Review: Ant Man and The Wasp

Warning: full spoilers for “Ant Man and The Wasp” and “Avengers: Infinity War” follow below. Do not read this article if you haven’t seen these films and don’t wish to be spoiled. Otherwise, enjoy!

   Last week we saw the release of “Ant Man and The Wasp,” the sequel to the successful “Ant Man” film of 2015. It continued Marvel Studios’ trend of taking lesser-known superheroes like Iron Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy, and giving them huge budgets and solid scripts to make them look like big deals.

   It was a great film, and this sequel looked to expand on the multi-generational superhero actions of the Pym-Van Dyne family and the fallout from the events of “Captain America: Civil War.”

   All of the cast from “Ant Man” return, and the events of the movie are set two years after “Civil War.” Following Scott Lang’s (Paul Rudd) actions in Germany he was placed under house arrest and is reaching his last three days of it.

   Meanwhile, Dr. Hank Pym and his daughter Hope Van Dyne (Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly) are on the run from the government and making a new breakthrough in finding Pym’s wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer). They make a new machine to reach a connection with the quantum realm, but lack a final part.

   They realize Lang is the key to finding her, and abduct him and take him on a wild adventure, where they have to overcome a new dangerous foe who can phase through walls named Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen).

   It’s a great saga that goes through many twists and turns with several different subplots, like Lang and Luis’s (Michael Peña) security business, Walton Goggins playing a fantastic greedy billionaire person (?) and Lang trying to get back home to fool the Feds and avoid going to jail by breaking his house arrest.

   One thing I love is that this movie continues the trend of great villains that have aren’t completely evil or clones of the hero. Ghost has a real reason and purpose for causing mayhem, and her superpower is pretty cool. I can feel her pain and relate to the character, which is something I couldn’t say for the lion’s share of Phase 1 and 2 villains.

   The action sequences are also a lot of fun and visually stunning. Watching Ant Man and The Wasp shrink down only to pop back up and hit someone will never get old, and the juxtaposition of the heroes fighting around and avoiding hazards at miniature size is fun to watch.

   This film is also jam-packed with humor and almost all of the jokes land. Peña is one of the funniest guys in here, and his reactions and thoughts kinda reflect how I as an audience member felt at certain moments. Lang’s quips always land for me, and Hank Pym’s annoyed old person act is funny.

   That last point especially makes the scene where the team sneaks into Cassie’s classroom to steal the original Ant Man suit one of the highlights of the film.

   The scenes that take place in the quantum dimension are great as well, and are visually pleasing to look at, much like scenes from “Doctor Strange.”

   The best part about this movie I feel is the light tone and happy ending that is a complete contrast from the last Marvel outing we’ve seen “Infinity War.” The moment Hank and Janet reunite is genuinely touching, as it had been building through both movies, and was tear-jerking.

   I didn’t see any reviews or press releases before I watched this movie, so every time something tense happened, I genuinely feared that one of our heroes were going to die before the family reunion.

   In a typical Marvel (and superhero films in general) trope, the protagonist’s love interest, family member, mentor or parent never lasts more than one movie if they’re lucky. Think Uncle Ben in Spider-Man, the guy in the cave who helped Tony Stark build his Iron Man armor, T’Challa’s father, The Ancient One, Ego the living planet, Thor’s parents and countless others. So I was shocked when literally everyone lived in the end.

   Which brings me to the post-credits scene. Many people, alongside myself predicted it would end with some form of the team turning to dust due to the finger snap of Thanos. It did, and Hank, Janet and Hope all vanished and left Lang stranded in the quantum dimension.

   While I expected it, it did put a damper on a really satisfying story arc and ending. A Hollywood Reporter article I read made several good points, saying that the scenario should have been reversed, and Lang should’ve been snapped and the Pym-Van Dyne clan would have to help the remaining heroes save the world.

   With that we would’ve got to see the Pyms return the favor to Lang and save his life and his family, and we would get to see an interaction between enemies Hank Pym and Tony Stark. Two egotistical, somewhat selfish scientists would have to work together to save the world. It’d be awesome.

   It would also tip the scales equally for The Wasp, as she would get to fight alongside the Avengers as payback for Lang putting her on the sidelines during “Civil War.”

   Alas, that was not the ending we got, and we’ll have to wait and see how Scott Lang gets out of this predicament in “Avengers 4.” Still, the scene was a good gut punch to set up the next offering from Marvel.

   I do have a few problems that could be categorized as nitpicks, but these are a constant problem with superhero movies that still haven’t been fixed 10 years after the fact. There were several last minute rescues that were just a little too convenient, like Luis getting saved by his crew, or Sonny Burch getting on a ferry in record time. Also Hank finding Janet right before he was about to lose his mind.

Also, why can no one in these movies communicate with each other? Hank Pym is such an egotistical maniac that he can’t see the obvious predicament Ghost is in and offer some genuine help. He just blows her tragic story off because he didn’t like her father whose death was most likely his fault. Why does Ghost have to go straight to violence to coax the Pyms into helping her? Couldn’t she have found Hank and Hope and tell them about the problem and ask for help? It was probably a pride thing, but when you’re in constant pain and your body is deteriorating, that’s the time to swallow it.

Characters like Pym and Tony Stark are so hard headed that they can’t hear anyone out and show a little empathy to people who were collateral damage to their inventions and experiments. But, if they didn’t act like that, these movies wouldn’t have plots.

   Overall, “Ant Man and The Wasp” is a great Marvel movie that has constantly moving parts and great action, and a great continuation of the story started three years ago in the first film. The central message is family, and it all comes together in the end (before the credits) in a heartwarming package.

Rating: 4.5 ants on the drum-set out of 5

Henry Wolski
Executive Editor

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