For my review of the first film, click the following link: ANT-MAN (2015)
Well, it’s finally here. Am I going to be saying that about all these movies? I feel like I already do. Oh well, a good superhero movie is always welcomed.
While my review of the first flick is above, summed up, I thought it was mediocre. While critics were praising the hell out of the movie, I thought it was just okay. The humor being the reason why I didn’t like it. It was so bizarrely low-brow and not well-thought out. Not to mention, it was just another Iron Man movie without Iron Man. I thought the actors were good, Evangeline Lilly being my favorite actor in the movie, it had a lot more going for it than I originally thought.
With that said, I admit that I’m looking forward to this movie. It looks like it’s going to a visual kick, just like the last one. It sure looks like Wasp is going to get a bunch of screen time doing her thing, which I’m really looking forward to, plus a ton of new characters that I hope are improved over past villains. Weirdly enough, the MCU is on a hot streak with its villains, so here’s hoping the trend continues. I do remain a little on the cautious side, as the humor looks like it’s going to be… better… but seriously, that giant ant on a drum set better be just a visual gag for the movie, rather than something that’s actually in the movie. I don’t think I can handle another unfunny MCU movie, and none of them are bad in that regard.
The story, thus far, hasn’t been very specific from the trailers that I’ve seen. Just Ant-Man and Wasp fighting crime and going toe-to-toe with a chick who can walk through walls and Scott playing with how big he can make himself.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Paul Rudd (SAUSAGE PARTY , and the upcoming Avengers 4 ), Evangeline Lilly (THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES , TV show LOST [2004 – 2010], and the upcoming Avengers 4), Michael Douglas (HAYWIRE  and YOU, ME AND DUPREE ), Hannah John-Kamen (READY PLAYER ONE  and STAR WARS: FORCE AWAKENS ), and Michelle Pfeiffer (ORIENT EXPRESS , and the upcoming Avengers 4). In support, we have Michael Peña (A WRINKLE IN TIME , LEGO NINJAGO , COLLATERAL BEAUTY , THE MARTIAN , and upcoming films EXTINCTION  and NEXT GEN ), Walton Goggins (TOMB RAIDER , HATEFUL EIGHT , and upcoming films WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS  and THEM THAT FOLLOWS ), Judy Greer (15:17 TO PARIS , WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES , JURASSIC WORLD , and upcoming films HALLOWEEN  and DRIVEN ), Abby Ryder Fortson (FOREVER MY GIRL ), and Laurence Fishburne (LAST FLAG FLYING , PASSENGERS , and upcoming films BROTHER’S KEEPER  and WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE? ).
Now for the crew. Directing, we have Peyton Reed, known for YES MAN (2008) and THE BREAK-UP (2006). Penning the screenplay, making for a red flag total of five damn writers for this movie, we have Paul Rudd (ROLE MODELS ), duos Erik Sommers and Chris McKenna (JUMANJI 2 , and the upcoming SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME ), and Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari, both known for stuff I’ve not seen or heard of. Composing the score is Christophe Beck, known for ANON (2018), AMERICAN MADE (2017), TROLLS (2016), SISTERS (2015), and the upcoming HOLMES AND WATSON (2018). The cinematographer is Dante Spinotti, known for TRAFFIK (2018) and I SAW THE LIGHT (2016). Finally, co-editing the movie are Dan Lebental (SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING ) and Craig Wood (GUARDIANS 2 , TOMORROWLAND , and the upcoming GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 ).
This is my honest opinion of: ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
Set two years after the events of CIVIL WAR. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is doing his best to make the most out of his deal with the government: stay under house-arrest, thanks to his involvement with Captain America. It hasn’t been all bad, learning how to remodel his home for pretend-adventures with his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson), learning magic, and playing on the drums, he’s been committing to doing his time for his family, who have been undeniably supportive of his choices, despite the constant borderline harassment from the FBI. But Scott crossed a line by taking Hank’s (Michael Douglas) Ant-Man suit against his knowledge. And because of his actions, Hank and Hope (Evangeline Lilly) have been on the run and haven’t spoken to Scott since. But one night, Scott has a dream where he thinks he’s seen Hope’s mother Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), gives them a phone call that he isn’t sure that they receive, which they do, and gets whisked away by them with a plan. Turns out, Hank has been building a quantum machine that will shrink him down sub-atomic, a very dangerous feat, to possibly locate Janet’s whereabouts and bring her home.
I think it’s a little sub-par from the rest of the MCU films. With that said, as far as the lesser MCU films go, this is the best one. And unlike my movie buddy (whose name I do not have permission to drop here in my review), who will never admit that he/she liked it more than he/she will ever say, I kinda liked it for the most part, and certainly liked it more than the original.
