“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is one of MCU’s “weaker features”

Erik Jimenez/Staff Writer

Marvel Studios and its Cinematic Universe have had a massively impressive track record in the last 10 years. When they are at their best (which is often) we get masterpieces like the first and third “Avengers” films and the Captain America Trilogy. Yet, not every film will be as successful.

And while their latest effort “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is not a bad film by any measure and is worth watching if you’re a fan of the first Ant-Man or the MCU as a whole it is undeniably one of Marvel’s most forgettable features and coming off of the 1-2 punch of greatness that was the back-to-back releases of “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” I fear its reputation will worsen in retrospect.

Taking place two years after his participation in “Captain America: Civil War,” Scott Lang, or Ant-Man, is about to complete his house arrest after siding with Captain America and his team. Lang receives an apparent message from Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), the original Wasp and long thought deceased wife of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), he and mother to Hope (Evangeline Lilly) the new Wasp. Then the Pyms, and Lang after a kidnapping, find a way to save Janet from the quantum realm, as Lang was able to escape it at the end of the first Ant-Man film. But as a result, they have to come into contact with a mercenary of the name “Ghost” (Hannah John-Kamen). She also wants to save Van Dyne too, but for entirely different, and more life-threatening, reason.

The acting is actually good enough to see the film alone. Paul Rudd continues to show that his casting as Ant-Man is one of the most unexpectedly perfect casting choices in superhero film history. His talent of bringing joy and consistent smiles to the audience with his own unique style of humor, whether it’s with witty banter or genuine loving moments with his daughter, is a gift that keeps on giving.

Edgar Wright may have been unable to direct the first Ant-Man film, but his decision to cast Paul Rudd is something we fans should all be grateful for.

Michael Pena is also great as Lang’s best friend and often times partner-in-crime Luis. While his performance in this film is basically his acting from the first film on steroids, I am not complaining because he was the funniest character and his scenes here rank among the funniest scenes in the MCU.

Douglas is great (unsurprisingly) as Hank Pym, and it helps that his character is exposed as someone who while brilliant, is also abrasive and complicated personality wise. Just like in the comics, he is not often a good man and a lot of that comes back to haunt him in the film.

Specifically, in the form of “Ghost” and this is where the rest of the film takes a turn for the worse. While John-Kamen does a fabulous job as the character, the character itself is a mixed bag. Her motives indicate that she is sympathetic but there is no other villain in the film that matches up with her, making it the first Marvel film where there is no villain story-wise. As a result, especially coming off of “Infinity War,” the movie feels rather pointless.

Lilly’s Hope comes off as if she is in a bad mood for most of the film, Pfeiffer is barely in the film to make a real impression. To top it all off there are no surprises in the film either narratively or action-wise.

All the twists don’t contribute much to the theming of the film. The best moments of the action scenes are shown in the trailer. I can say that if you have seen the trailer, you have seen the best parts of the movie when it comes to the action scenes.

It doesn’t help that the film is significantly more action-heavy than the first film, and it goes to show director Peyton Reed’s weakness as an action director. What the trailers made look fast-paced and energetic comes off as flat and boring in the film.

The only other real surprises are the comedic ones. Well, that and the first post-credits scene which does tie into “Infinity War” and is legitimately great even if many MCU fans saw it coming.

Again, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is not a bad film, just a rather small one. And while many of its positive elements come from that prospect—the idea that it’s a breather after the massiveness of “Infinity War”—a lot of it’s worse aspects also come from there.

Maybe if they released this before the last Avengers film and took out the end credits scene and placed it into either “Infinity War” or it’s sequel, I might’ve enjoyed the film more than I did. Yet, as it stands it’s clearly one of the MCU’s marvelously weaker features.

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