10 years. 20 movies. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown beyond anyone’s wildest imagination and shows no sign of slowing down. What they’ve accomplished has never been done before and likely never will be again. Additionally, it isn’t just that they’re able to make these movies, it’s that each of them meets a minimum quality standard. Ant-Man and the Wasp is no exception.
How do you follow up the grand epic that was Avengers: Infinity War? Easy, with an intimate low stakes story that couldn’t be further away in scale and tone than that film was. Ant-Man and the Wasp asks you to sit back, relax and enjoy the light and breezy ride. For the most part, it works. The plot has a strong emotional core and has our protagonists dealing with the fallout from 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. Family is a strong theme throughout the film, and the protagonists are likable and easy to root for. The villains, however, are underwhelming. One of them has real purpose and a cool power. Another is shoehorned in for no reason and adds nothing to the narrative. It is a character and subplot the film could have done without to focus more on the key players.
Paul Rudd was perfectly cast and made an impression in 2015’s Ant-Man and 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. He turns up the charm here again and is a delight to watch. His comedic timing is impeccable which is evident in one courageous scene that very few actors could have pulled off. Evangeline Lilly suits up as the Wasp this time around and kicks ass. She makes a more capable hero than Ant-Man does and plays the “down to the business” character with the perfect attitude. This offsets Rudd’s goofiness and ensures they have fun interactions and good chemistry. Michael Douglas and Pena have less to do this time around but are good when required. The rest of the supporting cast does fine enough but doesn’t make a mark. Michelle Pfeiffer is underutilized.
Much like Ant-Man, the films core concept allows some truly clever and creative action choreography that really pops on the big screen. One only wishes that there was more of it! The cinematography is decent but unexceptional, as is the editing and score. One of my biggest gripes with the film is how certain plot elements are left vague and ambiguous once the credits roll. Yes, Marvel often does this to set up the next film. However, this installment is so light on plot, to begin with, made it bother me more than usual.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is an undeniably enjoyable but unexceptional Marvel adventure. It boasts two fine protagonists, some hilarious moments and unique action scenes. On the flip side, it’s bogged down by weak villains and an all too simple and unexciting plot that never surprises or thrills you. It meets the minimum quality standard for Marvel films but will have to settle for being the weakest of their 3 in 2018.