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Ant-Man and The Wasp – all buzz, no sting

Ant-Man and the Wasp could be the most fun you might have with a Marvel movie but, in trying to balance out the feels post-Infinity War can anything really stand up?

I think they kind of knew this, which is why they’ve separated Ant Man and the Wasp and focused more on some family fun for this one.

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The first Ant-Man movie came at time where something fresh was needed in the superhero genre. I was surprised as to how good it was. A really fun heist movie dressed up as a hero film. This time Ant Man and the Wasp is a chase movie. They’ve expanded their scope but bigger doesn’t always mean better.

Director Payton Reed is back to helm the production and it’s a story by committee brought to you by writers responsible for films like Spiderman Homecoming, The Lego Batman Movie and Jumanji – Welcome to the Jungle. As with the first film, the writing team is rounded out by Paul Rudd—who’s also the star—and it seems to me that this time he’s been able to put more of himself into his character, perhaps for the better.

The most notable absence from the writing team this time around is the brilliant Edgar Wright, who no doubt would have directed the first movie if Marvel hadn’t come in over the top. I would have loved to have seen him in charge. If ever there was a hero suited to Edgar Wright’s style it’s this one. Sadly “creative differences”  says otherwise. At least being booted from the project gave him time to make Baby Driver, which is excellent.

The story

This time around Scott Lang, the Ant-Man has been placed under house arrest following his alliance with Captain America in Civil War which was in direct violation with the Sokovia Accords. Remember Ultron? At least try and keep up. He’s broken contact with Hank and Hope Van Dyne who helped him become Ant Man in the first place. Hank and Hope have been on the run because they were implicated in Scott breaking the Sokovia Accords because his suit was their technology and therefore its use was unregulated. Whilst on the run they have been working on a way to rescue Hank’s wife and Hope’s mother Janet from the Quantum realm, where she disappeared some 30 odd years ago. They reach out to Scott when they find out that him going subatomic made some kind of antenna or conduit to the quantum realm and Janet appears to him in a dream.

Sounds complicated right?

Turns out everyone wants access to the Quantum realm and Hank and Hope’s technology. So they’re running from the cops, and a couple of other bad guys that would love nothing more than to steal the shrinky dink technology for their own means.

The cast

I really like the cast, Paul Rudd is his usual charming self. I related to his character because he’s just a dad trying to find his way and do the best he can. Evangeline Lilly is a total bad arse as the Wasp. Michael Douglas is excellent as Hank. Michelle Pfeiffer is great as Janet. Lawrence Fishburne is ok, but maybe under-utilsed as Hank’s ex-colleague Bill Foster. Hanna-John Kamen puts in a good performance but I felt like her character Ghost was all over the place. And Walton Goggins was the same bad guy he’s been in the last three movies I’ve seen him in. He’s good at it but his character in this movie is boring.

For me, the supporting characters really made the trip worthwhile. Randall Park, was brilliant as FBI agent Jimmy Woo— he had some hilarious scenes with Paul Rudd—and Michael Pena as Luis completely steals the show. His storytelling scene is one of the best parts of the movie, and every scene he is in is great, he brings lots of laughs. Although, I feel like the story telling gimmick has Edgar Wright’s style all over it—possibly one of the things leftover from his story before Marvel hacked into it—and because it worked so well in the first film they’ve simply rehashed it.

The verdict

Ant-Man and the Wasp has cool special effects, great chase and fight sequences, a beautiful backdrop being set in San Francisco and, as with the first film, they really use the city and scenery to great effect. It also had funnier gags than the first one, genuine laugh out loud moments.

I think lightening the mood after Infinity War was needed. I liked many parts of Ant-Man and the Wasp but there’s a gaping hole in this movie. A hole that should be filled by a quality villain, and I feel like it didn’t have that.

That is it’s biggest problem. The good guys are so damn likeable and their performances are so great that, in the absence of any hardcore villain, the stakes are really mediocre. You could liken the movie to an Adam Sandler comedy, but less crass and with better jokes.

I had fun with this movie but similar to the packet of chips you buy at the candy bar it felt half full and the rest was just air.

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