‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ film review
By Greg Waldock, Staff Writer
With a few exceptions, the MCU has been ramping upwards in quality and creativity. Each new movie is better and bolder than the last. Ant-Man and the Wasp happily follows this trend, proving that the Marvel movies still haven’t gotten stale.
Moving out of superhero capital that is New York City, Ant-Man and the Wasp takes place entirely in San Francisco, following Ant-Man—ex-con Scott Lang—as he tries, and fails, to keep out of the heroics game. This movie is all about the Pym legacy: It has two Ant-Men, two Wasps, one Goliath, and a whole lot of the Quantum Realm. There’s lots to love for movie and comic fans alike, a hallmark characteristic of Marvel movies this year.
Despite a troubled filming with the late departure of Edgar Wright, the first Ant-Man was a successful foray into a straight-up comedy for Marvel. It and its sequel are loosely based on Nick Spencer’s 2015 Astonishing Ant-Man comic run, and the films follow the successor to the harrowed Ant-Man legacy, Scott Lang. Unlike most superhero titles, the Ant-Men of Marvel tend to have deeply flawed personalities—Hank Pym has bursts of outrage and an unmatched arrogance, Scott Lang is a repeat criminal who falls into endless self-destructive cycles of greed, and so on. The films focus on this for their drama to pretty great effect. Scott Lang is a more rounded character than most of the big-league heroes out there.
Ant-Man and the Wasp also proves once and for all that the folks behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe are listening to feedback. The most common critique of the original is that Darren Cross was a lame, uninspired, and unmotivated villain. Ant-Man and the Wasp responds to that with Ghost, a character with an interesting backstory and unique powers put to good use. To say more would be to spoil the whole film, but Ghost is one of the most interesting villains yet in the MCU and is radically different from their comic counterpart.
The use of powers is another thing Ant-Man and the Wasp succeeds in. Ant-Man can grow giant, the Wasp can fly in tight spaces, Ghost can phase through objects, and everyone can warp any object smaller or larger. The combat sequences put this to full and creative use. Fight scenes are weird and dynamic, taking turns and offering visuals that could only happen with these specific sets of powers used by people who know them. It’s an absolute pleasure to see any superhero movie embrace the superpowers of the characters.
Though pacing is iffy partway through and it lacks the bold worldbuilding of Black Panther or Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp is an excellent improvement for a very strange film series.