While not as innovative as the first film, Ant-Man and the Wasp carves out its own niche within the MCU. This is a personal story, without the bombastic stakes of the recent films. If you like Rudd, Cera, size-changing goofs, or mindblowing “de-aging” technology, then buy the cheap seat ticket. If not, it will still make for a fun afternoon on Netflix.
What Works: Any scene with Michael Cera, size-changing bits, and the personal stakes.
Michael Cera is a treasure. His comedic timing and hyper energy are completely different from anything else in the MCU, and he is half the reason to see this movie.
Other than Cera, the most unique thing about Ant-Man and the Wasp is its low stakes. It was forced to follow up Infinity War, an in a way, Black Panther. That is a tall order to meet. Rather than attempt to be as big or groundbreaking, it goes smaller (sorry).
Is the world going to end? Not at all. Who is in trouble? Basically just two people. This is a personal story, about people trying to do their best by their families, both blood-related and adopted. In this way, Ant-Man and the Wasp is sweet in a way that no other MCU film has been before.
Beyond that, there are some fun bits with size-changing just like the first film, Paul Rudd jokes, and an ant playing the drums. These ones are meant to be fun, and that they are.
What Doesn’t: There is just a whole lot going on. Also, where’s the Wasp?
Unfortunately, Ant-Man and the Wasp also tries to do everything to make up for its relatively low stakes. There are two main plots, one character focused and the other an enter-the-body-to-save-the-person. There is also a subplot about Rudd’s business, a sleazy arms dealer, the villain’s revenge plot, and the government trying to catch Rudd.
And it’s just kind of a lot.
Surprisingly, what doesn’t factor into the bloat is Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp. She’s in it, but considering she shares the title card, it just doesn’t feel like that much. Lilly is part of a fantastic action sequence in a kitchen, the same that was seen in the trailers. But if you’ve seen that trailer, then you’ve seen it all.
Beyond the Screen: De-aging tech continues to astound.
There is a sequence involving Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer in the past, and it honest to goodness looks like time travel. They may as well have borrowed them from the sets of Wall Street and Batman Returns. Disney has been experimenting with this technology pretty heavily since it first showed up in Captain America: Civil War, utilizing it in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars Episode VII: The Last Jedi.
But the use in Ant-Man and the Wasp makes the others look amateurish. Exactly what this means for the future isn’t clear, but one pretty cool consequence is the opportunity for older actors to be more involved in these blockbuster action films.
Angela Bassett wants to have an action sequence in Black Panther 2? Great! A team-up of the “older” heroes, all in suits with voice-over work? Easy as pie.
“From the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes a new chapter featuring heroes with the astonishing ability to shrink: “Ant-Man and The Wasp.” In the aftermath of “Captain America: Civil War,” Scott Lang (Rudd) grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to rebalance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne (Lilly) and Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas) with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from their past.” -Rotten Tomatoes