Ant-Man and The Wasp is a fun adventure that manages to not take itself too seriously while taking itself seriously enough to hold the attention of an audience. While a lot of the action scenes don’t make the most of sense, the film is carried mainly by the charismatic nature of its two main leads and some very good pacing that blends the line between serious moments to small action scenes, between meta-jokes and moments of sad realization, with a mastery that makes me wish the writers and directors had this kind of ambition back in the making of the first Ant-Man. Oh, and the after credits scene is really good too.
Review: Ant-Man and The Wasp
The first Ant-Man got through the critical radar by squeaking along through the bare minimum of okay. It wasn’t anything too original, nor did it try to claim itself as such. It had a fairly standard plot with some interesting fights and funny jokes along the way, just enough to keep the average viewer moderately entertained for a fun ride that didn’t feel the need to write a story about the end of all time and space. That’s good with me.
The sequel, however, set its first sights on originality simply by not calling itself Ant-Man II. When I walked in, I was skeptical, cautiously excited, but more than ready to be very, very let down. Which I wasn’t. Which is pretty cool.
The movie takes place concurrently with Infinity War, and, after that fiasco, makes it a point to be a lighthearted pallete-clenser from the taste of universal calamity. The everlasting charisma of lead actors Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly help add comedy and interest to dialogue scenes that would otherwise be drab and rudimentary. The movie isn’t afraid to get goofy, and is even less afraid than the last to take advantage of the weirdness of its signature shrinking tech.
I’m secretly hoping that director Peyton Reed went into this film hoping to replicate the style of an 80’s cartoon, because that’s about where it came out. And me being fine with this is very strange, because I’m usually not a fan of action films that ask users to ‘turn their brains off’ and ‘just enjoy the ride’, but in this outing, the character interactions and emotions at play were smart enough that I could excuse some silliness in the action and story.
What really nails this feeling down is the movie’s excellent pacing: Big and small moments are woven together very smoothly, with pockets of humor and meta-jokes thrown in for good measure. The resulting mix is fun and easy, a welcome break from Marvel’s doomsday themes that have been railing fans over the head for the past several years.
And then there’s the after-credits scene and tie-in to Infinity War, which is probably up there with the best after credits scenes out there. It’s one you surely won’t want to spoil for yourself before you take a trip down to the theater, which I’d recommend you do. This Ant-Man story is a fun ride, and certainly more inventive and interesting than the last.
Featured Image Via Flickr / Pat Loika