Did you feel depressed after Avengers: Infinity War? Did you feel lifeless, like your soul got ripped from your body after a simple snap? Looking for a cure? Well have a dose of Ant-Man and the Wasp, a lively, action-packed, wildly entertaining, hilarious, and just flat-out awesome entry in the MCU.
Ant-Man and the Wasp takes place before Infinity War but after Civil War, as Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is now under house arrest by the F.B.I for his actions in the brawl that occurred at the Germany airport with all the other Avengers. He is still trying to be the best father he can be to his daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson), though it’s tough when they’re confined to just his house.
Meanwhile, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) are on the run from the law and attempting to break into the Quantum Realm, an alternate dimension that can only be traveled to by subatomic shrinking, to rescue Hank’s wife, Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), who traveled there decades ago. Mad at Scott for taking the Ant-Man suit to Germany without their permission, Hank and Hope realize they needs Scott to achieve their mission, as he is the only person to have reached the Quantum Realm and come out alive.
But getting deep enough in the Quantum Realm requires a machine to get them there, so Hank and Hope are buying parts from black market dealer Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), who is on to the machine that they’re making and tries to double-cross the gang. Hank, Hope, and Scott also encounter Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), a victim of a molecular accident that allows her to move between walls and teleport within seconds. All this while making sure they aren’t caught by the feds.
The movie has a lot going on, with a number of different characters and plots, but nothing get’s shorted. One of the best screenplays of all-time is Die Hard and the main reason why that screenplay is so renowned is because every scene and every beat in that movie matters. Every scene is an important piece to either the character arc or the story or the plot. That’s exactly how Ant-man and the Wasp is: every scene matters. Now I’m not saying Ant-man and the Wasp is one of the greatest screenplays ever, but at a runtime under two hours, it ties up every plot-line in the right way, gives us fully realized characters, sensational action sequences, and has a few emotional beats as well. From getting to the Quantum Realm, which is an awe-inspiring finale, to Scott’s relationship with Cassie to everything in between, everything is fleshed out and that’s due to the movie not wasting our time with pointless scenes.
The best part of Ant-man and the Wasp is how they deal with the Quantum Realm. The Quantum Realm is incredibly scientific and weird, dealing with molecules and the spacetime continuum and the science behind it all. It could get confusing, and does for some of the parts just based on the terminology of it all, but what makes it land is Scott Lang. We have to remember that Lang is the most blue collar superhero on this Avengers bunch. He isn’t a billionaire genius like Tony Stark, he doesn’t have actual powers like Captain America, he isn’t a Hulk, he isn’t an assassin like Hawkeye or Black Widow. Scott Lang is a crook. And not even a big, Danny Ocean-esque one. He robs houses, he’s done time in prison, he has a group of friends no mother would approve of, and yet he’s still a superhero and still in this chaos. So when Hank and Hope are spitting their science mumbo jumbo, the movie does a great job not dumbing it down, but letting Scott do the reacting for us,. This keeps the movie consistently smart, engaging, and fun.
Paul Rudd is rockstar as Lang. The quips are on point, the physicality is perfect, and the emotional notes are spot-on. If you asked me a decade ago if the guy from Knocked Up was going to be a great superhero, I would have laughed in your face. But Rudd really owns it. Working just as hard and kicking just as much ass next to him is Evangeline Lilly, who is easily the most fleshed out female character ever in an MCU movie (man, that’s sad). She’s smart, cool, badass, and has great rapport with Rudd. This is a dynamic duo I want to see far more of down the line.
The rest of the ensemble all bring their A-game. Michael Douglas actually acts for the first time in I don’t know how long. Michelle Pfeiffer is always a pleasant sight on screen. Walton Goggins is becoming one of my favorite working villains. Hannah John-Kamen gives a breakout turn as Ghost. Laurence Fishburn is reliably great as one of Hank’s old partners. And the three goons, David Dastmalchian, Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris, and Michael Peña are scene stealers, particularly Peña, who seriously deserves awards consideration for one of the great supporting performances of the year.
I was concerned how this movie would work in the wake of the events of Infinity War and all my worries immediately vanished after the first scene. Ant-Man and the Wasp is an absolute ball. It’s quick pace, great action, emotional beats, and stellar cast all make for one of the most enjoyable times I’ve had at the movies in 2018. This isn’t a cookie-cutter MCU sequel. This is one of their best sequels to date and makes this Ant-Man series one I am most excited to watch in the future.
Oh, and there are two post credit scenes, one mid-credits and one post. The mid-credit scene is incredible and one of the better ones Marvel has had recently. The post-credit scene is utterly useless and only there for a comedic beat. Fair warning: you don’t really need to see the second one. If you want to know what it is, ask in the comments below.
Did you see Ant-Man and the Wasp? What did you think? Comment below or hit me up on Twitter and Instagram, @kevflix, or on Facebook by searching Kevflix.