After the game-changing success of Black Panther, as well as the global blockbuster phenomenon that is Avengers: Infinity War, it’s almost impossible that Marvel Studios would be able to outdo itself with its third and final outing of the year, Ant-Man and the Wasp. The thing is, it isn’t trying to, and that’s a good thing.
Much like Ant-Man to Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man and the Wasp serves as a palate cleanser for the audience. After all the chaos and destruction in Infinity War, Marvel Studios is able to benefit itself by retreating to a smaller (no pun intended) and more self-contained story. Directed by Peyton Reed, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a hilarious and worthy second chapter for our favourite shrinking heroes.
Jam packed with exciting action sequences, mesmerising visual effects, as well as heartwarming character moments. The pacing of Ant-Man and the Wasp is faster and more digestible as opposed to its predecessor, while still retaining much of what makes the first movie fun. With comedic talents such as Paul Rudd and Michael Peña, Ant-Man and the Wasp dazzles with its incredible usage of humor, resulting in the Ant-Man sequel becoming one of Marvel Studios’ funniest outings.
With Ant-Man and the Wasp being the first film in the series to feature a woman in its title, the filmmakers does a commendable job in setting up Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lily) as the Wasp. Whether it’s the quest to search for her mother, her evolution to a full-fledged superheroine or her relationship with Scott, much of Ant-Man and the Wasp is revolved around Hope’s emotional journey. With Hope taking the center of the story, Ant-Man and the Wasp gives the audience plenty reasons to latch on to her character. Ant-Man and the Wasp effectively establishes the Wasp as a major player within the MCU, and the film is all the better for it.
However, where the film excelled in setting Hope up as a badass heroine, it falters drastically when it comes to its other co-headliner. Paying for the mistakes that he made in Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang’s arc in this film is essentially reduced to being ridiculed for the first two acts of the film. While the first film went out of its way in establishing Scott as an intelligent hero, this particular trait of the character is almost entirely retconned in the sequel. While Scott may not be as smart as Bruce Banner, or as calculative as Tony Stark, there’s no reason he should be portrayed as this incompetent.
On top of that, Ant-Man and the Wasp lacks a sense of urgency, partly due to most of its antagonists being comic relief characters. While Marvel Studios aimed to do something different with Hannah John-Kamen’s Ghost (connecting her to S.H.I.E.L.D. was a nice touch), she unfortunately had to share the spotlight with Sonny Birch (Walton Goggins) and the FBI. With “Phase Three” consisting of captivating villains such as Killmonger and Thanos, the villain department in Ant-Man and the Wasp is a step backwards for the series.
Yet, Ant-Man and the Wasp is memorable in its conviction in exploring character moments rather than focusing on the spectacles. Often times, blockbuster films are so hell bent on how many explosions they can fit in a film. However, by going small (damn it!), Ant-Man and the Wasp has more time and room in exploring the relationship between characters. Whether its the emotional bond between Scott and his daughter, or the heartbreaking relationship between Hope and her mother, Ant-Man and the Wasp is committed in focusing on its character, instead of action set pieces. (although there’s a lot of those too)
Though with its own set of flaws, Ant-Man and the Wasp is an exciting and fun addition to the ever expanding superhero film franchise. By retreating to the smaller scale stories, Marvel Studios proves once again that not every installment has to be about world invading aliens or artificial intelligence vowing to obliterate humanity. By balancing exhilarating action sequences, stellar comedic timing, as well as an emotionally resonating story, Ant-Man and the Wasp is an exciting blockbuster flick that’s bound to impress.