Ant-Man And The Wasp Is A Lighthearted MCU Entry With Big Laughs, Adventure And Sight Gags

Ant-Man and the Wasp is the sequel to the better-than-it-should-have-been Ant-Man and the first Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film after Avengers: Infinity War. Following the somber feeling from that epic MCU film, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a welcome lighthearted film.

Paul Rudd reprises his likeable role of Scott Lang/Ant-Man, a former thief and fledgling superhero who dons a special suit that lets him control his size. Due to his actions in Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang is under house arrest, which explains why he didn’t appear in Avengers: Infinity War.

He is contacted by his former lover, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lily), and her father, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), for help in rescuing Pym’s wife, Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer). As seen in the first Ant-Man during a flashback and this sequel, Janet used a similar suit like Scott’s to shrink down to subatomic levels and was lost. In Ant-Man, Scott shrunk down to this level but was able to return to our realm and it turns out he has a some kind of link with Janet.

What’s impeding his efforts to help out the Pyms are his complications from his house arrest, dealing with criminals who want to steal the shrinking tech and a mysterious figure called the Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen). The last character was affected from exposure to the quantum realm and now phases in and out of reality like her namesake. So, now the Ghost wants to steal the tech herself to cure her affliction, and is the primary antagonist.

Honestly, the villains are the main problem with this film. They come off as more like annoyances or obstacles than genuine threats. The film tries to make the Ghost somewhat sympathetic, but it’s hard to feel anything for her. As for the thugs (led by Walton Goggins), they are just one-note villains who do not seem very imposing. This is quite disheartening considering that the MCU films have lately featured interesting foes. It seemed like Marvel Studios was taking to heart the criticisms about the MCU villains being weak, but now this film is a setback in that regard.

It’s a shame because the sequel did not need these villains. At its heart, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a fast-paced rescue film with lots of laughs. Much of that humor comes from Paul Rudd’s comedic timing and the scene-stealing Michael Peña, who returns to his role of Luis, Scott’s friend and ex-con. Peña is a breath of fresh air and livens up most of the scenes he appears in. Many scenes with him and Rudd are hysterical and frankly, an entire film could be made with just the two characters interacting with each other.

The other actors also do well with their roles like Paul Rudd, who is a natural choice for playing the slightly silly everyman type. Lily’s Hope Van Dyne more than proves that she is a powerhouse of a hero and we’re left wondering why did it take so long for her to appear as the Wasp in the MCU. A lot of gravitas is added by Douglas, and in smaller roles Pfeiffer and Lawrence Fishburne as Pym’s former colleague.

There are many enjoyable features in this sequel. It moves briskly, exudes adventure, wild sight gags, and as noted before, is quite funny. It’s just too bad that the filmmakers felt the need to shoehorn in the weak villains. They took time away from the narrative flow and the rescue efforts. Also, we don’t see as much of the quantum realm as we would have liked. This mysterious and fascinating reality was teased in Ant-Man and it deserved to be explored more given that it may factor in the next Avengers film.

Perhaps if a third Ant-Man film is produced more time could be spent in the realm. One thing that is worth pointing out is that the stature of Ant-Man has certainly increased since his first outing. He has now become an established hero in his own right within the MCU.

Other than that Ant-Man and the Wasp is a refreshing and goofy pallet-cleanser for the MCU. Some may consider this film to be an inconsequential filler, but it’s a big-hearted change of pace for fans looking for some escape this summer.

Lewis T. Grove

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Ant-Man Is Another TriumphANT Effort From Marvel

antman poster

Please pardon the pun in the article title, but Marvel Studios has done it again with their latest film Ant-Man. This film suffered through many behind-the-scenes obstacles and hurdles, the most dire was the sudden departure of Ant-Man’s original director, the fan-favorite Edgar Wright. Expectations were low for this film, seriously, a film about a guy who can shrink himself and talk to ants? It didn’t really work in the old Marvel comic books (created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby), so how could this concept translate to the screen?

Well, kudos has to go to Marvel Studios for pulling off another exciting and fun superhero film that leaves you begging for more.

Ant-Man is a heist film that is funny and full of thrills as it tells the story of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a cat burglar who has been released from prison after serving a sentence. He’s a down-on-the-luck extremely likeable scott finds suitfellow who just wants to reconnect with his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Forston), but can’t catch a break or a steady job.

His buddy Luis (Michael Peña), another ex-con, hooks him up with a caper to break into an old millionaire’s home and rob his safe. When Scott does this he discovers a strange suit in the safe that belongs to Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and soon finds out that Pym was testing him.

Pym discovered years ago how to shrink himself using the suit and wants to keep that technology out of the wrong hands. Unfortunately, his protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) forced Pym out of his own company and is on the verge of recreating the shrinking technology. What’s worse is that the unethical Cross is willing to sell the technology in the form of a beefed-up armored suit called Yellowjacket to the highest bidder for military use. Feeling desperate, Pym recruits Scott to don the shrinking suit, use its capabilities to infiltrate Pym’s former company and bring down Cross’ efforts.

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This may seem familiar to anyone who has seen your average Marvel Cinematic Universe film (MCU) , but that’s just on the surface. Whereas the other MCU film this year, Avengers: Age of Ultron, felt bloated and choppy, Ant-Man is a fast-moving joyride that has a bubbly sense of fun. You instantly root for the good guys and find it so easy to laugh at many of the gags and jokes. Director Peyton Reed deserves so much credit for naturally bringing the humor to this film and that is due to his comedic film credentials. Kevin Feige, the Marvel Studios mastermind, is owed a pat in the back by fans everywhere for helping to not only keep the production going after Wright left, but for finding the right person to direct Ant-Man.

running antmanSomething as silly as a guy who shrinks and talks to ants actually makes sense in this film… it works! That is because this film wisely chose to use the character of Scott Lang and made the film a very loose adaptation of David Michelinie and John Byrne’s re-interpretation of the character from Marvel Premiere #47-48 (“To Steal an Ant-Man!”) where the concept’s full potential was realized. Ant-Man used his powers in a unique fighting style where he would instantly shrink and grow to normal size, which confused enemies. Well, this approach is used in this film and Wright deserves credit for bringing forth that concept, which thankfully Marvel utilized. These fight scenes were electrifying and breathless because they haven’t been seen on screen before. The closest film that can compare to this is Innerspace, an underrated gem from the ’80s.

Aside from the brilliant special effects and pyms and langthe tight and competent direction, Ant-Man is such a winning film thanks to all the actors who bring their A-game to the film. From Paul Rudd’s affable Scott to Evangeline Lily’s stunning presence as Hope Van Dyne to Michael Douglas who just shines as Pym. He nearly steals the film thanks to his gravitas and unexpected comedic timing. You just buy him as the angst-ridden Pym and as to why he doesn’t like Tony Stark.

Yes, there are references to the MCU and even some swipes against the Avengers. But these Easter eggs (listen for a quick Spider-Man reference!) embellish the film and don’t feel forced. Make sure to stay until the very end of the credits to get an idea of how Scott Lang fits within the entire MCU as the final scene sets up the next MCU offering. Like with the other MCU films Ant-Man is part of something larger, but at the same time it’s a smaller scale film, and that’s a compliment. It gives Ant-Man a more intimate, relatable aspect that is perhaps matched by the Netflix series Daredevil.

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The fact that Ant-Man is firmly entrenched in the MCU may seem as detriment to some, especially those that may be tiring of superhero films. But like last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man is a bubbly and pleasurable romp.

José Soto