Ant-Man and the Wasp, directed by Peyton Reed, is the epitome of a plain Marvel movie. This film comes packaged with all the issues that plague the majority of MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) films, only the other films usually have a handful of qualities that still make them memorable or entertaining, whereas Ant-Man and the Wasp has nothing. At the time of writing this review, a short time has passed since I saw the film and I’m already struggling to remember things that I could then talk about in this review. I’m tempted to play into the whole tiny aspect of Ant-Man and make this review small in length – that way I don’t have to try to write about it, but that seems cheap. Well, let’s try and see if there’s anything worth talking about, shall we.
Scott Lang / Ant-Man – played by Paul Rudd – has been on house arrest for two years, after he helped Captain America in the events in Civil War. But a few days before he’s set to be free, he finds himself pulled back into working with Hope van Dyke / The Wasp – played by Evangeline Lilly – and Hank Pym – played by Michael Douglas – who need his help to try to free their mum/wife from the quantum realm, while also tackling foes who want the quantum technology for their own nefarious means.
I walked into Ant-Man and the Wasp not having a lot of confidence in it being able to fulfil what I wanted from it. Not only did I not like the first Ant-Man film – it being one of my least favourite MCU films – but it was also following Avengers Infinity War; a cinematic achievement that’s never been seen and a Marvel film with a bold ending that I still think about now.
So yeah, Ant-Man and the Wasp was a film I wasn’t that eager to see. In fact, I only really saw it so that I was caught up and ready for the next Avengers film – which is the first Marvel film I’m actually quite excited to see in a long time, the last one being Captain America: Civil War. But despite walking into this film not very excited, I was not expecting just how… boring it would be. Marvel films have a lot of problems – I could write a whole piece on those problems – but one thing they’re pretty good at not being is boring. Well, here’s Ant-Man and the Wasp and it is.
I think a big problem with this film is just how insignificant everything feels. There are no real stakes. I never felt invested in the plot or the characters. The film moves from one scene to the other but nothing memorable or important ever seemed like it was happening.
Let’s take the two title characters (Ant-Man and the Wasp) as examples of the lack of significant things happening in this film. Neither of these characters have any sort of arc. The two characters we meet at the beginning of the film are more or less the same people we see at the end. There are changes in some of the circumstances in their lives, but as actual people, they don’t evolve, they don’t grow. Nothing and no one felt important; felt like they were taking on situations or personal struggles that warranted a 2-hour film.
The same can be said for the plot and the antagonists in it. Much of the plot feels pointless. The antagonists feel purely designed to cause some sort of conflict so that a movie can then happen. The character of Sonny Burch – played by Walton Goggins – (whose talent is completely wasted in this film) feels as if he is only there to make the plot move along and be a minor inconvenience for the heroes. And Ava / Ghost – played by Hannah John-Kamen – is once again an antagonist in a Marvel film that is terribly handled. Her entire backstory and motivation are laid out in a single expository scene and after that she serves as little more than someone for the heroes to fight. After the back-to-back incredibly nuanced villains in Black Panther (Killmonger – played by Michael B. Jordan) and Avengers: Infinity War (Thanos – played by Josh Brolin), Ghost is a massive step down.
But with Marvel, even if the plot doesn’t pull you in and the characters aren’t that engaging, you can usually rely on some great action and some solid comedy to pull you along and keep you moderately entertained. That is not the case in this film, which I found to be really surprising.
From an action standpoint, this sequel had the potential to do some incredibly unique and memorable stuff with Ant-Man and Wasp’s abilities. But there isn’t any moment that stands out as being a clever use of their powers. Despite my dislike for the first Ant-Man film, I still did enjoy the ways in which Ant-Man’s abilities were used – the fight in the suitcase being a prime example. But there’s nothing like that here. It’s an assortment of bland fight scenes where it’s difficult to follow what’s happening and there’s no weight or consequence to anything that’s happening. I will say though that Wasp is a much more exciting character to watch in the action segments and I’m looking forward to seeing better directors (The Russo brothers for example) create some entertaining moments with her.
On the comedy standpoint, I was at least expecting this film to have some decent humour in it – especially with Paul Rudd in a leading role. But I think in total I laughed twice, and it was the type of laugh where you push air out your nose, there were no belly chuckles like what I got from Thor: Ragnarok. I don’t think the fault lies with Paul Rudd or any other of actors. Instead I think the fault lies in both the director and the script.
Peyton Reed seems like a competent director; Ant-Man and the Wasp is a well put together film from a technical standpoint. But he doesn’t have the skill within him for shooting comedy. Flat shots, bog-standard cutting of scenes and a lack of timing in the editing leaves a lot, if not all of the comedic moments falling flat. And Reed wasn’t helped by the fact that the script he was working with was really weak. The dialogue feels clunky and the actors struggle to deliver most of the lines convincingly. There’s also a strange rhythm (or lack of rhythm) that has the film feeling off-kilter. I couldn’t nail down specifically what the problem was, but something about the pacing or the editing had this film feeling off-balance and out of sorts.
I realise I’m being extremely negative in this review and I want to stress how much I don’t enjoy being so. This isn’t some juvenile intent to just hate on the film because it’s a Marvel superhero film – that’s not at all how I operate. I mean, my excitement for the next Avengers film is a constant in my life. I simply just expect better from a Marvel movie at this point. They have been on a role these last few years; putting out solid film after solid film, each tapping into different genres and playing around with the massive universe that has been built. And so, when I look at Ant-Man and the Wasp, I see a film that feels outdated. This feels like a phase 1 Marvel movie. It would have probably been good had it come out a while ago, but now, compared to what Marvel’s putting out at the moment, it just isn’t good enough.
And so, I DO NOT recommend, Ant-Man and the Wasp. I honestly can’t think of one positive element that warrants you taking the time to see it. I really believe that if you didn’t see this film, you’d still be fully prepared for the next Avengers film. In summary, this film is insignificant.
What did you think of Ant-Man and the Wasp and my review of it? Let me know in the comments section down below. If you’re feeling generous today, may I ask that you consider following both my blog and my Twitter – @GavinsRamblings. I’ll bring my ramblings to an end now and finish my giving you m humble thanks for taking some of your time and dedicating it towards reading my little review. Thank you and have a great day!