REVIEW: “Ant-Man and the Wasp”

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REVIEW: “Ant-Man and the Wasp”

Jonathan Montague, Staff Writer

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Marvel Studios has been on top of the world for the last 10 years.  Everything they have been building to has now started to come into fruition with the release of Avengers: Infinity War last May. Now, with their 20th film, they hope to relieve some of the trauma that they caused. Ant-Man and the Wasp brings us back to the smaller side of the MCU three years after its larger-than-life predecessor. Does it measure up to the original? Well, that depends on your ruler.

Our film starts with Scott Lang ending his two-year house arrest sentence after the events of Captain America: Civil War. When he has an out-of-body experience involving the first Wasp, Janet Van Dyne, he is once again recruited by Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne, now operating with her own suit as the new Wasp, on a rescue mission to the mysterious Quantum Realm in hopes of reuniting their family. Unfortunately, in addition to the FBI and an eccentric black marketeer, they must also contend with Ghost, who has a dangerous connection both to the Quantum Realm and Hank himself.

One of the things I was most worried about was the film’s balance and integration of the two main plotlines: stopping Ghost and rescuing Janet. The film surprised me with how well they tied the two together, although the ending can be seen as very convenient. Hope gets a greater focus in this film with an outstanding debut for the original female Avenger. The comedic tone is well intact, although not as many jokes landed for me as did in the first one. They do, however, take time to play with the shrinking technology for some hilarious results. Peyton Reed clearly has his own style, which is able to present itself more prominently now that he’s the only one behind the wheel.

Something else the movie does to its advantage is keep the stakes not small, but personal. There is no world-ending threat in this movie and it’s why I like this story better than the original. The characters are also stronger in this one I feel, with Hope becoming more well-rounded and Hank becoming more nuanced. Ghost, to me, was a real highlight as an antagonist while avoiding being an actual villain. Sonny Burch, on the other hand, is like the Sovereign in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2: Entertaining, but ultimately unnecessary.

Some have said that Scott regressed as a character in this movie and become something of a buffoon, but I disagree. While Scott is a highly skilled thief and engineer, he doesn’t really know anything about quantum mechanics. He’s far out of his depth and the movie does a good job of showing that as well as his strengths.

The standout actor of the movie is Hannah John-Kamen as the villain, who embodies her character’s pain and desperation perfectly. Paul Rudd has his usually excellent comedic timing and even Evangeline Lilly gets a chance to stretch her funny muscles. Randall Park, while funny sometimes, did start to annoy, unfortunately.

The effects and 3D in this movie all look pretty good but that’s come to be expected from Marvel movies. The music also comes with its own refreshing flavor, with Michael Giacchino adding some sweet rock instrumentation to the mix. The Wasp’s costume looks much improved from the tease in 2015, adding in some yellow to the torso. It manages to look stylish as well as functional, as does the new model for the Ant-Man suit.

Ant-Man and the Wasp does not have many outstanding qualities but still turns out a perfectly solid outing. The story is very good, the action is creative and the jokes land for the most part. It’s a shame it doesn’t excel in more areas, to be honest. Still, this movie is more than worth the price of admission.