REVIEW: ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ powered by super couple

Superhero couples are relatively rare in Hollywood, with the one featured in “The Incredibles” series being likely the most prominent. Fortunately, Marvel Studios has added to that catalog.

This sequel to the 2015 “Ant-Man” again follows the life of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). The movie picks up with the character on house arrest, a punishment he received following the fight between members of the Avengers at an airport.

Despite this factor, though, the father-daughter duo of Hank (Michael Douglas) and Hope (Evangeline Lilly) once again recruit Scott for a mission. Despite having reservations about working with Scott again because of his recklessness, Hank explains that he needs Lang’s help to save his long lost wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer). The mission doesn’t feature Scott on his own this time, though, as Hope gets her own advanced suit and joins the mission, going by the Wasp alias.

Instead of going for world-ending events or changing the heads of state like in “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Thor Ragnarok” and “Black Panther,” Marvel’s latest feature dials things back a bit. The latest comic book adaptation by the studio is on a much smaller scale, telling a story more about personal relationships than a cataclysmic threat.

On the one hand, it is a refreshing change of pace from the other Marvel movies, and from other recent flicks in the genre. It allows for a better focus on the characters and their interactions. In the end it adds a different flair than what we’re used to with superhero pictures.

However, at the same time, this is also a major weakness for the movie. The issue is that the main conflict featured revolves around a character that the viewers don’t really know. As an audience, we only know Janet through a single flashback and as a result it’s a bit difficult to get entirely invested. Of course one can have empathy for the characters’ plight, but it’s still a rather weak hook.

Another issue “Ant-Man & Wasp” has is its villains. For example, there’s a stereotypical mobster named Sonny (Walton Goggins) who’s after Hank’s technology. The guy just feels too much like a stock caricature and isn’t memorable.

The flick’s other villain, Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), is handled somewhat better. Her backstory is engaging and offers some depth, although, she could have used more personality.

The picture is rescued from these problems though by the two titular leads. Watching Ant-Man and the Wasp team up is easily the highlight of the film and an absolute blast to watch.

AW

The characters, portrayed really well here by Rudd and Lilly, have great banter and seeing them work together and help one another out in tough spots is fantastic. One sequence in particular that’s a lot of fun is a moment where the duo have to sneak into a school campus to steal something. I only wish the two had been on screen more.

Like it’s predecessor, the film is also heavily benefited by its comedy. For example, the character Luis (Michael Pena) returns and again does great work as the film’s comedic core. There are also plenty of great quips and callbacks between the three main characters that keep things running smoothly.

Another similarity to the first film is the ingenuity of the action sequences. Because of how their technology work, Ant-Man and the Wasp are constantly shrinking to avoid blows and taking down enemies in stylish ways. This is especially true for The Wasp during a scene in a restaurant kitchen.

The first official adventure of Ant-Man and Wasp together isn’t perfect and doesn’t reach the upper echelon of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, it’s still a fun entry featuring an awesome superhero couple. 3.7 out of 5.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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