While I won’t pretend that every joke landed, likely a result of having FIVE writers, I tip my hat to them that more of them landed in true MCU fashion, and between jokes, there’s some serious charm and heartfelt moments that standout from the MCU as a whole. And considering that we’re ten years and twenty installments into this shared universe, that’s saying quite a lot. For one thing, I absolutely adored that opening scene with Scott and Abby in their makeshift tunnel, looking for “treasure,” a paper-machete giant ant, and big ole slide that runs the down the entire house and outside, I seriously wanted a turn on that sucker. I mean, really, how many times have you seen a father acting like this in one of these movies? It’s so cute!
And at long last, I finally get to see Lilly kicking some serious ass as Wasp. In fact, she gets a downright awesome solo scene, proving that she’s just as bad-ass as any dude in this franchise. But she’s not just bad-ass in this one scene, she’s got plenty of awesome moments, constantly shrinking and growing, punching people in the face, it’s glorious fun. But it’s not just in the suit that she kicks so much ass, it’s in the van too. I especially love how creative these scenes get with clever use of the shrinking and just how hilariously silly it looks when a tiny van is being pursued by bunch of other vans. So yeah, the action scenes are wonderful.
Also, while they don’t really play a huge part in the story, I do enjoy how both Maggie (Judy Greer) and Paxton (Bobby Cannavale) are incorporated as one of the few people who are highly supportive of Scott and his commitment to staying out of trouble. In the last movie, his relationship with them was pretty antagonistic, and I feel like it would have been too easy to make them more or less the same way here, claiming that they don’t want Cassie to be mixed up in all this superhero business or exposed to a man who picks sides against the Avengers to aide a wanted fugitive. But they don’t do that. They’re all hugs and leaping to his defense when the FBI comes barging in when Scott accidentally sets off his ankle monitor. Rather humorously too when Maggie’s all, “You can’t just barge in here! You need a permit!” And then Paxton’s all like, “They don’t, actually.” And then Maggie’s like, “Really?” I don’t know, seeing Greer act all protective is akin to seeing a bull dog puppy acting tough; you know that pupper means business, but it’s too adorable to take seriously. Unless she’s given a role as a manipulative mafia wife who takes over an entire family of gangsters and makes me shit myself, I’m always going to associate her with being too sweet for tough. Before the tone of this paragraph transitions into negative connotations, none of what I said was a negative or a criticism. I know everything was this way intentionally and I loved it.
And you know what? I didn’t give this enough credit in my previous review, but I’ve grown to love Luis’ storytelling and how well the actors work with the way he talks and how great it works out. In fact, the one he does in this movie is the best one yet, and I didn’t think I would ever stop laughing at the second one in the previous film about Falcon looking for him.
But by far, the best part of this movie, and completely worth the price of admission alone, is Fortson. I am utter convinced that she is not a little girl. She is a walking, breathing, manifestation of pure concentrated, unbridled, adorable and cuteness. Holy shit, you can tape, staple, stitch, and hot glue your heart inside your chest and lock it away in a safe that would make the greatest of thieves pee themselves with frustration, Fortson is going to waltz right into that mountain of layers you’ve got covering it and steal it more efficiently than Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) could steal a wallet sitting right in front of her. I want to go on pretend adventures with her. I want to give her a super suit that will enable her to be my partner fighting crime. That scene… @#$% that scene, I am absolutely emotionally wrecked. I don’t care in what capacity, I want to see this girl more often. You know once she comes of age, she’s going to end up taking a role as like a serial cannibal or something, just to shed that cute persona she’ll be known for. But for now, if you need a little girl to be unnaturally precious, then Fortson’s you’re girl.
But as I previously mentioned, not everything about this movie is pure gold, so let’s tackle the negatives that I had.
First off, while the humor is much better here, there’s still more than a few jokes that don’t land, making this still one of the more painful MCU films to sit through. For one thing, I should probably say that I’m no expert in anything relating to “quantum” stuff. Like, at all. I am a dude who failed science with flying colors. I couldn’t tell you the difference between an ant’s thorax and abdomen… okay, yes I could, but you get the idea. Not a scientist. But even I know when someone says that I experienced a quantum entanglement with my boss’ wife, it’s not a cheating accusation. But that’s what Scott thinks. Again, this is that Baskin Robbins joke all over again (albeit, less painfully stupid than that). Scott can’t be this stupid for a dude who isn’t all that stupid.
While I’ll tackle more about the villains later on, to call Burch the villain of the movie would be a bit of a stretch, as he doesn’t exactly get much screen time or really do much other than be a third party in stealing Hank’s shrinking suitcase-lab. In fact, when all is said and done, after his first fight scene with Wasp, his character is no longer necessary. He’s fine for what he does in that scene in question, but after that, he’s pretty useless and doesn’t contribute a whole lot to the story.
More on the stuff that I liked.
