Review: Ant-Man and The Wasp

July 3, 2018
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Earlier this summer, Disney and Marvel gave us one of the best films they’ve made in Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Infinity War.  When you’ve made over a decade-worth of films that have all been good-to-great, you’re gonna get overshadowed with your next project no matter what it is.  I think Disney knew that which is why they released Ant-Man and The Wasp just a little over a month later.  They know it’ll still make money but they also knew this was a weak film by Marvel standards and next to Infinity War it looks like a turd.  However, it’s a welcomed and refreshing break from the heavy-handed melodrama that the MCU has turned into.

It was three years ago that Ant-Man joined the ranks of the MCU and the casting of comedian Paul Rudd was shocking and awesome at the same time.  It was even better when it was announced that director Edgar Wright (Shawn of the Dead, Baby Driver) was directing and Adam McKay (Anchorman, The Big Short) was writing it.  Wright sadly dropped out and was replaced by a far less visionary director in Peyton Reed (Yes Man, Bring It On) who comes back for this sequel, but McKay’s script still happened and it was awesome.  Rudd reading McKay’s words in a superhero film created a world that was crackly and hilarious.  Sadly, McKay doesn’t return to pen this script and you can tell.  Ant-Man and The Wasp is far, far less funny than the first one but what’s worse is that it thinks it is.  The jokes this time around are so cheesy and poorly delivered that it feels more like a superhero film for little kids.

The original cast returns and this time they’re joined by Laurence Fishburn, Hannah John-Kamen (Tomb Raider, Ready Player One) in one of the worst villains in the MCU, and Michelle Pfeiffer who shows up in the nick of time to make it in the film.  As great as this cast could have been, it’s once again Michael Pena (The Martian, Fury) that steals the show.  Pena plays a character that could so easily be swapped out for scenery but makes every syllable that comes out of his mouth funny in a quirky style that only he could pull off.  He is half of why anyone should see this movie.

If you’re anything like me, a big motivation for seeing Ant-Man and The Wasp is to find out where the hell he was during the Infinity War.  Well, you get an answer but it feels like a cheap tag-on; almost like they forgot Ant-Man existed for Infinity War and then when fanboys asked where he was, they said, “ohhhhhhh right” and threw the explanation on at the very end.  This is a warning that there is very, very little of crossover story in this.  Not that lacking crossover story and characters is a bad thing but we’ve been conditioned at this point to expect it so when it doesn’t come it feels unsatisfying.  

But, as I said before, the silliness and idiocy of Ant-Man and The Wasp comes at an interesting time in the MCU.  There was a point where a movie of this quality would find itself squarely on the rock bottom of the ranked MCU films.  But considering how heavy the movies have gotten, it’s a welcomed break.  I mean, even the clowns of the universe, The Guardians of the Galaxy, made us squirt some tears in their last adventure; so it’s nice to have a Marvel film where we can remove our brain, chomp some popcorn, and occasionally chuckle at mindless action again.  That’s a compliment, right?