“Ant-Man and the Wasp”: Excitement Just As Microscopic

It’s not that I was expecting anything great. I liked the first “Ant-Man” pretty okay, as a fun heist action comedy in the Marvel Universe. An “Ocean’s Anteven” if you will. It had likeable characters, a fun concept, some pretty impressive visuals, a cameo from Captain America’s sidekick (that turned out to serve as a bridge from this to “Civil War”) and yet another bald business villain in a suit. The concept itself made for some truly funny moments, like the final fight with prominence of Thomas the Tank Engine, and from the trailers and some reviews (I didn’t read too much into them, just the general gist of whether the movie is any fun at all) I expected the sequel to be pure entertainment.

Unfortunately, it didn’t even reach these expectations. Everything from part one was still there, plus numerous references to the airport fight from “Civil War”, but everything else is just more of the same. Paul Rudd is still likeable, especially in the scenes with his closest ones – his daughter is delightful, his wife is okay, her new husband is just the nicest person ever in how he honestly roots for Scott, the business partner Luis is a blast… Really, the “three days to retirement” situation we meet our hero in is a cute scenario that you’d wish to last forever, by which I mean just these three days more without incident, and he’ll be free.

But of course there is an incident and this it where the problems begin: the Pyms barge into his life again bringing a strange mix of resentment and guilt tripping, at the same time expecting him to just risk everything for their cause. Yeah, okay, Scott Lang did cause them a lot of trouble, but it’s not that his help would get them out of it. Theirs was a completely different quest of finding Kate From Lost‘s mom (that’s her real name, by the way), which by this time they’ve already spent years on. And while saving Michelle Pfeiffer is always a good cause (just ask Rutger Hauer or Michael Keaton, for both of whom it brought some unforgettable movies), it’s not like it couldn’t have waited three more days! Another problem these character bring to the movie is the lack of chemistry between the actors trio: while I adore Rudd, Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas separately, in this movie they just didn’t click.

There are two other plot threads, each of them equally insignificant: a small time gangster wanting Hank Pym’s inventions for money and a quantum-afflicted (“Do you just put the word ‘quantum’ in front of everything?” was one of the few actually funny lines in the movie) person needing them to get better. And while I like that we have another “villain” we can sympathize with (the Ghost, I mean, because the gangsters were more a hindrance than actual villains), even with a sympathetic friend that tries to help her not become a full fledged monster (Laurence Fishburne, making him the first major actor to appear in both Marvel and DC cinematic universes), her plot fails to engage me emotionally and in the end is solved just with a snap of fingers.

Oh, hey, speaking about snapping fingers, here’s two words about why this movie fails: “Infinity War”. Before we see how’s that gonna get resolved in “Avengers 4” we’re given two movies, one introducing a brand new super-heroine that probably will play a major role in the upcoming resolution, and… this little sequel to a heist action comedy. How are we supposed to take this seriously after what we’ve seen in the previous MCU movie? I mean, everyone in the world knew exactly what we’ll see in “Ant-Man and the Wasp”‘s mid-credits sequence. Isn’t that what we’re all waiting for? How can we invest emotionally into some (literally) little thief from San Francisco, his girlfriend and her lost mom when the fate of literal half of the Universe is hanging in the air?

There’s still a couple of fun action scenes with impressive visuals and while most of the jokes are on a sitcom level and some of the good ones (e.g. the truth serum) stretch for too long, there’s enough humour and charm to have some fun. Yet the whole is a little underwhelming.

You can read this and other reviews on my Letterboxd profile.

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