ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
Following the intense epic that was Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel eventually released the much more light-hearted Ant-Man And The Wasp, the first sequel to 2015's Ant-Man. Peyton Reed is back on directing duties while Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lily return as the titular heroes.
The trailers for the film promised the official introduction of The Wasp into the MCU, a lot more size play during the action scenes (giant PEZ dispenser etc.) and an intimidating new villain. The first film was a very entertaining, tongue-in-cheek heist movie with a nutty sci-fi twist and, while it didn't reinvent the wheel, it was fun and Paul Rudd proved himself to be an inspired casting choice. This film sees Scott Lang (Rudd) homebound after the events of Captain America: Civil War that landed him in trouble with the law.
Under house arrest, he spends his days wasting time until the weekends when his daughter gets to visit and he can go all out making her stay as fun-packed as possible. Meanwhile, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) discovers that his long-lost wife (played by Michelle Pfeiffer) might still be alive in the quantum realm so he builds a tunnel through which he might be able to bring her back. When Scott has a vision of Pym's wife, he is promptly brought in to help but the mysterious masked "Ghost" (Hannah John-Kramen) gets in their way.
There are a lot of good ideas in this movie: The Wasp is very cool, the shrinking/growing technology is used in a thousand creative ways, we get to see more of the quantum realm, the scale is appropriately small and the very end, which links back to Infinity War, is well done. There's certainly a great movie in there somewhere but there's also something frustratingly unfocused about this sequel. The tone is just as light as it was the first time around but this film gets distracted way too often. Far too many scenes get bogged down by unnecessary comedy routines that do not serve the plot at all and feel forced.
Luis (Michael Peña) is a likeable character but he is heavily shoe-horned into the story here, as are all the other jokey characters (the FBI agent, Luis' friends, Scott, his daughter, his ex-wife, the list goes on) who take up most of the screen-time here. Even Walter Goggins' villain could have been excised altogether to save time. Ghost's story never truly engages and this part of the film is, frankly, a missed opportunity. As a result of trying too hard to be funny all of the time, this sequel's more interesting elements dissipate and the story, by the end, seems rushed and one can't help but feel that a couple more drafts of the script would have been beneficial.
Ant-Man And The Wasp, on paper, had everything it needed to be a bigger and better follow-up to Ant-Man. Unfortunately, it sacrifices its cleverer aspects for easy laughs, many of which don't really land, and what we're left with is an entertaining yet underwritten blockbuster that could have been so much better had it been a bit less Innerspace and a bit more Thor: Ragnarok.
Slight disappointm... ant.