Film Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp

Well, after Avengers: Infinity War, there was some room for a lighter palate cleanser. Ant-Man and The Wasp is a film that intends to be something along those lines, and it generally succeeds. There will be some spoilers, as this review is coming out Early August after the film has been out for a while.

The film picks up a year or so after the events of Civil War – Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has been under house arrest for the last couple years and is due to be released on probation in a few days. He hasn’t had any contact with the Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) or Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), and he suspects they want nothing to do with them.

That is until he has a dream where he’s in the body of Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) in their family’s home, and after he uses his burner phone to contact Hank and Hope, he gets contacted and learns that Hank and Hope had been doing research into accessing the Quantum Realm, and Scott might be the way to find Janet.

Except… things get really complicated. There’s a mysterious woman – who gets code-named “Ghost” (Hannah John-Kamen) – who can quantum phase through things and is after the Quantum Gateway that Hank and Hope are working on. There’s also Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) the underground tech dealer who Hank has been buying his equipment through, and who wants to muscle in on their operation because he thinks they’re working on something that he can sell.  Oh, and if Scott is caught leaving his house he’ll be sent to prison for over 20 years, so they have to resolve all of these without the FBI catching Scott out of the house.

There’s also a side plot based around Luis (Michael Peña), Kurt (David Dastmalchian), Dave (T.I.) trying to start a security consulting service with Scott as part of their attempts to go straight – only for the three to get caught up with Hank & Hope.

So, this film is a really funny adventure-comedy film. I say “Adventure-Comedy” instead of “Action-Comedy”, as while there are definitely action setpieces, there isn’t quite the sense of peril that you see in other superhero movies. Don’t get me wrong – there are stakes, and failure would some definite consequences. However, the other action scenes feel generally light. Indeed, of the MCU films we’ve gotten thus far, this is quite possibly the softest PG-13 of them all. There’s very little on-screen death, and while there is spectacular mayhem, it’s also not as calamitous as the mayhem in the other Marvel movies. It’s much more clearly fun.

The film’s ending pretty much makes that clear. Many of the films of this Wave have felt somewhat… pyrrhic in their victories if they’re victories at all. This, on the other hand, has a finish that is absolutely a win. Ghost isn’t evil, just desperate, because she doesn’t want the condition that gives her powers to kill her, and when it’s clear that there is a way to save her that doesn’t involve murder, she takes it. Sonny Burch is a very nasty criminal, but he and his gang are punching way above their weight-class, and when the rubber hits the road, they’re there to make the good guys look cool more than anything else.

Now, where the post-credits teasers are concerned, it is not all sunshine and roses – Infinity War still happened, and the conclusion of that film has to still be addressed, at least in terms of how it relates to the Lang/Pym-Van Dyne team. However, up until that point – which you’ll want to see in preparation for Avengers 4 but otherwise can skip – the movie is a light, incredibly enjoyable romp which is absolutely worth your time.

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