Bori Bernat reviews the latest feature on Marvel’s smallest superhero.
One of 2015’s most unexpected feel-good films was Ant-Man. Featuring a hero capable of shrinking to the size of an ant with a suit, the film’s witty humor, exciting action scenes and great cast quickly became a loved Marvel film. Fans then welcomed the charming protagonist, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) back on screen for a bit in Captain America: Civil War, and this summer came the much anticipated sequel to the original story about a goofy but well-meaning superhero: Ant-Man and the Wasp.
Scott has been dealing with the fallout Civil War has left him in for the past two years. Since he fought on “Cap”’s side, he’s been working hard to be friendly to the lawful side of life. He started a new business with Luis (Michael Pena) and reconnected with his loving family, and all while he’s successfully completing his house arrest. However, an important unsolved mystery comes back to haunt him: the whereabouts of Janet Van Dyne (played by no other than Michelle Pfeiffer), Hank Pym’s (Michael Douglas) wife and Hope’s (Evangeline Lilly) mother, who we know from the previous film as having disappeared in the quantum realm. A hope that she could be alive drives her family to do everything they can to bring her back, and because Scott feels that he owes them, he joins Hope and Hank in this mission, while risking his family and freedom.
The antagonists of this story come in many forms. The police guarding Scott on his house arrest, a squad of gangsters eager to take the only tool to bring Janet back, and the antihero of the film, Ghost, a mysterious warrior who’s able to move through walls, motivated by something completely different than the rest. With these opposing dynamics at work, the film becomes action packed and exciting, each moment energetically driven to defeat these forces, occasionally several at times. All the while the story successfully intermits the tense and serious scenes with tasteful, witty and family-friendly humor. Luckily, though the sequel fit more one liners and jokes in as the previous film, it never overpowers the story itself (unlike the mistake of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2).
Ant-Man and the Wasp, as the title suggests, introduces a new hero: the Wasp. Hank Pym was initially set against letting his only daughter Hope wear a suit similar to Ant-Man’s, but by the second film he builds her an upgraded version, one with wings and blasters, making her the superior force in this film, named “the Wasp”, a name inherited from her mother. As Scott’s daughter Cassie so wisely puts it, Ant-Man needs a partner, someone to look out for him, and the Wasp seems to be the perfect solution to that. She’s smart and motivated, taught Scott how to fight and use the suit well, and is overall an extremely talented character, who’ll surely be useful to the Avengers later on.
All in all, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a very successful sequel. The storyline aligns with the first film well, continuing its most important unexplained aspect, playing well on the relationship of the characters, giving us an insight as to what the outcome of Civil War was to Scott, Hank and Hope, and it introduces a worthy antihero. Of course one has to accept that the science behind science fiction is mostly fiction, but no one should let that get in the way of the pure fun the film offers, with its amazing CGI, action packed scenes, and the best kind of humour a Marvel film could wish for.
As for the larger MCU, this is the first film since the shocking ending of Avengers: Infinity War, and many have been wondering what happened to Ant-Man, since he’s one of the few heroes not present in the biggest team up yet. Although the answer doesn’t quite lie in this film, it gives fans a great way to regain the Marvel joy after the somber note of Infinity War, an upbeat step into the next phase of our superheroes.
Despite being the 20th film on Marvel’s 10 year long roster, I can reassure those unfamiliar with Marvel that Ant-Man and the Wasp, though a sequel, does an amazing job in catching those up who haven’t seen the first film, or Captain America: Civil War. Flashbacks, explanations and even humorous mentions let everyone enjoy and understand the film to its fullest. One does not have to go through the daunting task of watching every film of the MCU to understand it (see: Infinity War). Maybe the hardcore Marvel fan might be disappointed that this film is quite standalone, only dealing with matters that involve the Ant-Man and his friends, it will still satisfy, as it has everything a Marvel fan could wish for and loves.
Everyone can find something they enjoy in this film, as it represents the Marvel quality well. Action, CGI, an amazing cast, perfect cinematography, well-written story, humour, and a great buildup of emotions throughout. So regardless of whether you’ve seen all the previous films, or just a few, or even not any at all, it’s a solid film to just relax and have fun with. As always, make sure you stay for both after credit scenes, standing up right after it ends is a Marvel faux pas!
Ant-Man and the Wasp will be out in UK cinemas on August 3rd. Check out the trailer below: