This has been a Marvel-heavy year off the back of the assured ‘Best Popular Film Oscar’ (yeah, we know) winner Black Panther and the box office vanquishing Infinity War, so the return of Paul Rudd as Ant-Man was bound to be considered a smaller effort (in more ways than one). That said, this sequel, Ant-Man and The Wasp, not only sees Marvel Studios finally catching up, with their first ever female hero titled picture but it also gives audiences a breather from the universe building to offer a film that shoots purely for fun.
Following the events of – what I still call – the best film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America: Civil War, Peyton Reed’s film is an enjoyably self-contained offering that (minus the ace first credits scene) sticks to its own story and deals with the implications Scott’s impulsive decisions to join Team Cap in Civil War. True this does mean that if you were to miss this film then all you would be missing out on is where Ant-Man is, ahead of the next Avengers movie in 2019. Indeed this is less an essential watch and more of a fun charismatic caper that takes the size altering fun of the first film and continues to toy with that idea.
This being said, it feels wrong to mark down a film for simply being fun and while expectations in the comic book movie have been and are constantly being raised, it is still nice to have a film you can kick back with and enjoy. Ant-Man and the Wasp may lack the high stakes of some of its kin but it has a good heart and a consistently funny script, which once again showcases the talents of Michael Peña, the ever charismatic Paul Rudd and a well up for it Michael Douglas who – as Hank Pym – is surely one of the MCU’s best supporting acts. Meanwhile it is nice to see Michelle Pfeiffer make a return to the genre and Evangeline Lily fully fly into the spotlight as Hope (aka The Wasp) and frankly she holds a great deal of the film’s emotional moments together rather well. To that point, this film does have some relatable human emotions going on, with the central rescue quest, Scott’s cute relationship with his young daughter and the villain’s story, in fact while Hannah John-Kamen’s new baddie Ghost is not quite as powerful/intense as the likes of Thanos, her motivations as a character are better realised than many other MCU big bads.
Overall this offering buzzes along quite nicely, with many comic zingers and sight gags working a treat to overcome the fact that the story itself is probably less impactful than others in the universe. Still, looking past any comparisons, this is the film that you were probably expecting it to be: sweet natured, less heavy and very enjoyable. For some this could be read as a detriment but the way I see it, it makes for a fun cinema visit for all ages.