After the emotional rollercoaster juggernaut that was Avengers: Infinity war, we needed something that would cleanse the pallet. Thankfully, Ant-Man and The Wasp delivers with a strong, fun, and ridiculous film.
Director Payton Reed is back, and this time from start to finish in this comedy-action superhero flick. While I enjoyed the first Ant-Man, the sequel really does benefit from not switching directors midway through the film and delivers a more cohesive and tighter experience. It’s definitely a comedy-action, not an action comedy. The movie knows how ridiculous an ant-sized superhero is and really plays into that. While not all the jokes will hit, the comedy is smart and genuine. The action is smart, taking what made the first movie great by playing with changing sizes and perspective and turning it up to eleven.
Taking place 2 years after the events of Civil War, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is dealing with the fallout of his actions and the effect it’s had on his friends and family. Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), who are wanted by the FBI due to Scott using the Ant-Man technology and have cut ties with him, reemerge needing Scott’s help. He must choose between being a wanted superhero or being around for his daughter.
And can we talk about Scott and his daughter Cassie!? (Abby Ryder Fortson) After Infinity War, Thanos, and his children, it’s really nice to get a real and loving family dynamic. Scott and Cassie really do love each other, even with her dad under house arrest you can tell Cassie is proud of him. It’s one of the constant themes of the film, a dad wanting to do right by each other, a daughter trying to save her mother, it’s all about relationships. Good or bad, the relationships are real and you understand what’s driving all these characters. Even non-family relationships help flesh out these characters. Dr. Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) has a great dynamic with Dr. Pym, helping flesh out the backstory of both of them. The relationships are great, but not every character gets enough time to shine.
Marvel has been doing a great job with fixing its villain problem in giving us three great villains in a row. I wouldn’t say Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) is a step back to those dreaded old days, but she wasn’t as strong a villain. You understand where she’s coming from and why she’s doing what she’s doing, but we don’t get enough time with her to really feel for her. We also get Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) and his gang, and he’s pretty much the mustache-twirling villain. He’s one-dimensional, he’s not bad but he definitely feels like a relic of phase 1 or 2 of Marvel villains. It’s not enough to bring down the film but it doesn’t add much. It’s definitely no deal breaker, it’s just quite the level we have been getting from Marvel the last few movies.
What saves Sonny is that whenever he’s on screen, there’s usually a cool action set piece close by. The action in this movie is so much fun, taking what normal action movies would do and added the size changing element to really make it exciting. It’s no Avengers climax, but it doesn’t need to be nor should it. Shrinking and growing while beating up a group of henchmen, spicing up a standard car chase with giant Pez dispensers and tiny Hot Wheels cars had me thoroughly entertained the entire time. While not all the jokes hit, even though most of them did, I felt that the action was always on point.
Ant-Man and The Wasp is a great breather that was sorely needed after Infinity War. It makes me appreciate Avengers more while allowing me to breath, kick up my feet, and just have fun for two hours. The family dynamic is great, the story is funny, and it knows when to crack a joke and when to kick some ass. A great last movie of the year for Marvel, definitely go out and catch it.
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