Trying to fall in love with film again.

'Ant-Man and the Wasp' is Mid-Tier Marvel and its not a bad place to be

Disclaimer: This post may contain mild spoilers for the MCU movies. 

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Two years after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Scott  Lang is arrested and placed on house arrest. With a few days left of his sentence, her gets a message from Janet van Dyne in the Quantum Realm. He then contacts Hope van Dyne and her father Hank Pym who are on the run as they're known associates of Scott

While trying to get Janet out of the quantum realm they encounter Ghost a woman with molecular instability who can phase through walls and wants to use Hank Pym's technology for herself regardless of who she hurts along the way.

Much like the first Ant-Man, the plot is more small scale (I know, I know) than other Marvel especially the film that came before it. These movies succeed at having self-contained stories, they're connected to the larger universe, but don't add or disrupt the overarching story of the MCU. The story's simplicity works to its advantage but is also the film's downfall. After the intensity of Infinity War, it's a palette cleanser but given the fact that all the films beforehand have been so intense and impactful, this feels like filler.

Acting

Paul Rudd as Scott Lang is the backbone of the film, without him the film wouldn't be as good as it is or as funny as it is. He's charismatic and you feel compelled to watch him while he is on screen. I wouldn't be surprised if some of his lines were improvised because his delivery was very natural. To quote the Ant-Man honest trailer, "The movie would be really stale without Paul Rudd doing Paul Rudd things" and I agree with that sentiment 100%.

Evangeline Lilly plays Hope van Dyne aka The Wasp and I love that a female hero finally has top billing in an MCU movie, it's definitely a step in the right direction. One thing I love about Hope is how brash she is. She is the definition of 'no-nonsense' and there is a perfect balance between her and Scott who is more nonchalant and silly. There is a reason for her rough exterior and it's something that everyone can relate to, however she does drag the tone of the movie down at times. I'm not saying that she needs to smile all the time but given the ridiculousness of some of the situations a laugh or smile would make her more relatable to the audience. I'll allow it because she's a certified badass.

Michael Douglas' is brilliant in pretty much anything and everything. This movie gives us more insight into Hank Pym's past we see his more dangerous side, more so than in the first movie. It makes me wonder what he was like while he was Ant-Man (ignoring the part of his history where he was incredibly violent)

Hannah John-Kamen plays the villain of this film Ghost, when this movie came out I saw a tweet comparing her to Killmonger from Black Panther and after seeing the film I don't see any similarities between the two. Killmonger's motivations were focused more on a societal group whereas Ghost's motivations focus more on herself. I see more similarities with the Winter Soldier. Her goal is very much contained within the movie. Hannah John-Kamen's performance doesn't particularly stand out especially when you compare her to the villains that have come before her like Thanos and Killmonger.

The supporting cast returns from the first film and they make the movie better, especially Michael Peña who is a scene stealer much like the first one. New additions include Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne and Walton Goggins who all deliver perfectly adequate performances, they were entertaining, but nothing noteworthy.

Writing/Direction

Peyton Reed returns to direct and I was excited and curious to see what the Ant-Man sequel would be because the creative issues behind the scenes in the first film made headlines and made a lot of people think "What would an Edgar Wright Ant-Man movie look like?" Peyton Reed didn't veer off course too much as the first film established a tone for these movies that separated it from the rest of the MCU. There isn't much here in the vein of a distinct directorial style, it seems like Reed was playing it safe.

There were moments in this movie that had me crying with laughter which is rare, it really is that funny. I would say about 97% of the jokes land and they're usually coming from Paul Rudd and Michael Pena.

This movie has a lot of exposition and usually, exposition doesn't bother me especially for a movie like this that has a lot of scientific terminology. However, there was a particular scene where I felt like it was a little excessive as it is delivered very lazily, just one character talking to another.

There are easter eggs that link this movie with the larger connected universe, some of them are in your face while others are more subtle.

At its core, Ant-Man and the Wasp is all about family. Hope wants to reunite with her mother, Scott wants to be a good father to his daughter Cassie. The best moments are the family-oriented moments and the comedic moments. That's where this movie separates itself from its predecessors. Some of its characters aren't as fleshed out as others but we don't spend that much time with them so it's not a huge issue.

CGI/Set Design

Having good CGI in a movie like this is a given and it would be surprising if the CGI wasn't good.
I saw this movie with and at the end, she said "I love they nonchalantly shrink things" and I agree. Almost everything in this movie is either shrunk or grown and it's impressive how seamless the scenes are. There weren't any scenes with bad CGI that stood out to me.

Score/Soundtrack

The score was done by Christophe Beck. The issue I have with Marvel scores with the exception of the first Avengers movie, Black Panther and Doctor Strange, the scores aren't very memorable. I'm someone who pays very close attention to films scores, there was no piece of music that caught my eye and I was looking for one.

Overall Thoughts

While the first Ant-Man has the benefit of being a heist movie, this movie doesn't benefit from having that distinction. If I was going to categorise this movie I would call it Mid-Tier Marvel where it's not bad by any stretch but it's not going to be at the top of my favourite MCU movie list anytime soon. I'm curious to see what it adds to the larger story because the movie does feel like filler, almost like Marvel is tiding us over till they release their next film. That end credit scene was triggering and I would like a written apology from Kevin Feige. I was however thoroughly entertained throughout the movie which is what I was expecting.

If you want to read my review of the first Ant-Man movie, you can read it here.

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