I wasn’t entirely sure how to feel going into ANT-MAN AND THE WASP. I knew I’d be getting a film with a lighter tone, filled with tons of humor, and more personal stakes, like in SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING. But, I’m still not over AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, so I was perplexed as to how the transition from that film to this one would play out. Surprisingly, it’s not all that bad.

Directed by Peyton Reed, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP moves away from the highly dramatic and grotesquely depressing events of AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR and comes as a very refreshing change of pace for the MCU. This year, we’ve had two very seriously powerful superhero films in BLACK PANTHER and INFINITY WAR. ANT-MAN AND THE WASP takes us away from the grandiose scale of those two films and delivers a very personal and emotional story, filled with a copious amount of well-mannered humor and jaw-dropping action.

The quality you’ve come to expect from the Marvel films is still here, don’t you worry. The actors are on the top of their game and the action is just as incredible as you’d expect it to be, perhaps even better. ANT-MAN AND THE WASP definitely features some of the best comedy the MCU has seen thus far. Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, and the rest of the cast all deliver impeccable performances (but Abby Ryder Fortson absolutely steals the show as Cassie).

There’s so much to love about this film. It’s far from perfect, but it easily stands out as one of the better Marvel films, for sure. So, let’s get into what makes ANT-MAN AND THE WASP so astonishing!

Why AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR is Absolutely Insane — A No-Spoiler Review

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP Features A More Relaxed Tone

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP, unfortunately, has to follow-up on the release of AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. I was worried that the epic scale and events of the third Avengers film would make any new MCU films feel lacking or just not worth it. Thankfully, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP has proven me wrong.

This film thrives on its smaller scale and lighter yet more personal stakes. The film stars Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly as Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne (or Pym, I’m not sure which name she’s using now), respectively. While Scott has been under house arrest following the events of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, Hope and her father Hank Pym, played by Michael Douglas, are working to save Janet van Dyne, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, from the Quantum Realm.

Of course, nothing ever goes as planned in the MCU. Between a gang of black market arms dealers, the FBI, and the film’s primary villain, Ghost, the team has a lot to deal with before they can actually save Janet. Throw in old friends like Michael Peña as Luis and Laurence Fishburn as Bill Foster, and you’ve got the makings of a monumentally funny, action-packed superhero flick.

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

What Stood Out The Most

You can immediately tell how personal the stakes are for the characters, which helps pull you into the story. The comedy rarely misses a beat, with just about every joke hitting its mark. Peyton Reed found a brilliant way to bring back Luis’ tendency to oversell his stories.

The fight scenes in this film are amazing! This is CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER level choreography we’re talking about. The Wasp absolutely steals the show in this regard. The Ghost is also super creative in her fight scenes, as well. Her phasing powers create some really fun and unique moments.

Of course, the core cast completely nails their roles. Paul Rudd is, as always, a thrill to watch. He brings with him a great amount of charisma, and he works well with every other character on screen. Evangeline Lilly absolutely shines in this film. Her role as Hope is fully realized in this film in the best of ways. You might say this is her film.

It’s tough to say who, between Scott and Hope, is the more emotionally compelling character, because they both have some great moments. Their chemistry is, as always, magnetic and plays out perfectly on-screen.

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Michael Douglas seems to have been able to explore the role of Hank Pym more in ANT-MAN AND THE WASP, allowing the character to evolve fluidly. I can’t give Abby Ryder Fortson enough praise in her role as Cassie. She’s so unbelievably adorable, but also extremely smart and witty.

She grounds Scott perfectly and pushes him on constantly. Hannah-John Kamen as Ghost was interesting. I wasn’t sure what to expect from her, but she played the role very well, delivering a solid performance.

Keeping Things Rolling

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP never loses its steam. Ever. One of the film’s greatest qualities is that there’s always something going on. Now, that might make it sound like sensory overload, but that’s certainly not the case. Though the pacing is generally pretty fast, it’s never overwhelming or off-putting. The pacing creates some pleasant tension that’ll surely keep you on the edge of your seat.

