Movie Review | Ant-Man and the Wasp
Movie Summary: As Scott Lang balances being both a Super Hero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past. (IMDb)
This film is finally out in the UK (more on that later) and, while enjoyable enough to keep you entertained for a couple of hours, does have some pretty big issues. For me, there are two that really stand out as major problems holding the movie back.
Hope van Dyne aka the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) might well be the first female title character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (beating Brie Larson's upcoming Captain Marvel to the punch), but while she does get pretty much the same screen time as Paul Rudd's Ant-Man, and is unquestionably a more competent action hero, it never feels like Wasp gets equal treatment.
Almost the entire movie feels like it's being seen from Scott Lang's point of view, including Hope. This might come from the all-male creative team, but it always feels like we're simply observing her actions, rather than being engaged by them. She does have her own arc, but we never really see things from her point of view. Now this isn't to say the character is wasted. Lilly is excellent in the role and absolutely comes across as being able to handle everything that's thrown at her. Hope is Scott's superior in combat and out of it and it might just be that her extreme competence simply doesn't allow for the humour that Paul Rudd can provide so effortlessly. Oh yeah, this is definitely another Marvel Studios comedy and it's a good thing that so many of the jokes work, because the dramatic scenes are lacking in any real emotional depth. There simply isn't a level of threat from any antagonist to push you into rooting for the heroes and events unfold with more than a little predictability, even though they are well-executed. Saying that, the action scenes are pretty good, with a level of inventiveness that you'd expect from an MCU film, especially when the size-shifting title characters take on Ghost (played by Hannah John-Kamen), who can simply let their attacks pass through her.
We also get a pretty good car chase through San Francisco as almost the entire cast become involved which is also hugely enjoyable fun, with the only issue being such a low level of danger for the heroes that it still can't even begin to compare to anything from Mission: Impossible - Fallout.
I know that they're movies going for different tones and the action does have to be a little different simply because of super-powers in Ant-Man and the Wasp, but part of what makes Fallout's action scenes so incredible to watch is because the characters are constantly put into life-threatening situations and leaving the audience anxious to see how they'll escape. Now I know that this sounds like a lot of criticism so far, so I really just want to state again how much fun this movie is. Just remember that 'fun' is all that it is. I'm not saying that this is the sort of film to switch your brain off and enjoy, but - like the original Ant-Man - this is intended as a breather after the more serious events of Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War. Some last words for the rest of the cast as well: Michael Douglas is still fun as the grumpy Hank Pym; Michelle Pfeiffer is always a welcome addition to any movie; Scott's friends from the first film return and are enjoyable if a little unnecessary; and Walton Goggins does as best he can with such a limited character. Oh, and I sincerely hope that we see a lot more of Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) and Ghost in future MCU films.
And the last word I have to say about this film is how stupid I still think it was to delay this film in various countries until after the World Cup. The showing I went to was only around 20% full and I'm betting this will easily be the lowest-grossing MCU film in the UK since Phase One. It doesn't deserve to do badly, but what do Marvel Studios expect when the film is out in other English-speaking countries weeks earlier around the world?
Ant-Man and the Wasp is a fun way to spend a couple of hours, but feels inessential right now. There are a couple of seeds sown for the future of the MCU that could retroactively enhance the importance of events here, but the movie feels a little insubstantial on its own and the lack of any true antagonist makes for little threat and sense of danger.