I hope the dust has finally settled for most of you (no pun intended) following the heart-breaking events of Infinity War as Marvel prepares to shift its focus back to the grounded reality of its Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in Ant-Man and The Wasp.
Not the follow up film which most people are craving for following Infinity War but at the very least, it offers a much needed palate cleanser to prepare us for the next two films which are set in a more cosmic backdrop – perfectly balanced as all things should be.
Set two years after the events of Civil War and before the showdown in Infinity War, Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), now under house arrest after battling with the Avengers in Germany, tries to balance his home life as a father with his responsibilities as the Ant-Man. When Hope van Dyne/The Wasp (Evangeline Lily) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) present him with a new mission to bring to light secrets from their past, Lang teams up with van Dyne to uncover the secrets of the Quantum Realm.
The original Ant-Man movie featured a story which is arguably the lightest of all 19 MCU movies in terms of plot and tone. Given its critical and commercial success, it’s safe to assume that Ant-Man and The Wasp has doubled down on that formula, albeit in a less positive manner. The film is narratively jumbled up, and I don’t mean it in the likes of how Quentin Tarantino does it.
Midway through the film, the story takes a slight turn when a character reveals himself to be in cahoots with one of the villains for the sake of increasing the stakes and that is when the movie starts to lose its focus and direction. I also say ‘one of the’ because there were one too many undeveloped foils in the fray. I wish they accentuated on a single villain more for me to actually care about.
The original supporting characters also had more screen time which made the entire ride more fun. They were actually incredibly likeable and a little more about them would have done wonders for character development.
But for the story that the film lacks, it certainly makes up for in entertainment value. Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp has a bigger role to play now and she slots seamlessly into the heat of things. She’s confident, skilled and most importantly, kicks ass. Most of the slick action sequences are spearheaded by her and for the number of times she saves Lang from trouble; it sometimes feels as if she is more deserving of the titular role. If Marvel is still working on that superheroine movie, The Wasp should definitely be considered as a contender to feature in that roster.
Paul Rudd is also at his charismatic best as he shifts in and out of his suit to cater to a work-life balance act. His effervescent daughter in Fortson also makes everything easier to watch when the movie decides to take a step back from the hubbubs.
Comic relief is of course aplenty in this film (as it is with almost every Marvel film) and comedy director Peyton Reed fine-tunes the humour to a rambunctious degree. Standout moments come in the form of Luis (Michael Pena) who steals the show with one of his signature speed-talking scenes and Lang who temporarily becomes the conduit for Janet van Dyne’s mind.
With the revelation of the Quantum Realm in the original film, Ant-Man and The Wasp heavily piggybacks on that idea with a larger dose of pseudoscience shenanigans and it all seems a tad intriguing initially. The real problem kicks in when the characters start to become unnecessarily back and forth about it and after a while, everything becomes a bit too ridiculous to digest.
The film never executes the dialogue of the subject matter in a more succinct fashion and more often than not, I found myself tuning out because of how agonisingly painful it was to listen further to the incessant rambling.
In the end, Ant-Man and The Wasp achieves everything that makes a street-level superhero flick good but not great. It is a charming, self-contained story which requires no essential knowledge of the bigger scope of things in the MCU. Viewers who are looking to seek answers about Thanos’s quest won’t find it here. If anything, Ant-Man and The Wasp fills up the gaps in story of our B-list Avengers before Infinity War and provides some connective tissue during the mid-credits scene where a eureka moment will be struck regarding Ant-Man’s whereabouts during the big showdown against the mad Titan.
Featured image taken from Marvel Studios
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