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

There’s seldom a point where the action stops completely, and even when it does, it’s for something emotionally pivotal to the plot, which is totally fine. Scenes like when Scott has an honest powwow with Cassie or when Hank finally finds Janet are pitch-perfect and are intricately cut between all the action.

The film’s opening is especially fast-paced. You might find yourself confused with what’s initially going on, but I assure you, it’s an adorably fun opening sequence. Scott and Cassie are playing some kind of treasure hunt game through Scott’s apartment. Luis interrupts to bother Scott with details about their new business (which is hilariously called X-Con). They start rambling about the specifics of a meeting or something. It’s tough to follow, but pretty funny, overall. I don’t think you’re really supposed to follow it, anyway. Just have fun with it.

The conversation assumes you know what they’re talking about. You probably won’t, but that’s totally fine. You don’t really have to. Just enjoy the moment.

The Microverse Meets Its Fate in ANT-MAN AND THE WASP #1!

The Drawbacks

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is far from the top of the MCU. First and foremost, this film reintroduces Marvel’s problem with villains. As good as Kamen’s performance was, it can’t entirely save the villain of the film. I found Ghost to be mostly underwhelming and kind of whiny. Her power set was utilized well, but, as a character, I wasn’t all that interested in her story. Her background didn’t feel as fleshed out as it could have been. She could have been worse, but she also could have been better.

Though the overall pacing of the film is fast and tense, the pace fumbles a bit in the middle. I found myself wondering how the film had gotten to its ending so quickly, only to realize it wasn’t actually the ending, but rather, the lead-in to the climactic final moments. As great as it was to have a fast-paced film, it also — sort of — detracted from the potential to include a few slower, more emotional moments, i.e. more Ghost development.

Who Is ‘The Ghost’ In Marvel’s ANT-MAN & THE WASP?

I didn’t notice too many problems with the films CGI. Some of the Giant-Man stuff was a little clunky, but overall, everything was clean and never looked too out of place with the real world. Although, the effects for the Quantum Realm could have been dialed back a bit. I felt like my brain was melting a bit more noticeable than the last time we saw it.

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The Post-Credits Scenes

Big spoilers ahead! Skip this part and head on down to the final verdict, if you like. Otherwise, read on!

Following the jubilant ending of the film, we get the expected post-credits scenes. Now, I’d like to go on the record and say I called this one long in advance.

Janet van Dyne is now freed from the Quantum Realm. She helps Hank and Hope build a smaller version of their Quantum Tunnel device (which was used to save her in the first place). With this device, they send Scott back to the Quantum Realm to collect Quantum energy.

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Unfortunately for Scott, he won’t be getting an exit anytime soon. As he calls to have the Pyms pull him back, he gets no response. The shot moves from the Quantum Realm to reality, where we see Hank, Hope, and Janet have turned to dust. Of course, this is in response to “The Snap,” meaning this experiment was coincidentally taking place as Thanos gained the final Infinity Stone.

I sat in my seat with my hands firmly planted to the side of my head, gripping my hair in frustration.

The second post-credits scene shows us Scott’s apartment, where one of his giant ants is playing on a drum set. Out of context, that might sound weird, but trust me, it makes sense once you’ve seen the movie. The more important bit to note about this, though, is that it takes place after “The Snap.” We see Scott’s TV playing the Emergency Broadcast signal. All is quiet. It’s an equally eerie and humorous scene.

These post-credits scenes made me very upset, to say the least.

Where Were These Characters During AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR?

The Final Verdict

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is a thrilling film, chock-full of intense action, gut-busting comedy, and pure emotion. AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR was a tough act to follow, but this film absolutely succeeds in continuing the franchise of the MCU. This film can easily stand toe to toe with its predecessors.

This film is consistently hilarious, intense, and satisfying, with characters, action, and jokes that are sure to please. Director Peyton Reed should have every reason to feel proud of this film. The cast did an amazing job in working to move their characters forward and evolve them. They brought so much raw emotion to the table, and it shows.

Though I have my minor gripes, they hardly detract from my overall enjoyment of this film. It definitely warrants at least two viewings in theaters, I’ll say that much. You can mark-up ANT-MAN AND THE WASP as another hit for Marvel Studios.

My Rating: 9/10

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