Peyton Reed returns to direct Ant-Man and the Wasp, the sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man and the 20th film taking place in the MCU. Coming off of the juggernaut that was Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a drastic change in tone and scale and like its predecessor benefits from a smaller and more contained story. Once again we follow Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) who teams up with Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and her father Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) on a new mission where secrets from the past are uncovered and a new threat emerges. For what we have come to expect from the MCU especially after already seeing the first Ant-Man, this sequel doesn’t disappoint but at the same time it doesn’t surprise all that much. It delivers across all of the departments you’d expect it to with consistent humour, creative action sequences, great visuals, and ok villains. There isn’t much the film gets wrong but it does have its minor issues here and there.
Peyton Reed nailed a certain tone with the first Ant-Man film that was fun, heartfelt, and fast paced and he recreates that here which makes it really easy to jump right back into this world with these characters. The combination of humour and action is very well balanced and they overlap in a way to where the action inspires comedy and to some extent the comedy adds to the action sequences. The integration of the shrinking (and growing) abilities to the action and chase sequences is incredible and it’s what gives the Ant-Man films something over the other MCU entries. The way they’re used in the film fuels a large number of highly comedic moments and also brings a sense of uniqueness to the action enhancing the amount of fun to be had. The action is all very fast paced and it keeps the plot moving so it never goes into a deep lull for too long. The majority of the humour does work, there are some misses here and there but there are enough jokes throughout to keep you laughing.
The visual effects in Ant-Man were fantastic especially during the sequences spent inside the quantum realm and in the shrunken scenes with oversized surrounding environments. Once again, as is expected the visuals here are on point the entire time and even through some action scenes where there is a lot going on it all looked very clean and easy to take in. The villain Ghost has a very unique phasing effect that follows her around and that was pulled off really well and made her a striking presence whenever she was on screen. One thought this film raises is just how long it will be before the uncanny valley is merely a thing of the past. The use of de-aging technology is briefly present here and it’s astounding how nearly impeccable the technology has become. It’s the best example of the technology I’ve ever seen and it could mean major things for the future of film.
As far as our heroes go and the performances behind them they’re just great. The on-screen chemistry between Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, and Michael Douglas makes this team so entertaining to watch and their back and forth moments are some of the best scenes of the movie. Rudd’s comedic timing is what makes the character of Ant-Man but the fact that he can also delve into the emotional side of his character when dealing with his daughter (played by Abby Ryder Forston) makes him a strong protagonist. Evangeline Lilly has a much more involved role this time around and whether she’s kicking ass or not The Wasp is always a very entertaining character who I hope we get to see a lot more of. Supporting characters such as Luis (Michael Peña) are also utilised very well and in the right quantities so that they don’t feel forced in there for a few laughs. As far as the two major villains go, they’re just ok. Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) is the most prominent force opposing our heroes and she’s involved in some very entertaining action scenes where her phasing ability makes for an interesting mechanic. She has her own story arc explored in the story which is fine but isn’t really as impactful as the main plot. Then there’s Walton Goggins who plays Sonny Burch, a very bland villain who we’ve seen Goggins play a number of times and he doesn’t really add anything of any substance to the film. He’s more or less in here as an annoyance to the characters and doesn’t serve much of a purpose beyond that.
In the end Ant-Man and the Wasp is about on par with Ant-Man in that it’s a very enjoyable ride with great experimental action sequences and plenty of humour to get you through. The trio of Rudd, Lilly, and Douglas really do make the film as fun as it is and their back and forth is one of the biggest highlights. At this point you know what to expect from an MCU entry and this doesn’t disappoint nor does it do anything exceptionally new. I’d definitely recommend it as long as the superhero genre is still your thing.