considering the dark & somber tone of that film, followed by something so light like this. But it does. At least as far as the tone is concerned. As for the stakes, well Ant-Man has always been about smaller ones.
The primary plot of the movie is concerned with getting Janet out of the Quantum realm.
As far as the antagonists are concerned, well there’s quite a lot of them. You’ve got Ghost (Hannah John Kamen), the FBI, and worst of all Walton Goggins’ character who I won’t even name cuz he’s that forgettable. Yes, a Marvel movie made Goggin’s forgettable. Who would’ve thunk?
Kamen is…good as Ghost. While the actress gives an honest performance, there just
isn’t enough material to judge her with. Perhaps if the movie cut down on Walton Goggin’s subplot, it might have been used to further her character. But no, we need all the generic cannon fodder to beat up now don’t we?
Ghost’s backstory also opens up some plot holes in the larger existence of the MCU, instantly reminding us that maybe connecting to a larger cinematic universe isn’t always the best move. I am interested in seeing the character return though, considering the visual aspect of her abilities and the creativity that can be put into designing scenes around her.
The rest of the returning cast is as great as always. Paul Rudd is charming, and Evangeline Lily kicks ass. Michael Peña is hysterical, and Douglas is another great presence. Surprise additions include Laurence Fishburne & Michelle Pfeiffer. But as far as character development is concerned, there’s really not much of it. In fact, I’d say Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang has been dumbed down from his previous outing. Remember how it was established that Lang is an electrical engineer? Gone. Poof. Instead of that, we have a Lang who’s constantly messing up his escapades and making stupid decisions. This is certainly the weakest part of the film. But at least he makes it looks funny. But jokes at the expense of character development? That’s nothing new in the MCU.
Evangeline Lily is the true protagonist of this movie, much like how everyone considers Mad Max: Fury Road to be a Furiosa movie. The Wasp is adept in combat and out of it. She’s waaaaay better than Lang when it comes to super-heroing. You’d really think that her name should have been at the forefront of this movie, even though it is there in the title. The Wasp and Ant-Man sounds like a more fitting title for this sequel.
Ultimately, Ant-Man and The Wasp is a fun time at the movies. While not as ambitious or important as the earlier installments this year (Black Panther, Infinity War), it certainly proves to be a smaller, fun-filled adventure.
PS: Stay for the mid-credits scene if you care about the larger connections to the MCU.