Marvel’s Ant-Man and The Wasp Review [SPOILERS]

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***Warning for SPOILERS***

I still remember the first time they announced Ant-Man, and I hate to admit that I was one of those who was against the idea of the movie. Well the idea of it mostly. First there was getting past the idea that they shot past the existence of Hank Pym’s Ant-Man and went straight to Scott Lang’s. Then there was casting Paul Rudd as Ant-Man. I was one to quickly turn this down, and I do still regret not being so open-minded at the time. Especially when we needed more MCU movies that took advantage of heroes who we didn’t consistently have to take seriously. That outside the box approach to Ant-Man and Ant-Man and The Wasp paid off, and it shows when they were willing to go the direction they did with Thor: Ragnarok too.

Foremost, Ant-Man and The Wasp I appreciated so much because this is a true follow-up to the events of Civil War. When Infinity War hit theaters, the most we got out of them concerning Civil War was the divide and the way Cap and friends changed their look from their time away. None of that told us what they were up to while off the grid or personally how they were affected aside from the two love birds. With Scott, Hope, and Hank there was a direct consequence both direct and indirect. Getting house arrest or being on the run was just what you were seeing on the surface, but there was much more to what they had to deal with between mistrust, betrayal, and a questioning of purpose. What I also had to appreciate is how even though there wasn’t an exact theme to this sequel, they still made this one their own in contrast to expectation for superheroes. This story carved out their own corner of the world and did not need to draw too much attention to itself adding yet another end of the world scenario.

I don’t know what to say about Paul Rudd as Ant-Man. It’s definitely the face because you love to see Scott happy, and you feel for him when he’s down. He pretty much warms the room when he walks in being ridiculous. Being so damn likable is like his own superpower. There aren’t many Marvel characters in the MCU who could get away with being that goofy, while at the same time hitting you with some serious moments when the time for games is at an end. There’s so much to love as well about someone who is able to nail what it means to be a hero and be so vulnerable as a human. Next to Spider-Man, he captures a genuine sense of wonder when it comes to doing the impossible. With more confidence in his abilities, he commands his role as Ant-Man. I would truthfully say that he has now hit that point where he has taken that next step from questioning what it takes to be a hero. What you’re willing to sacrifice and how far you would go for those you care about. It goes without saying that every moment with Cassie melts your heart since none of the other heroes have this kind of opportunity to enjoy family and not have that craziness brought into their home (to some extent).

The intensity of Hope on the other hand was thrilling from start to finish. I recall reading an interview about Evangeline Lilly’s approach to becoming The Wasp, and seeing all of that grace, charm, and intensity brought to the role did wonders for her dynamic with Scott. I was only worried that too much time during the movie would be spent with her hurt over Scott fighting with Cap without her, but I’m glad that was not the case. None of this deviated her from what was a priority to her. Rescuing her mom and protecting what her family has left kept her drive going and further fueled what made every action sequence memorable. She did things Scott wish he could do, and proved that the only limit to their powers is their imagination or resourcefulness. Speaking of resourcefulness, Hank Pym took things to the next level this time around when we could actually see his brilliant mind at work. That was the only area where his character was lacking in the first movie. Now they had wiggle room to show what he can produce and did not waste one opportunity.

Now while Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet was pretty small, they made every moment count for this character. She took what was originally understood about the Quantum Realm and broke boundaries time and time again. Her reunion had emotion that you could believe, and I’m glad they avoided what could have been a cop-out if they thought twists were needed in a movie like this. If there’s one thing that was hard to ignore, it was how her clothing changed during her years of isolation. That will eventually need some explanation, and hopefully that has more to do with what the quantum energy allows you to do.

As a villain, Ghost is just as tragic as most have said she was. I enjoyed that there was a line that she was able to cross as a villain since the habit tends to be the villain becoming sympathetic. I don’t agree that this is a necessity. We should know why the villain does what they do but that should be as far as it goes. We don’t need a reason to root for the villain or think they don’t deserve whatever justice for what they did. Ghost doesn’t kill anyone, but she certainly proved that she was willing to go a great length for the sake of saving her own life. With that said, Luis, Dave, and Kurt you just couldn’t have a sequel without if we are talking about having a strong core supporting cast. These guys are as regular as supporting characters come, but it is their enthusiasm and reaction to everything going on around them that is a treat. If you thought their first time seeing Scott shrink was something, they challenged the laugh they could get out of you. Especially in terms of the part Michael Pena played in this one. You can tell he has fun being able to be on the ground and sort of wing it as he goes.

Now I think it would be a crime if I didn’t talk about the special effects for this movie. The success of the first movie clearly made an impact on what they were willing to do for the sequel. They really held nothing back when it came to the shrinking, growing, even the unique effect applied towards Ghost’s phasing. When it came to the Quantum Realm, I was so very impressed with this rendering more than anything else. A stunning array of colors they used here and it seems the MCU movies are becoming more experimental with what styles in color they will use to represent worlds, realms, space, and dimensions beyond our own.

Overall, I enjoyed another Marvel movie where you could go through a roller coaster of emotions and walk away satisfied. This is the product of having fun with a story that could only take place in a comic book world. My heart did sink as well when the end credits rolled. I think we all expected one thing, but we got a lot more than what we assumed.

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