Ant-Man and the Wasp, 2018
Directed by Peyton Reed.
Starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Hannah John-Kamen, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Abby Ryder Fortson, Bobby Cannavale, T.I., David Dastmalchian, Divian Ladwa, Laurence Fishburne, Judy Greer, Randall Park, Michael Cerveris, Rob Archer, Sean Kleier, Goran Kostic, Benjamin Byron Davis, Riann Steele, and Michelle Pfeiffer.
As Scott Lang balances being both a super hero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past.
The Marvel cinematic universe has proven itself to be one of the most consistent mainstream film universes, perhaps even the most. Though not all the films in the franchise are epic crossovers like Infinity War or surprising hits like Thor: Ragnarok, the average Disney-Marvel film is pretty solid. However, with such a consistent output comes a growing need for each movie to do something new to ensure that the franchise doesn’t go stale. Many would agree that the first Ant-Man was surprisingly good and offered the MCU a taste of heist movies that it hadn’t seen before. But what about Ant-Man and the Wasp?
I should begin by saying that Ant-Man and the Wasp does meet the Marvel quality control baseline. It’s a pacey film with some good performances and a solid plot. The action sequences are good, even though they are incredibly CGI laden, and the exposition is simple but not heavy handed. But outside of this, does the film offer anything new?
Like most Disney-Marvel productions, the score to Ant-Man and the Wasp is average. The music used is effective, but it’s far from memorable. There is one car chase sequence that is backed by what sounds like a watered-down version of the opening riff in the Doom soundtrack, but nothing else is really of merit. What of the cinematography? It’s alright. The film looks nice, and sequences that occur in the quantum realm spectacular, but the credit there belongs to the CGI artists. The villains, aka, Marvel’s Achilles heel? They’re fine. In fact, they might be a little better than your average Marvel bad-guy, but not by much. Walton Goggins’ Sonny Burch is kind of memorable, but mostly because he’s played by Walton Goggins, and Hannah John-Kamen’s Ghost has a nice grab bag of quantum powers that will drive any self-respecting physics student nuts, but is nothing special.
So, does all this land Ant-Man and the Wasp firmly in the ‘average’ camp? Not quite.
If there’s one thing that Marvel’s latest film has that isn’t in your average action/superhero film, it’s a sense of charm. More specifically, a familial charm. Scott Lang’s (Paul Rudd) relationship with his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) is really given space to breath in this new instalment, and the two play a convincing father-daughter duo. The film also has the good grace not to use the cliched ‘kidnap the protagonist’s daughter’ story-line. Thus, instead of playing an integral part to the plot, the relationship is used to advance Rudd’s character and the film’s atmosphere, and for the better.
It should be noted that this father-daughter relationship is also nicely mirrored throughout other interactions the film, and acts as the emotional crux of the whole movie.
Speaking of charm, it would be a crime to ignore Michael Peña’s hilarious Luis. His jabbering, hyperactive persona is back and in full force, elevating the movie on a comedic level. Yes, there is another Luis-narrated flashback, and yes, it’s hilarious.
Overall, Ant-Man and the Wasp is your typical Disney-Marvel flick with some extra charm thrown in for good measure. It’s not ground-breaking, nor is it the best marvel movie this year, but it’s a nice breath of mildly-comedic, heart-warming fresh air to follow the bleak yet excellent Infinity War.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
James Turner is a writer and musician based in Sheffield. You can follow him on Twitter @JTAuthor