Ant-Man and the Wasp is directed by Peyton Reed, and stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily, Michael Peña, Lawrence Fishburne, Hannah John-Kamen, Michael Douglas, and Michelle Pfeiffer.
This is the 20th film in the acclaimed Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the sequel to the surprise 2015 hit Ant-Man.
Ant-Man was such a great palette cleanser after enduring Age of Ultron‘s delusions of grandeur. It introduced to an MCU movie with personal, and miniscule stakes, and an interesting twist to the heist genre, not mentioning the absolute absurdity that it managed to incorporate. Which is the fact that our main character is a guy who shrinks, and talks to fuckin’ ants.
Now with the “new franchise smell” gone with this sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp‘s greatest challenge is to number one, once again be a palette cleanser, albeit to a vastly superior film in Avengers: Infinity War, and number 2 be an MCU film that stands its ground since the shock value, and gimmicks are no longer new to the audiences.
And for Feige‘s paycheck’s sake, it delivered. Peyton Reed, and the numerous amount of writers on board made a smart decision which is instead of going the classic sequel route which is more of everything, and making everything bigger (no pun intended), they take a more character-based approach that focuses more on the dynamics between the characters that we all enjoyed in the first one.
With an emotional core that drives through the entire film, and a theme of family in the forefront. Ant-Man and the Wasp may not be as swiftly crafted as its predecessor, but it’s a more emotionally investing film, that keeps the audiences engaged, and a good fun flick.
A surprising side note is how they also amped up the action compared to the first one. Not only it included the now iconic shrinking-sizing up set pieces, but it prominently featured great hand to hand combat, especially from Evangeline Lily’s Wasp. Also, you’d never expect to see mind-blowing car chases from an Ant-Man film but you do, and they do some pretty fun stuff with the shrinking mechanics.
Paul Rudd proves once again that he’s one of the most likeable presence in Hollywood, channeling his charming goofiness, with a pinch of an underdog persona that makes you want to root for him, especially during scenes where he’s with his daughter Cassie played by Abby Ryder Fortson which provided some heartwarming moments. On the other side Evangeline Lily finally gets her due playing the second lead Wasp, and to no one’s surprise her portrayal was fucking badass! As previously mentioned that her action scenes definitely stole the film. Michael Douglas continued his great performance as Hank Pym, and it’s no doubt that Michael Peña as Luis was once again a scene stealer, incorporating his hilarious hyperverbal storytelling moments once again. The new additions in Lawrence Fishburne‘s Bill Foster, and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet Van Dyne were fine, but brought nothing special (except for the insanely realistic digital de-aging moments), with the exception of Hannah John-Kamen’s Ghost that provided a pretty in-depth and compelling villain, especially when compared to its predecessor’s villain in Corey Stohl‘s Yellowjacket, although never reaching the high standards set by Michael B. Jordan‘s Killmonger, and Josh Brollin‘s Thanos.
What keeps Ant-Man and The Wasp from becoming a superior film to its predecessor is the lack of charm, and the simplicity that the first one had. The movie suffers from some poor pacing in the second act where you feel it’s just characters going back and forth chasing McGuffins, and an incredibly unnecessary character with Walton Goggins. Again it’s the emotional aspect which flows in the character’s dynamics that really carries the film, and differentiates it enough from the first one, that it doesn’t look it’s trying to play catch-up with its predecessor.
Though it has some minor pacing issues, and some story elements that could’ve been more smoother. All of that is forgiven with the other things that Ant-Man and The Wasp excels in; great character dynamics, great action, and a blast overall