The more I think about it, did anyone else catch on that there isn’t a real villain in this story? Foster? Kinda, sorta, not really. Sure, he wanted the quantum energy within Janet to save Ava’s life. Yes, this possibly threatens her life and trading one life for another is certainly not ethically sound, but even Foster seems to know that and isn’t completely all for the ends justifying the means. Hell, he even tells Ava not to kidnap Cassie, or else he’ll refuse to help her. Ava? Again, not really. Sure, Hank did some shitty things to Ava’s family and got her father discredited in the scientific community, and that would sure send anybody over the edge. And yes, her father’s failed experiment caused her molecular structure to go berserk, resulting in her possible death if she isn’t cured of her molecular instability. She’s angry, certainly isn’t afraid to hurt anyone, and harbors very little love for Hank, but she’s more desperate to not die and if you literally had only days to live and the answer to your problems is right in front of you, but is as of yet unobtainable, none of her actions are beyond the realm of understanding. Questionable as all hell, but one could hardly blame her.
And just like how the visuals were one of the saving graces of the original film, this is carried over in this movie. I won’t lie, the water bears are cute despite their much bigger size and the danger they posed to Hank in his vehicle. The giant atoms, molecules, all of that was damn pretty to behold.
And now more on the stuff I didn’t like.
I really wasn’t a fan of how one scene was treated, and that’s when Janet was “controlling” Scott via their quantum entanglement. Specifically, I don’t like how Rudd made his voice all femmy. I’m sure it was all meant to be played out for laughs but… no, that’s really not what the tone of the scene should have been. This is the first time in, what, thirty years that Janet has made any kind of contact with her family since going sub-atomic? This should have been an hurricane of emotions for everyone in the scene, but it’s played off like a joke half the time, and even when it gets tender and we’re supposed to take it seriously, it doesn’t really work because a few moments ago, we’re laughing at the humor.
Call me crazy, but does most of the conflict seem rather pointless? Consider, everyone’s trying to get Hank’s machine to take them to the quantum realm for their own reasons. Actually, I totally forgot the reasons why Burch needed Hank’s lab, but that’s not going to be the focus here. No one is an inherently violent person. So… does anyone else think that most of the conflict would go away if Foster has simply asked Hank to help Ava? Really think about it. Yes, Hank and Foster don’t like each other much. Fair enough. But their beef isn’t related to their goals. So how come Foster didn’t come forward to Hank, tell him about Ava, and ask for his help? Hank’s a proud and stubborn asshole, but he’s hardly a monster. Something’s telling me that Foster could heave easily helped build the machine, therefore making the process of saving both Ava and Janet faster. Trying to steal Hank’s unfinished tech seems rather counter-productive doesn’t it? It would be better to steal that shit when it’s finished. While I’m sure Foster would know his way around the thing, it’s still a shit load of blueprints, math, and a whole bunch of other things that Hank would simply be more familiar with. So really, there’s no reason why these two men should be at odds with each other. Past squabbles are just that; in the past.
Now let’s lets talk about the post-movie scenes, starting with the mid-credit scene. Yup, so it seems that Scott is trapped in the quantum realm while Hank, Janet, and Hope have been dusted off by Thanos’ snap. I guess now we know why Lilly said that we wouldn’t be seeing her much in Avengers 4… and now that I’m thinking about it, this makes me rather upset. Sure, she’s likely going to get resurrected somehow, but considering how fans have been waiting for three years to see Wasp, come on, man. We were hoping to see her in CIVIL WAR, which never happened. Probably hoping to see her in INFINITY WAR, which obviously never happened. Yeah, we got a great one-off movie here with her, but knowing that we won’t be seeing her in Avengers 4 because she’s dead… dude, screw that. And add insult to injury, f**k the post-credit scene. I really wanted the drumming ant to be a gag for the trailer. Nope, that’s the post-credit scene. I know people felt pretty peeved when they saw Howard the Duck at the end of GUARDIANS, but this was a special f**k you to me. It’s not cute, and it’s not funny. This is, as of now, the only post-credit scene that I hate in the MCU.
Overall, this wasn’t half bad and I sort of mean that literally. It’s like a seventy-thirty split. The movie mostly makes a ton of right decisions and when they’re made, it’s almost fantastic. The action’s great, Lilly as Wasp is amazing, the visuals are cool, when the humor works, it really works, and Fortson remains the best part of this whole damn movie. But it does have more than a few fair shares of problems. When the humor doesn’t land, it falls flatter than a crepe, some characters end up being pretty useless, among other details that I really didn’t agree with. But all in all, as a recommendation, I say go for it. By no means is it the best of the MCU franchise, but it’s a definite step up above the original.
My honest rating for ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: a strong 3/5
This week’s reviews:
Next week’s reviews:
- HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION
- SORRY TO BOTHER YOU
- EIGHTH GRADE
- DON’T WORRY, HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT
- A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM