Director: Peyton Reed
Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Hannah John-Kamen, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas
After the shocking events of Avengers: Infinity War, which released earlier this year, many were left wondering if Marvel was going to take a serious route akin to its DC counterparts. Those who kept track of its line-up of films, however, knew that Ant-Man and the Wasp would be anything but serious. The twentieth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn’t really change the tone set by Infinity War. It happens right after Captain America: Civil War, which also explains why Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and his team weren’t a part of the war against the mad Titan, Thanos.
While the other films in the universe resort to a fair amount of serious storytelling, the Ant-Man series stands testament to Marvel’s (and Disney’s) way of having fun whilst doing this. This was abundantly made clear in 2015’s Ant-Man, which was in stark contrast to this year’s other biggie — Black Panther. Both origins stories, but Ant-Man a far lighter film about the story of a small-time criminal. There are hardly any stakes in this series, and these films serve as the perfect palate cleanser for those of us suffering from superhero fatigue.
Director Peyton Reed may have got Ant-Man thanks to the production fiasco involving Edgar Wright, but Ant-Man and the Wasp is through and through Reed’s product and the director, who is known for comedy capers such as Yes Man, proves that he’s a valuable asset to the Marvel family. While there is the usual fun and action one would expect from such a film, he also lets human relationships develop organically. With judicious use of the serious moments, he makes sure the comedy portions really stand out. Rudd charms us with his usual comic style and the scene in which he channels Janet van Dyne’s voice in him leads to much hilarity. And the character Luis, played by a stunning Michael Pena, steals the show once again. As an ex-con who now owns a security firm called X-con, he also has his own narratives which we loved in the first film.
Evangeline Lilly, thankfully, has more to do in this sequel as Hope van Dyne thanks to her taking over the mantle of the Wasp from her mother. Marvel already has Black Widow — even if not in a separate film — and its first female superhero Captain Marvel is getting her solo film next year, but to see a strong woman character deliver sweet justice sort of sets the ball rolling. And while we’re at it, the antagonist, Ghost, who’s male in the comic series, is female in the film. Hannah John-Kamen plays this character who proves to be really useful in developing the quantum realm storyline while also turning out to be a yet another effective Marvel villain. Her actions aren’t simply motivated by destruction. There’s an important reason why she does what she does.
On the flipside, the film leaves you wishing Michael Douglas, as Dr Hank Pym, had more to do. And the much-awaited reveal of Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet van Dyne — Pym’s wife and Hope’s mother who spent 30 years in the quantum realm — is reduced to merely an extended cameo. Ant-Man and the Wasp may leave you wanting for depth but truth be told, it does exactly what fans of the first film expected: A fairly satisfying fun ride that makes you smile at regular intervals. And it’s probably said enough about Marvel films already, but do stick around for the mid and post-credit scenes!
My Rating: 3/5