Before its release, Ant-Man stood out as the Marvel movie most likely to fail. (I have ceased to believe that such a notion is ever really going to happen; they just seem to be very smart and capable in what they are doing.) But a delightful performance by Paul Rudd, a decent story and some scene stealing work by Michael Peña as comedic relief, Ant-Man did well at the box office and set him up for the infamous Berlin airport fight in Captain America: Civil War.
Spoilers ahead for Ant-Man and the Wasp.
Where Ant-Man and the Wasp starts is nearly 2 years later, with Scott Lang under house arrest for the Berlin incident and now helping run Xcon Security with his crew from the first film.
But there is tension between Lang and the Pyms, as dad Hank and daughter Hope are angry about him leaving them for the Berlin call and not being in touch much since then. But eventually, because it is a sequel, things move the group back together, focusing on the missing mom of the Pym clan, the original Wasp, Janet, who disappeared years ago into the Quantum realm having shrunk too small and never to return; only Scott visited there the first time and that sets up the second movie.
And there are some parts of it that are great.
Paul Rudd is the comedic hero we all need. Sure, Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord is fun but, hands down, give me some good Paul Rudd as Scott Lang and I am happy. He is just so willing to play a different kind of hero, a guy who is willing to do what it takes, even if he has to debate himself a bit on what the right call is. And he wants to make the right call and he shows some great dad moments in the film.
His Scott Lang works so well in this movie and it feels like they freed him up a bit in the script to do some other things, like acting like an elementary school student when his suit has a series of malfunctions.
Evangeline Lilly is the best Marvel super-heroine thus far. Listen, thankfully, we are at the place where this is now a real discussion and debate. For a good while, there was a sense that Marvel wasn’t willing or able to create a compelling heroine that worked. Remember, they didn’t even really produce Black Widow toys when the first Avengers movie dropped.
But in the Wasp, we now have a fully developing character who is great! Hope is smart, funny, caring and a tremendous fighter as well. Watching the combat scenes that involve her, you get a sense of a person who is a stoic warrior for what she believes is right or what she needs to accomplish; she just also happens to be a woman.
All of that isn’t to say that the character is perfect; there is still some development to be made but if she isn’t in the next set of Avengers movies post-Infinity War resolution, then Marvel is really missing the boat.
Xcon Security is funny. Michael Peña and crew do the work of being the less intelligent sidekicks to the Pyms and Scott. But I love how they are playing them out. Between this and Spider-Man: Homecoming, we are seeing Marvel start to add another layer to the superhero mythos that they hadn’t delved deep into. And the use of it for comedy works well.
All of that isn’t to say the movie is perfect. There are some issues as we get a somewhat developed villain in Ghost, who has real reasons to be doing the things she does and a lackluster villain in the money and power hungry character portrayed by Walton Goggins.
Especially in terms of Goggins, it just felt like a waste of talent to be invested there and I hope they find another way to bring him back to the MCU in a larger, more complicated role.
Additionally, the science gibber gabber really slows the movie down. At one point, Lang makes a joke about how they are just adding “Quantum” on to everything and I wanted to yell at the screenwriters “You could have fixed it” instead of making it a cheap joke.
But it flaws aren’t fatal and Ant-Man and the Wasp is great summer movie, where you get out of the heat, grab some popcorn and have a good time. I give Ant-Man and the Wasp 8 out of 10 Nerds.