Ant-Man and the Wasp is directed by Peyton Reed. The film stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Michael Douglas, Walton Goggins, Abby Ryder Fortson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Hannah John-Kamen, and Laurence Fishburne.
Following his involvement in the Civil War between superheroes, Scott Lang/Ant-Man was placed on house arrest, with his sentence nearing its end. Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne return to Lang’s life, now on the run due to Lang using their technology in the Civil War, with the two of them trying to return Hope’s mom/Hank’s wife home from the Quantum Realm. But their plans are thwarted by the arrival of the Ghost, a mysterious enemy with ties to the Quantum Realm, and a illegal technology dealer with his own plans. Lang must become Ant-Man once again to help his friends against these new threats while also juggling the drama in his personal life.
2015’s Ant-Man was one of the more inventive and comical entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Paul Rudd being a great new addition to the growing universe. Following his appearance in Captain America: Civil War, no one was more excited than this fan to see the character take the big screen in his own movie again. Unfortunately, the film is a mess, with too many subplots, one-dimensional new characters, and attempts at humor which don’t quite match the spontaneity of the first installment. The film has its moments, but ultimately falls flat from its flaws.
If there’s one place no one can argue with quality, it’s the casting. Paul Rudd is a great comic personality and continues giving it his all in his third MCU appearance. He steals every scene he’s in from heartwarming moments with his adorable daughter, again played by Abby Ryder Fortson, or dealing with villains or arguing with other characters. Not surprisingly, Michael Pena reprises his role of Luis, who gets some of the movie’s best comic moments, and even an action scene of his own near the end of the film.
Sadly, Ant-Man and the Wasp never manages to reach the ranks of the MCU’s best. Like most MCU movies it makes attempts to shoe-horn in new characters, including its villains and an old colleague of Pym’s, played by Laurence Fishburne, but none of these characters get a chance to do anything compelling. Villains have never been the MCU’s strong suit, but the (unrelated) bad guys played by Walton Goggins and Hannah John-Kamen are quite possibly the worse ever when it comes to the franchise’s bad guys. The characters played by Randall Park and Bobby Cannavale are literally one-note, one-joke characters who wear out their welcomes quickly. Too much of the movie focuses on the search for Janet Van Dyne, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, but she’s in very little of the movie.
The movie simply can’t juggle everything it has going on. We’ve got antics of Lang trapped at home awaiting the end of his house arrest and the predictable ensuing attempts at laughs, Luis trying to launch his own home security company, the Ghost subplot, the “Hunt for Janet” subplot, Lang’s relationship with his estranged family, and his relationship with the Pyms. For being a movie that’s supposed to be a little more lighthearted and breezy than Avengers: Infinity War released earlier this year, it has way too much going on, and very little of it is interesting. It's one of the few MCU movies to have scenes and plots which actually bored me.
I stand by my remark that the first Ant-Man was one of the MCU’s unexpected surprises, but everything this sequel does, another MCU movie or the first Ant-Man movie does better. In terms of MCU movies, I have no reservations saying this one comes in dead last. And yet, there are still some fun moments and decent action sequences. Still, the worst film in the MCU is better than a lot of other half-assed attempts at superhero movies. Rent it when it comes out on video.
Rating: Two stars out of four.
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