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Ant-Man and The Wasp
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas
Director: Peyton Reed
RUNTIME: 118 Mins
Ant-Man was never quite the superhero outing for style and bombast, but what the first film, and now the sequel, do have, is a bucket load of charm and personality.
There’s an offbeat humour to the zippy energy radiating from every scene. It’s a smidge longer than its predecessor, but somehow feels tighter and more confident in its execution - a rare feat for a sequel.
Let’s get this out of the way up front: If you’re hoping that Ant-Man and The Wasp will answer all your lingering Infinity War questions, you’d better temper your expectations now. This one takes place in the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War, with our diminutive hero Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) under house arrest following his shenanigans in Germany with Cap and the gang.
But that doesn’t mean Ant-Man and The Wasp is divorced from everything else that’s happening in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; while the sequel succeeds in telling a refreshingly self-contained story, it’s clear that the discoveries revealed here will play an integral role in Avengers 4 and beyond.
The key characteristic that Ant-Man and The Wasp shares with the rest of the films in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe is a focus on family, whether that means your blood relatives or the tribe you form for yourself.
While Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) are willing to go to any lengths to reunite with their family’s long-lost matriarch, Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer, who’s radiant but underutilised), Scott’s top priority is setting a good example for his daughter Cassie and making sure that he’s around to see her grow up.
The first Ant-Man is arguably the lightest of the MCU movies in both plot and tone, and the sequel has a similar playfulness. It wholeheartedly embraces the inherent ridiculousness of Scott’s powers and the predicaments he often finds himself in - mostly by staging some of the most inventive action scenes attempted in any movie franchise, not just Marvel’s.
One area of the movie that could’ve used a little more creativity is the Quantum Realm – the microscopic alternate dimension where Janet van Dyne has apparently been trapped for decades. After the psychedelic beauty of Doctor Strange, the trippy subatomic landscape feels a tad underwhelming.
Although it ventures further away from Marvel’s traditional villain formula than any film before it, after the universal threat posed by Thanos in Infinity War it’s actually a relief that Ant-Man and The Wasp keeps its stakes personal, rather than galactic. Even so, it still makes sure to never undermine the gravity of what its heroes are fighting for.
However, Walton Goggins’ slimy Sonny Burch feels superfluous - the actor’s got charisma to spare, but Sonny seems to exist solely to create roadblocks whenever our heroes look like they might complete their mission too easily, without the script ever really justifying his presence. On the other hand, his convenient appearances do facilitate some of the film’s most hilarious moments, so it’s hard to completely hold those plot contrivances against him.
Luckily, for anyone who was frustrated with Hope’s supporting role in the first film (and complete absence from Civil War), Ant-Man and The Wasp truly gives equal weight to both of its titular heroes; Scott is still our POV character, but Hope provides the film’s momentum, as her drive to rescue her lost mother gives the story its emotional heft and provides plenty of standout moments for Lilly, from Wasp’s kinetic fight sequences to her swagger in dealing with Burch.
Boasting some of the most creative action scenes and finely-calibrated comedy in the Marvel universe so far, Ant-Man and The Wasp doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it certainly knows how to make the ride even more fun.
After the doom and gloom of Infinity War, this savvy sequel is a welcome change of pace, and a reminder that the MCU is malleable enough to tackle just about any genre and tone without losing its sense of identity. Needless to say, I’m already eagerly ant-icipating Ant-Man and the Wasp’s next outing which will no doubt have a sting in its (pun intended) tale!
Showing in: Cineco, Seef II, Saar, Wadi Al Sail
Kristian’s verdict: 4/5