Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
After the likes of Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther, both of which were released earlier this year (2018), the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) certainly needed to inject a breath of fresh air into its 20th instalment to continue its amazing expansion while avoiding superhero fatigue. Something that’s lighter and yet still highly relevant and entertaining. An original plot that’s not again about saving the world, universe or battling high-tech criminals or rich greedy evil corporations. And somehow Marvel Studios manages to deliver once again. Ant-Man and the Wasp is one heck of a fun ride that’s superior to its 2015 predecessor while maintaining its lighthearted, comedic tone.
Directed again by Peyton Reed (Yes Man, Bring It On), who did the first film, the story takes place almost 2 years after the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016) where Scott Lang / Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) has been placed under house arrest for helping Captain America’s cause. Just as he’s just days away from freedom, his help is needed by Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope van Dyne / The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) to save Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), Hank’s wife and Hope’s mother, who’s been lost in the quantum realm for three decades but is believed to be still alive in there.
I admire how Wasp is treated as more than a “sidekick” to Ant-Man. Although Wasp’s suit has wings that allows her to fly while also have the ability to shrink like Ant-Man’s . And Lang is still the funnier, relatable and likable character which audiences would want to root for. Besides introducing The Wasp, the film also offers a pretty unique antagonist, Ava Foster / Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), who’s not exactly evil. She has the ability to phase through anything and become invisible as well but her powers cause pain and eventual death unless she steals the very same machine that’s needed to save Janet. Apart from Ghost, the superheroes have to handle another villain at the same time — black market tech dealer Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) and his men, who adds not only tricky situations for our protagonists to face, but humour as well.
With the script written by a team of people including Chris McKenna (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Spider-Man: Homecoming, The LEGO Batman Movie) and lead actor Rudd himself (who co-written the first film), the film offers plenty of hilarious scenes and dialogues delivered by the fantastic comedic performances, chemistry and timing by the actors. While it has one too many unnecessary, rhythm-spoiling fillers like Michael Peña’s Luis saying things like “that’s bad-ass” in between action sequences, most of the jokes and little moments hit the spot. Randall Park’s (Fresh Off the Boat TV series) role as Jimmy Woo, a funny cop who monitors Lang’s home confinement, fits perfectly to the humourous tone of the film.
Not only I find myself laughing a lot throughout the movie, I am also quite impressed with some of its creative surprises and playful action set pieces which fully utilises the superheroes’ shrinking and growing abilities and downsides. Is Ant-Man and the Wasp the best standalone sequel in the MCU? Probably not but it’s very, very good indeed and it is sure to please most of the franchise’s fans and casual audiences too.
Post-credit scene: There is one mid-credit scene that close followers of the MCU series would want to see, and a very brief and simple after-credits scene that might not mean anything at all.
Malaysian censorship: Doubt anything needs to be censored at all. After all, it is one of the lightest and most family-friendly films in the MCU.
Verdict: Lighter, smaller but a whole lot of fun and surprises. Very different from the other films in the MCU.
Rating: 4 / 5
Genre: Superhero, science fiction action comedy
Running Time: 118 minutes
Director: Peyton Reed
Writers: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari
Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michael Pena, Randall Park, Hannah John-Kamen, Michelle Pfeiffer
Malaysia Release Date: 4 July 2018
Local Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Malaysia
Production: Marvel Studios