Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp

Any other MCU fans out there still not over …Infinity War? Me neither, but thankfully we’ve got the latest in the ever expanding universe to hold us over. Ant-Man was something of a surprise hit back in 2015, but I was never as sold on it as everyone else. I thought it was a fun but pretty forgettable film and definitely not up to the standard of the rest of the MCU. The sequel sees Hope (Evangeline Lilly) suit up as the titular Wasp (also becoming the first female superhero to be in the title of an MCU film – finally) this time around and, with the help of her Dad (Michael Douglas) and Scott (Paul Rudd), attempt to save her Mother (Michelle Pheiffer) from the Quantum Relm (something set up in the original film). Without a change of director half way through and the need to set up future instalments, AM&TW (as no one is calling it) is an improvment over it’s predeccessor. However, it still feels a lot less audacious than other MCU films.

AM&TW is an improvment over it’s predeccessor. However, it still feels a lot less audacious than other MCU films.

Any film that followed …Infinity War was going to feel a lot smaller in term of scale, but this should’ve been a chance for Ant-Man and the Wasp to showcase that a more understated superhero film can match the quality of a huge sci-fi opera. While it’s undeinable that there are some brilliant performances, other aspect of the film feel too safe and never brave enough to try something adventurous and new. Take the action set pieces for example. Except for Wasp’s introduction, the rest of them are pretty forgettable. At the time they feel fun and fresh, but two days later they aren’t sticking around in your head. The stakes that are set up within the film also never reach the heights of suspence they’re aiming for. It never delves into mediocratity, but it also fails to ever push itself into becoming something really great.

…most aspect of the film feel too safe and never brave enough to try something adventurous and new.

Further proof of the films miscomings is how wasted new characters feel. If like me, the idea of seeing Michelle Pheiffer suit up again in a superhero film years after Batman Returns was an exciting prospect, you should know now her limited screen time is a big let down. Janet Van Dyne is one of the best characters from the Marvel universe, and Pheiffer seemed like perfect casting. In fairness, when she is on screen there’s nothing wrong at all, it just a shame the screenplay doesn’t allow for more of her. However, it’s the villains that really stand out for all the wrong reasons. Black Panther had Ulysses Klaue as its secondary villain, … Infinity War had The Children of Thanos, while AM&TW has been lumped with Sonny Burch. Walton Goggins is wasted in a third film this year (Maze Runner: The Death Cure & Tomb Raider) as the most generic one note baddie you’re likely to see for a while. With next to no character development and some really poor dialogue, he is basically a bad businessman who wants to make more money, feeling totally out of place in a superhero film. Compared to him, Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) fares a lot better. While still underdeveloped, there’s more understanding to her motivations. The visuals on her characters inflictions are really striking, bearing a resemblance to Joi in Blade Runner 2049 at times. While not a bad villain, Ghost’s main issue is that she feels bland and has lots of wasted potential.

While the new faces fare badly, the returners have all been improved.

While the new faces fare badly, the returners have all been improved. Paul Rudd is still the unlikliest actor to become a superhero but proves why he’s a fan favourite. His comediec chops are perfect and his chemistry with his fellow actors allows him to deliver every joke at a relentlessly hillarious pace. Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym is also given a lot more to do and with every action and comedy scene he’s involved in, you realise even more how perfectly cast he is. He doesn’t do any of the heavy lifting (he leaves that to his ants) but it’s near impossible not to be left wanting more of him once the credits roll. Michael Pena returns as the fast talking Luis but this time his ecentrics have been rained in a bit, allowing him more actual comedy moments instead of just going off on a tangent and being bordeline stereotypical. However, most improved this time around is Evangeline Lilly’s Hope. She was extremely underutilized in the original and that was one of the main issues I had with it. Thankfully, she is an absolute delight and more than holds her own, almost stealing the spotlight away from the lovable Paul Rudd. You’ll be left wanting a lot more of her in future films.

A big change this time around is how the film felt very funny instead of trying to be funny.

A big change this time around is how the film felt very funny instead of trying to be funny. It all comes across a lot more naturalistic and, thanks to having a prominently comedy trained cast, there’s a constant barrage of non stop jokes that land almost every time. What’s impressive is how it doesn’t only rely on punchlines and gags, instead letting the responses and banter between the characters bring the laughs. Even Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) holds her own and doesn’t become another annoying child who gets thrown in for extra emotional weight. While the rest of the film is average at times, its humour is undenaiably consistantly brilliant throughout.

It’s not a bad movie, it’s just good and sadly, with a track record like the MCU’s, that feels dissapointing.

AM&TW is an bit of an oddity. As a stand alone film, it’s a fun but forgettable ride. As part of the MCU, it’s definatly on the lower end of the scale despite being one of the funniest. The film is an improvemnt over it predeccesor, but like the original, the jokes hide a lot of cracks within the narrative structure. I’ve always thought that if the post credit scene is the best part of a MCU film, something’s gone wrong and this is sadly one of those situations. It’s not a bad movie, it’s just good and sadly, with a track record like the MCU’s, that feels dissapointing.

7/10

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