Movie Review: “Ant-Man and The Wasp”
Ant-Man and The Wasp
After his involvement with Captain America’s team in Berlin, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has found himself under house arrest. With the FBI watching closely, Scott has distanced himself from Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) but, with only three days left of his house arrest, Scott learns vital information that could help Hank and Hope on their mission to safely get to the quantum realm. As a result, Scott finds himself wearing the Ant-Man costume once again. If the FBI learns of his activity, he will be sent back to prison for twenty years and will miss out on a good chunk of his daughter’s life.
Scott chooses to help, but must keep a low-profile so that the FBI does not learn what he is up to and, in Hank and Hope‘s interest in quantum tech, they have acquired the attention of a black market device dealer named Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) who wants to profit from Hank’s tech. Yet on their mission, they encounter a new threat that hopes to steal their quantum technology to use for their own gain. The new threat is known as Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) and she has the ability to phase through solid matter (such as walls, safes, etc.). Ant-Man and The Wasp must assemble the necessary equipment while avoiding the FBI, Sonny Burch, his henchmen, and keeping the tech out of the hands of Ghost.
The Pros & Cons
Paul Rudd & The Comedy (+8pts)
Cluttered Antagonists (-5pts)
Ant-Man Technology (+10pts)
The Quantum Realm (-3pts)
Ant-Man & The Wasp (+5pts)
Scott Lang’s Fallout (-4pts)
Pro: Paul Rudd & The Comedy (+8pts)
There is no doubt about it, this is a funny movie and Paul Rudd was a huge reason why. Sure, Luis (Michael Pena) is back and is funny as well, but Scott Lang is the focus of the story and his comedic timing and tendencies are very entertaining to watch. In order to avoid spoilers, I am going to say three words out of context: mind-link, seagulls, and school. To me, these were the funniest scenes in the movie but, all around them, this movie is packed with more hilarious moments.
Paul Rudd hit the comedy flawlessly and provided the audience with a ton of laughs, but he was also able to hit the heart of his character. He had a fallout with Hank and Hope but I got a real sense of his guilt over the effect that it had on his relationship with Hope. Scott also cares immensely for his daughter and, while the movie does not outright say it, Scott definitely wants his daughter to be proud of him. He loves his daughter and, while she was not in the movie much, Paul Rudd was able to convey that to the audience.
Con: Cluttered Antagonists (-5pts)
In my opinion, this movie’s biggest weakness was how cluttered the antagonists were. We had the FBI, lead by Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), who was hell bent on catching Scott in the act (of being Ant-Man again). However we also got Ghost and Sonny Burch. The filmmakers really stacked the deck with the antagonists and, while they each served different purposes, none got the necessary development to really interest the audience.
Jimmy Woo was the comedic antagonist, Sonny Burch was the stereotypical “bad guy”, and Ghost was meant to be the antagonist that audiences sympathize for. This movie would have been fine with any one (or maybe two) of these characters but, by having all three, there was not enough focus on any one of them for the audience to really get invested in the character. Of these three, Jimmy Woo was the character that worked the best because he was a comedic relief and his motivations were simple. When it comes to Ghost and Sonny, I really just needed to see more of them, but it was screen time that the filmmakers simply did not have.
Pro: Ant-Man Technology (+10pts)
Hank Pym’s technology (once again) provided the filmmakers with a ton of unique flavor to play around with. From car chases, to Hank’s mobile lab/hideout, and flying giant PEZ dispensers, this is a truly unique concept that was fun to revisit. The action sequences were awesome and there were plenty of comedic moments that focused on altering the sizes of various objects. It created a movie where the audience really could not predict what would happen next with respect to what bizarre thing we were going to see.
When I first heard they were doing an Ant-Man movie, I was concerned that the filmmakers would struggle to keep the concept (of shrinking and enlarging things) feeling fresh. Now, two movies in, I am relieved that the filmmakers have been able to continuously think up of new ways to implement the tech in unique comedic and action moments. When done right, this can be a very fun concept, and the filmmakers did it right in both Ant-Man and its sequel.
Con: The Quantum Realm (-3pts)
The whole movie is centered around the concept of the quantum realm, and I thought the filmmakers did a poor job of explaining it to the audience. How does time work in the quantum realm? What is the impact on someone who is stuck in the quantum realm for an extended period of time? These are questions that should be answered to add clarity to the next Avengers movie but, more importantly, they should have been answered to add clarity to this movie.
Unfortunatey it never really got much explanation which, in all honesty, made the stakes feel less dire. If we new the extent of the risks that come with traveling and getting stuck in the quantum realm, we may have been more invested in the mission our protagonists were on. Instead, it was treated more like a hidden prison that our heroes were trying to bust someone out of. As a result, it did not feel like there was any real threat. It was just the mission that the heroes happened to be on while the filmmakers were focused on giving a bunch of unique action and comedy scenes. This had a minimal effect on my enjoyment of this movie but, when the whole story revolved around the quantum realm and the filmmakers did a poor job of explaining the quantum realm, the mission just ended up feeling unsatisfying.
Pro: Ant-Man & The Wasp (+5pts)
While I liked their dynamic in the first movie, Scott and Hope’s relationship goes through a bit of an evolution in this one. No, I do not mean that they are “dating” or anything like that, though the romantic tension is certainly there. In this movie, Hope (Evangeline Lilly) is actually The Wasp! Yay! What was great about this was that the movie did not spend time showing her becoming The Wasp. No, when this movie begins, she is already comfortable and kicking ass in this role. Having her flying and doing her thing was a perfect compliment to Scott Lang’s Ant-Man.
Hope knows what she is doing. She is a better fighter (than Scott), understands the tech that is integrated in her suit, understands the quantum realm, and seems to be a very important part of the team. It almost makes you wonder how Scott was able to accomplish anything without her in the last movie. That being said, she never overshadows Ant-Man as he is the main character and the comedic heart of the movie. Aside from the awesome action, I liked the relationship between these two characters. After Scott joined Captain America in Berlin, and got caught, Hope felt betrayed (I will get into this with a bit more detail in my next point of this review). This movie shows Scott slowly starting to gain her trust back and shows their relationship grow. This was an interesting aspect of the story that I did not expect to see and the chemistry between Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly works well on-screen. You cannot ask for more here. This movie is Ant-Man and The Wasp, so it was important that the filmmakers nailed the relationship between the two characters, and I think they did.
Con: Scott Lang’s Fallout (-4pts)
Part of this story was seeing Scott Lang regaining the trust of Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne, but I thought the movie did a poor job of explaining the fallout. If you are a big Marvel fan and remember the major plot points from the last several movies, you will be able to infer what happened without much issue. I am a huge Marvel fan so had no problem with this but, to casual moviegoers, you may be a bit confused at why Hope and Hank have such a problem with Scott. Due to his actions in Captain America: Civil War, Scott betrays the trust of Hank and Hope and, essentially, makes them criminals.
The story does not do a very good job of explaining any of this. When we meet the characters in this movie, all of this fallout has already happened. Casual moviegoers will not really understand the conflict and, when the movie eventually explains some of this, it is just a couple of throw away lines. The lines get little focus and audiences may even miss them. I liked the relationship between the characters, but, by not giving us any context for the fallout, the filmmakers cannot expect Scott’s redemption to have much of an impact.
Grade: B+ (86pts)
Ant-Man and The Wasp was a solid sequel to Ant-Man. We finally get to see Hope kicking ass in her own suit, which she uses way more effectively than Scott ever could. We also see Scott trying to regain the trust of Hope (and Hank), which was an element of the story that I liked to see, but the filmmakers did a poor job of explaining why he has to regain that trust in the first place. The movie also does a poor job of explaining the quantum realm (which is the focal point of the story), and it crams in more antagonists than the filmmakers had time to develop.
The movie has its issues but it is certainly not bad. As a matter of fact, I think its pros mostly outweigh its cons. No one is going into this movie expecting depth or antagonists whose stories impact them on an emotional level. This movie is supposed to be fun and funny, and the filmmakers made sure to make a movie that was both of those things. The shrinking (or enlarging) tech is used in very creative ways, Paul Rudd is an incredibly funny and entertaining guy to watch, the action is really cool, and the comedy is non-stop. There are a ton of fun, memorable moments that the filmmakers clearly enjoyed making and audiences will definitely enjoy seeing. I believe in critiquing movies for what they are. This movie needed to be funny and entertaining, and it will definitely leave moviegoers satisfied.