I’m going to do something different this time around. Instead of me avoiding spoilers to give you my thoughts on this film, I’m instead going to run straight into them—that is, I won’t avoid them. If you would like a spoiler free take on the film from The Game Of Nerds, feel free to visit William’s spoiler free review. Now where was I?
The film, put simply, is a great, fun, and exhilarating ride. It succeeds on many different levels, and man is there a lot going on in the film—and there’s a lot that the film is trying to accomplish. For one, it’s trying to be a palette cleanser for the dark journey that was Infinity War. This is something it excels at, and the comedy present in this film nearly always hits the mark (and in my opinion is done better than the comedy found in GotG 2 and Thor Ragnarok). They don’t sacrifice tension or stakes with their humor though, as there is also plenty of fantastic character and emotional moments throughout. On top of all of this, it’s still trying to be an important part of the MCU, while maintaining a standalone film. Again, Ant-Man & The Wasp succeeds in giving a strong solo (duo?) outing to our heroes, while setting up some very important story elements for MCU films going forward.
Now Ant-Man may be the first name in the title, but it is very much equally both Scott’s and Hope’s film. In this respect the film maintains a near perfect balance between the two, which in of itself is a feat alone. Scott is struggling to deal with how to be a superhero and help his friends, while also not hurting Cassie—an internal conflict that was shown flawlessly as the movie progressed. Paul Rudd continues to be hilarious as Scott, providing plenty of laughs while also standing firm in the more serious moments. Now as for Evangeline Lilly, it’s safe to say that she absolutely kills it as The Wasp. She is a joy to watch, she kicks ass in every action sequence, and holds her own against the huge personalities that are in the MCU. Her journey through the film is a strong and emotional one. You might be soulless if you didn’t feel anything when she saw Janet for the first time.
When it came to the shrinking and growing premise of their skill set, this film took it and ran. They used it to its fullest extent, giving us not only great gags, but some fantastic and intuitive action sequences. I mean how cool was that big car chase as they kept shrinking and growing throughout? Add in Ghost’s phasing abilities, and you had a lot of really awesome visuals as these unique power sets were used in battles. Sorting through all of the set pieces, it’s hard to think of which one impressed me the most. My gut wants to say the entire kitchen sequence (including Ant-Man’s arrival), but I also want to bring attention to the incredibly awesome team-up moves that they brought to the table in the very last action sequence.
Yes, I got this far without mentioning Hank Pym. His journey in the film is very much Hope’s journey, though the focus mainly stays on Hope—leaving Hank in her shadow. He did get his own interesting plot thread however, as he butted heads with his former colleague Bill Foster. Any chance Bill got, he would try to put Hank’s ego in check, and that was fascinating to watch. While I do think Hope overshadowed Hank at many points, I think it was a very smart choice for the writers to have Hank make the dive into the Quantum Realm to find Janet. It provided a way out of Hope’s shadow, and allowed his character to breath when it came to his investment in finding Janet.
Now Ant-Man & The Wasp has an extremely unique villain situation, and it’s something that I think really benefits the film and makes it unique. There are three “antagonistic” forces active, all essentially pursing the same goal. You have Ghost, who is looking to use Hank’s tech to help herself. Then you have Sunny Burch, who is seemingly just a random crime boss high up in the black market. Finally you have the FBI, who aren’t after the lab per se, but are after people who would always be with it. It makes for a fantastic game of cat and mouse throughout the film as these groups weave in and out of the story, and then colliding all together in the great climatic act.
Now the main villain of the piece was clearly Ghost. Thankfully though, the story went a lot deeper than her simply being a power hungry assassin—in fact it’s hard to say she was a villain. Her goals went against that of our main crew, but her reasons were perfectly relatable. That is what made her really stand out. Hannah John-Kamen did a fantastic job at portraying Ghost’s constant pain and agony, and her desperate need to be cured. Besides almost killing Janet, she really did nothing wrong—the film easily could have swapped focus on her journey to be cured. The cherry on top of all of this was Bill Foster. The family dynamic they added between the two of them was incredible, and really went a long distance with the short amount of time they had to show us. Their ending in particular was very poignant, with Bill staying with Ava, and keeping their family bond alive.
Now something I didn’t think I’d say coming out of the film, is that I legitimately believe that Cassie was one of the film’s biggest standout aspects. For two main reasons. For one, the door has clearly been opened and a path is being paved for her to become a superhero down the line. It was fantastic seeing her energy and happiness as she admired what her dad does. The shot with Giant Man on the news as it pans down to her wide grin was spectacular. The second reason Cassie worked so well, is that she played a perfect role for Scott—helping us connect with the both of them, and their dynamic, especially since Cassie knows he’s a superhero. The quiet moment with Scott and Cassie after Hope and Hank are arrested was golden, and is one of my favorite moments of the film.
Overall the film does a fantastic job at keeping you entertained, laughing, and invested. However there are places in which it lacks. For one, the film has issues with clunky exposition at multiple points—the biggest example being the previously on Ant-Man opening minutes. Also, while most of the new faces to the film were great, there were two that disappointed. The first is Jimmy Woo, who…quite frankly was flat and boring. His comedic moments also made up the very few jokes that didn’t work (aside from maybe two gags). If you were going into this movie hoping for an interesting story for Woo, you were likely let down.
The second person is a big one: none other than Janet Van Dyne. Now with all this build up for Janet’s role in this film, what we got was rather a disappointment. I mean, it worked for the film. I can’t necessarily say that it works against the film either. I just wish we had gotten more than two minutes of Janet. For such a bigger character, and long journey to save her, we learn next to nothing about what she experienced. She is just as much of a mystery as she was in the first film, if not more now with her mysterious new abilities.
Before I close out the review, it would be a shame not to mention X-Con Security, Luis’ company, along with Scott, Dave, and Kurt. The group of them, and the company, played an important but small role in the film. It worked masterfully at setting things up for payoff down the line, and getting characters where they needed to be—and all of this was done naturally. It was also fun to have X-Con Security in the film, because it plays off of Nick Spencer’s recent run of Ant-Man (which I highly recommend). As for our gang of ex-cons, they were as funny as ever—with I think Kurt getting the stand out moment when Ghost surprised everyone in the office.
Ant-Man & The Wasp provided a fantastic and thrilling ride. Complete with laughter, heart, and intuitive action sequences. It made for a perfect palette cleanser after the dark journey that was Infinity Wars—but managed not to forget the consequences of the film. Sure, it may have some issues, but there’s no denying that Marvel has come out with another big win.
- The second after credits scene is highly disappointing and one of my least favorites that Marvel has done. It was set up with a perfect atmosphere, and so much potential, but then planned over to comedic joke we didn’t need (one that was in the trailer no less). The first after credits scene however was one of Marvel’s best, and puts Scott in the perfect place to start Avengers 4.
- I do wish Wasp’s suit was more colorful, and yellow.
- My favorite Wasp moment was her chiding Scott at the school for not being able to reach the backpack.
- Scott went through an Iron Man 3 type situation, where he was stuck with a malfunctioning prototype suit. Hopefully the one he has on in the quantum realm is fixed!
- The scene when Janet takes over Scott’s body was played extremely well by Paul Rudd, and made for one of the funniest sections of the movie. What made it even better was how there was a real emotional event happening for both Hank and Hope—even through the odd body swap.
- When it comes to both the comedic elements of the film, and the interweaving plot lines, the script does a fabulous job at setting up things for payoff down the line. Perfect examples of this would be the Baba Yaga gag, the Trophy hiding the old Ant-Man suit, or the ant filled Altoid trap.
- It was cool that technically Egghead was in the movie, although it’s a shame that he was dead before we could even know him.
- If Ghost was active in SHIELD this entire time, it’s hard to believe that we’d never heard of her existence before. Yes, I know that continuity was thought up after the fact, but still.
Ant-Man & The Wasp is now in theaters nationwide!