One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most impressive feats is how it takes previously fairly-obscure superheroes and brings them vividly to a mainstream audience. Iron Man and most recently Black Panther are good examples of this, and so is Ant-Man, though that movie was not as good as the previous two. Nonetheless, it was thrilling and funny, and the idea of a superhero-themed heist movie is still a novel idea. After the events of Infinity War, the MCU needed a “breather” film and Ant-Man and the Wasp delivers on that front; enjoyable and entertaining without the stakes of the previous two 2018 MCU movies (Infinity War is referenced here, not to spoil anything).
Long ago, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) were Ant-Man and the Wasp, but Janet ended up lost in “the quantum realm” after shrinking too small. Since in the previous film, the new Ant-Man Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) entered the quantum realm and escaped, Hank and his daughter Hope, the latest Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), hope to find Janet. Hank, Hope and Scott all work together in hopes of rescuing Janet, but their plans are complicated not only by Scott’s house arrest, but a mysterious figure called “Ghost” (Hannah John-Kamen) who wants Hank’s technology to cure her unstable condition.
Ant-Man and the Wasp can’t really be called one of Marvel’s best films, but it isn’t really trying to be. It’s meant to be really nothing more but a fun superhero romp and it certainly succeeds there, like its predecessor did. In fact, in some ways, it’s an improvement over Ant-Man, like how the villain this time is a lot more interesting. Ghost does some questionable things in her quest to become normal again, but thanks to John-Kamen’s acting, one really does want to see her achieve her goal. It seems Marvel’s villain problem may have been solved now that they’ve brought audiences three successfully sympathetic antagonists in a row.
The rest of the cast also excels, bringing plenty of humour and joy to their characters. Rudd is definitely a highlight, having plenty of amusing banter both with Douglas and Lilly and with his ex-con friends, and he brilliantly reveals his frustration at figuring out how his new size-changing suit works. Probably the best thing about this movie is how much pleasure it takes in finding ways to use Pym’s size-changing technology, with entire buildings being carried around like suitcases and actual cars being stored in a Hot Wheels carrying case.
Ant-Man and the Wasp may not be as good as this year’s last two MCU entries (or Deadpool 2 really), but it is still immensely enjoyable.