By Andrew Jenck
Short version: Pretty decent, not as good as Black Panther or Infinity War, don’t watch if the Marvel humor isn’t your thing, and two credit scenes only the first one is necessary for continuity.
At this point, you know whether you’re on board with Marvel’s approach to the solo films in relation to the larger, ensemble films.
Characters shifting from different filmmakers, maintain continuity and characterization can be a bit of a challenge, so consistency may get lost in translation and some may work better in smaller roles. Ant-Man feels like one of those characters, but has the potential to be one of the better franchises within the MCU. Ant-Man and the Wasp feels very much like an in-between movie: Marvel wants to release three films a year now. In every case, the middle one is an Avengers movie, a smaller scale film is released a few years later, namely the Ant-Man series, and I feel it suffers a bit for that.
Despite the fun character dynamics, clever uses of shrinking and oversizing, and being overall entertaining, the film is very forgettable and never amounts to the sum of its parts. Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lily are great as the leads and have chemistry but don’t share the screen during the action scenes as much as the advertisements would imply. I was quite looking forward to a team-up rom com but they do most of their work separate from each other. The villains have an interesting backstory, one of them having a neat effect but gets lost in execution. There’s a good portion of laugh-out-loud moments, but can feel out of place among some of the action scenes.
If this review is amounting to “this is good, but it could’ve been better,” then that is the Ant-Man franchise to a T. The films have a lot of creative potential and good character relationships, but the pacing, direction, and most of the writing gets in the way. There are stretches of comedy in the middle of tension, the direction feels stagnate, and the writers don’t take full advantage of the piece they’re given. Since we’re introduced to the original Wasp (played by Michelle Pfeiffer), the film could explore Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and how that compares to this new duo, but never gets brought up is a perfect example.
When it’s all said and done, Ant-Man and the Wasp delivers on what you’d expect from Marvel and just enough merit to be a recommendation. The climax is fun with complications adding on top of each other. The actors have a good balance of sincerity and comedic timing. They build off a Captain America: Civil War well and what effect Ant-Man’s involvement has on life and acquaintances. I just wish Marvel would treat these films with the same effort as some of their previous stand-alone installments, as opposed to treating them as appetizers served after the main course. Hopefully Part 3 can be a Ragnarok or The Winter Soldier equivalent that this franchise desperately needs to become anything worthwhile.