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Movie Review: “Ant-Man and The Wasp”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Ant-Man and The Wasp

Theatrical Release: 7/6/2018

Theatrical Release: 7/6/2018

Synopsis

After his involvement with Captain America’s team in Berlin, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has found himself under house arrest. With the FBI watching him 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 recent activities, he will be sent back to prison for twenty years and he will miss out on a good chunk of his daughter’s life.

Scott chooses to help, but he must keep a low-profile so that the FBI does not learn what he is up to. 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 their developments. On their mission, they encounter a new threat who intends 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. Ant-Man and The Wasp must assemble the necessary equipment while avoiding the FBI, Sonny Burch, his henchmen, and the Ghost.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then awarded for each Pro and taken away for each Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points ranging from 0-10 allowing me to convey to you how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe 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)

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Pro: Paul Rudd & The Comedy (+8pts)

There is no doubt about it, this was a funny movie and Paul Rudd was a huge reason why. Sure, Luis (Michael Pena) was back and he was funny as well, but Scott Lang was the focus of the story, and Paul Rudd's comedic performance was very entertaining. 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 there were plenty of other great comedic moments as well.

Paul Rudd hit the comedy flawlessly and he 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. I got a real sense of his guilt over the effect that it had on his relationships with both characters—specifically Hope—but I completely understood that he was willing to risk those relationships in order to be a part of his daughter's life. Scott cared immensely for his daughter, and while the movie did not outright say it, Scott definitely wanted his daughter to be proud of him. He loved his daughter, and while she was not in the movie much, her impact on Scott Lang's story in this movie made him an interesting, complex protagonist.

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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. However, we also got Ghost and Sonny Burch. The filmmakers really stacked the deck when it came to the antagonists, and while they each served different purposes, none got the necessary development to make them interesting.

Jimmy Woo was the comedic antagonist, Sonny Burch was the stereotypical “bad guy”, and Ghost was meant to be the antagonist that audiences would sympathize with. 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 characters. 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 came 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.

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Pro: Ant-Man Technology (+10pts)

Hank Pym’s technology once again provided the filmmakers with a ton of unique ideas to play around with. From car chases, to Hank’s mobile lab and flying giant PEZ dispensers, this was 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 from feeling stale and redundant. Now, two movies in, I am relieved that the filmmakers have been able to continuously think up of new ways to implement the concept 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 Ant-Man and The Wasp.

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Con: The Quantum Realm (-3pts)

The whole story was centered around the concept of the quantum realm, and I thought the filmmakers did a poor job of explaining it to the audience. How did time work in the quantum realm? What was the impact on someone who was stuck in the quantum realm for an extended period of time? These were questions that should have been answered to add clarity to the next Avengers movie, but more importantly, they should have been answered to add clarity to this movie.

Unfortunately, the quantum realm did not get much explanation, which made the stakes feel less dire. If we new the extent of the risks that came 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, because I did not know the risks. It had a minimal effect on my enjoyment of the movie, but the filmmakers did a poor job of explaining a crucial part of the main plot of the movie, and I thought the movie suffered a bit for it.

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Pro: Ant-Man & The Wasp (+5pts)

While I liked their dynamic in the first movie, Scott and Hope’s relationship went through a bit of an evolution in this one. In this movie, Hope was actually The Wasp. What was great about this was that the movie did not spend time showing her becoming The Wasp. No, when this movie began, she was 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 knew what she was doing. She was a better fighter than Scott, she understood the tech she was using better than Scott, she understood the quantum realm better than Scott, and she seemed outmatch Scott in almost every way. It made me wonder how Scott was able to accomplish anything without her in the last movie. That being said, she never overshadows Ant-Man as the main character. Scott Lang was still the comedic powerhouse, and the heart of the movie. This movie showed Scott slowly starting to gain back Hopes trust, after betraying her in Berlin. This was an interesting aspect of the story that I did not expect to see, and the chemistry between Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly worked well on-screen. This movie was Ant-Man and The Wasp, so it was important that the filmmakers nailed the relationship between the two characters, and I thought they did.

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Con: Scott Lang’s Fallout (-4pts)

Part of this story was spent watching 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 I had no problem with this, but to casual moviegoers, this aspect of the story might be a bit confusing. Due to his actions in Captain America: Civil War, Scott betrayed the trust of Hank and Hope, and essentially put them all on the FBI's radar.

The story did not do a very good job of explaining any of this. When we met 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 was just a couple of throw away lines that could easily be missed. I liked the relationship between the characters, but by not giving us any context for the fallout, Scott’s redemption failed to have much of an impact.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: B+ (86pts)

Ant-Man and The Wasp was a solid sequel to Ant-Man. We finally got to see Hope kicking ass in her own suit, which she used way more effectively than Scott ever had. We also saw Scott trying to regain the trust of Hope and Hank, which was an element of the story, but I thought the filmmakers did a poor job of explaining why he had to regain that trust in the first place. The filmmakers also did a poor job of explaining the quantum realm, which is the focal point of the story, and they crammed in more antagonists than they had time to develop.

The movie had its issues but it definitely was not bad. As a matter of fact, I think its strengths mostly outweighed its weaknesses. No one is going into this movie expecting depth or antagonists whose stories impact them on an emotional level. This movie was 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 was used creatively, Paul Rudd was entertaining in the lead role, the action exciting, and the comedy was almost non-stop. There were plenty of fun moments that the filmmakers clearly enjoyed bringing to the screen, and I think most audiences will definitely enjoy seeing them.

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