ANT-MAN AND THE WASP Review: spite its fast-and-loose narrative, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP makes for a fresh and worthwhile breather in the dark Marvel universe

Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly in Ant-Man and the Wasp

Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly in ANT-MAN AND THE WASP. © Marvel Studios 2018

Despite its fast-and-loose narrative, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP makes for a fresh and worthwhile breather in the dark Marvel universe

After the huge implications of AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, Marvel could only go one way with their next release – small, of course. Playing on the playful nature of the first film, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP makes for a fresh and worthwhile breather in the dark world of the Marvel universe, providing a family-friendly adventure full of action, humour and special effects.

Following the aftermath of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP sees Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) grapple with the consequences of his choices as both a superhero and a father. As he struggles to balance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) with an urgent new mission to save Hank’s wife and Hope’s mum Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) who has been trapped for decades in the mysterious Quantum Realm. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from their past.

While the above synopsis sounds relatively simple, compared to the first ANT-MAN instalment, there is a lot going on plot-wise with ANT-MAN AND THE WASP. In their quest to save Janet, the mission runs into a few snags (of course) and an array of sub-stories and sub-characters begin to creep into the narrative, resulting in the story becoming increasingly fragmented as it pursues too many directions.

Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly in Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly in ANT-MAN AND THE WASP. © Marvel Studios 2018

Yet, despite its fast-and-loose narrative, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP boasts plenty of humorous and charming qualities. Here, Director Peyton Reed, together with his writing team, double down on the comedic charms of his cast, with plenty of inventive set pieces and a series of amusing quips.

What helps to keep this train on the tracks is the effortless charm of Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly. Rudd’s Lang, the amicable ex-con with a heart of gold who can’t seem to stop screwing up, is still as loveable as ever, while Evangeline Lilly’s Hope is both determined and fierce, solidifying herself as a worthy superhero with some (finally) decent screen time.

Michael Douglas is given much more to do this time around as Hank Pym, with his emotional investment in the plot leading to some great scenes that exhibit some real emotional weight. Michael Pena’s Luis also gets a slightly bigger role than in the first film, as well as some of the biggest laughs.

Shame then that Hannah John-Kamen’s Ghost proves something of a disappointment. While the actress certainly does a serviceable job with the material, unfortunately, her character has a fairly mundane backstory. Despite the filmmakers’ best efforts to make her a sympathetic villain, it never truly hits home and the character simply does not have ample screen time to make the audience genuinely care about her plight.

Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly in Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly in ANT-MAN AND THE WASP. © Marvel Studios 2018

That said, what the film lacks in plot and character development, it more than makes up for in comedic special effects. Whether it’s shrinking, growing, mutating or quantuming, the visual effects are top notch here and there are plenty of genuinely clever visual gags which are sure to make you smile.

The quantum realm, which we caught a brief glimpse of in the first ANT-MAN, is also further explored in the sequel, and will no doubt will play its own part in the future Marvel films. In fact, there’s a connection between ANT-MAN AND THE WASP and AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR in the closing credits, so as always with Marvel, stick around until the very end to ensure you don’t miss anything.

In spite of its needless overplotting and underdeveloped villains, there is plenty to like about ANT-MAN AND THE WASP with the film providing just the right amount of lightness to offset the darkness and doom that culminated in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. An entertaining sequel full of heart, imaginative action and an irresistible sense of humour.

(3.5 / 5)

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is released in UK cinemas from 3 August 2018

Donna is the Editor of Frankly, My Dear UK. By day, she is a digital marketing whizz, by night she reviews film, theatre and music for a wide range of publications including WhatsonStage, The Public Reviews and ScreenRelish. Loves Shakespeare, prosecco and Formula 1