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ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is a nice antidote for the harsher Marvel movies


Hey folks... just got home from ANT-MAN AND THE WASP. I haven't read any other reviews yet, because I wanted no prior opinions to affect mine… but I am happy with it. It was a good experience. I decided to see it in 3D, mostly for the Quantum Realm special effects, but also because this felt less like a drama and more like a carnival ride from the trailer—which, in hindsight, was a good call.

The first act is fairly obvious from the multitude of trailers that have been released... Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is under house arrest following the events of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR and working to reconnect with Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson), his daughter. When he experiences a memory that may have come from Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), he contacts Dr. Henry Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), who are currently working on trying to bring Janet back from the Quantum Realm, and consider Scott persona non grata for bringing Federal heat onto their operation just to be an alternate Avenger. Feeling fairly certain that Janet is trying to send them a message from the Quantum Realm through Scott, Pym and Hope drag Scott along as they move to purchase some taboo tech from a high-rent dealer, Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), when they encounter a third party, Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), who can phase through solid objects and wants to steal their lab and equipment, for unknown reasons.

The best thing I can say about ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is it gives you the joy of Marvel films, like THOR: RAGNAROK, without the heaviness of BLACK PANTHER, CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, or AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. Now, I really love that heaviness, but it was nice to have some real emotion in place without having heinous murders or bloody feuds attached to them.

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is a sweetheart of a film, getting away from world-destroying villains and high stakes in favor of saving Janet Van Dyne and an imperfect human being trying to stay alive at any cost. The hard decisions are about Scott's desire to keep spending time with his daughter or help Pym and Hope reunite with Janet Van Dyne. It's all about Scott struggling to be a hero to Cassie by not being a superhero.

We love to see Spider-Man get picked on, and still remain a good guy... Scott isn't Peter Parker. He's affable and kind, and you only want to see good things happen for him. Even as the Feds hold Scott in check under house arrest, he is supported and even loved by the people in his life. Everything I loved about the first ANT-MAN is here and made so much bigger and brighter by what has happened to Scott since then. Evangeline Lilly is awesome as the Wasp/Hope. There's been a bit of a crash in Scott and Hope's romantic relationship, and rather than dragging it out with too much dialogue, the movie smartly and hilariously opts to let Luis (Michael Peña) explain it all, as only he can. They got as much Cassie as they could fit in, and her love for her superhero dad made me both laugh and mist up in one small moment. Luis, Dave (T.I.), Kurt (David Dastmalchian), Paxton (Bobby Cannavale), and Maggie (Judy Greer) all believe in Scott and help him be the hero-parent to Cassie he's trying to be to Cassie and the superhero trying to save Janet, Hank, and Hope.

To release a less impacting story, Marvel seems to be outright cocky about the strength of their cinematic universe. Besides how it develops Scott in the upcoming AVENGERS film, there are beats in ANT-MAN AND THE WASP that may not pay off for another ten years. I don't dare ruin them for you.

The downers? Humor fails. Just as with THOR: RAGNAROK, sometimes the humor gets a little out of hand, and the quest for a comedy bit should have, perhaps, ended on the cutting room floor. I really liked Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) as a minor antagonist, but there's 30 seconds of him and Scott saying goodbye to each other that should have been cut. Some stuff with ants that was just unnecessary. Also, some egregious Luis that should have been cut.

It needs to be said that this could easily have been a G-rated Superhero film. There’s violence, but there’s so much innocent charm to the movie that it could have been HERBIE GOES TO THE QUANTUM REALM. I’m okay with that. Some people just want the edgy edginess to engulf them, and I respect that; I appreciated a break from the usual, and Ant-Man was the perfect character to do that with.

The hardest part of ANT-MAN AND THE WASP for most Marvel fans will be that it has that filler feeling of a comic book released as part of a major crossover that doesn’t really step into the crossover to deal with things, but instead just works around it. Like during Marvel’s “Inferno” event, Harry Osborne briefly returned to being the Green Goblin and clobbered the Hobgoblin to save his family. That was a great issue, one of my favorite single comic issues ever. Alternatively, Daredevil battled mailboxes and trashcans that had come to life. But also, Daredevil came face-to-face with Mephisto, and had the character to forgive Marvel’s devil-figure for his tortures. This wasn’t the epic battle of old school Goblin vs. new Tech Goblin… this was a quiet moment that reminded you why you liked the character and ended on a very positive note. And ANT-MAN AND THE WASP does that for a Marvel Cinematic Universe in need of a calm breathing moment after AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR.

To sum up the experience… don’t expect ANT-MAN AND THE WASP to knock your socks off. Expect it to slip comfortable socks on, instead. It’s a great return to the characters you know and love from ANT-MAN, and to set up Scott’s major role in the next AVENGERS film.

— Precious Roy

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