About a year ago, Disney and Marvel Studios brought Avengers: Infinity War to theaters, a movie that quickly became one of the most, if not the most beloved film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A couple of months later, we got something a little lighter. This was Ant-Man and the Wasp, the sequel to 2015’s successful Ant-Man.
I’ve seen a decent chunk of people say they don’t like this film. But overall, the general response is that people thought it was pretty good. But what if I told you it was actually one of the best MCU movies to come out recently? What if told you it was even a little better than the original? Let’s take a look at the film and see why that is.
So the movie starts with a cold open. The screen is black but you immediately hear Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym speaking. We don’t even get the title card until the end of the movie. That’s such a different way to start a movie. Don’t waste any time. Just get right into it.
But what’s the story? Well, Ant-Man and the Wasp focuses on a concept that they touched on the first film. Years ago, Dr. Pym’s wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) used the wasp suit to shrink herself down to the molecular level and got stuck there.
They previously assumed she was dead. That is until Scott aka Ant-Man (Paul Rudd in another likable and funny performance) sees her in a dream. So after he calls Pym to tell him about this, he and his daughter Hope (also this film’s titular Wasp) recruit Scott to see if they can use him to help find Janet.
One thing that makes this film stand out compared to the original is the family dynamic. Scott has gone through some good character development, where he’s grown into a great dad to his daughter Cassie. And it’s also nice to see him now getting along with his ex-wife (Judy Greer) and her new husband (the always awesome Bobby Cannavale). It’s refreshing to see a different kind of family dynamic in a movie like this.
This film does what a good sequel should do by expanding on ideas from the first one. In addition to building on the story of Janet Van Dyne, the movie excels with how it gets more into the concept of shrinking down to the molecular level, what they call the quantum realm.
They really sell the idea of how scary an idea it is to get trapped there. Not to mention the visual effects work they do with the realm looks pretty remarkable.
Then there are the movie’s antagonists. First, you have Walton Goggins as Sonny Burch, a restaurant owner who wants to steal Pym’s technology to sell it on the black market.
But the main villain in this film is Ava/Ghost, with an intimidating performance from Hannah John-Kamen. Her power is the ability to pass through objects like, well, a ghost.
Ava would fall under the category of a sympathetic villain. You see, when she was a child, a laboratory explosion gave her these superpowers. But it also means that she could wither away at any moment.
So she needs Dr. Pym’s technology to save herself. A sympathetic villain with an understandable motivation usually makes for an interesting conflict. And that combined with Walton Goggins as the secondary villain makes this movie stand out among other MCU films.
And like the first Ant-Man movie, this sequel is definitely a funny and overall entertaining flick.
There’s a lot of good comedy here. For instance, in one scene, while having trouble with the Ant-Man suit, Scott accidentally shrinks himself to the size of a 5-year-old child. And when Dr. Pym and Hope see him this way, their reaction is absolutely priceless.
Then there’s Michael Pena, back as Luis, a friend Scott met back when he was in prison. His role in these movies is that of the comic relief character. We got a little of this from him in the previous movie. But here, they take his comedy to another level with lots of hysterical dialogue.
The action here is a ton of fun too. The first big fight scene with Ant-Man and Hope as The Wasp is really well filmed and edited. And it takes place in a restaurant of all things. So that’s different.
We also get this great climatic chase scene later in the film with both Ava and Bobby Lurch. This scene also features one of Stan Lee’s last and funniest cameos.
Overall, Ant-Man and the Wasp is by no means a perfect movie. The title isn’t totally accurate since it’s really more about Ant-Man. And there are a few logic problems if you want to nitpick.
But when all is said and done, it’s pretty much everything you could want from a movie like this. And it was actually one of my favorite movies of last year. Give it a watch if you skipped it.
By the way, that mid-credits scene: has there ever been a better one in a Marvel movie? I think not.