(During quarantine my girlfriend and I are going through the Marvel movies chronologically. Surprisingly, she is really enjoying them, maybe even more than me. We are already a couple down and I’m gunna do write-ups for all of ‘em, the good and the bad.)
This is a messy movie, but surprisingly for a movie about going in to the quantum realm, that isn’t what I’m talking about. In fact, that part of the film is completely logical based on what we know about the quantum realm. What I’m talking about is everything surrounding that; the villains, the tertiary characters, and what kind of movie Ant-Man And The Wasp is trying to be.
In all honesty, the movie didn’t really need a villain. The film would have been a lot more interesting if they omitted the bad guy and focused more on the feds trying to track down Ant-Man and his crew on their adventure of trying to get to the quantum realm. The villains just don’t work; Walton Goggins playing to type as a Southern scumbag falls flat, and Ghost doesn’t work because she’s the main antagonist of the movie but acts more like a henchman as she just appears to fight every 30 minutes.
The reason why I think the first one is so great because it wasn’t following the end-of-the-world stakes trend that had become tired. It was low level and the stakes were arguably more intense because Scott Lang’s family, especially his daughter, were under threat, but now there isn’t really any kind of threat at all. There isn’t any kind of relationship between the heroes and the villains, they are kind of detached from one another, and nobody is in harm’s way, meaning there are literally no stakes.
With this sequel, Ant-Man changes to all possible kinds of sizes you can think of; Ant-size, giant-size, toddler-size, big enough to use a flat bed truck as a skateboard. This was much more of a Honey I Shrunk The Kids type comedy than the first, and I have absolutely no problem with that. It was a ton of fun, and expanding what shrinks and enlarges, such as vehicles and giant buildings that shrink down to suitcase level, is exactly what I wanted from the sequel. And though it’s totally the same tricks as we saw in Ant-Man, like enlarging an iconic child’s toy to the size of a house, that’s not a bad thing. It’s like the second Strokes album.
The San Francisco setting is really taken advantage of in Ant-Man And The Wasp, and with it being my favourite city in the world, I couldn’t have loved it more. The setting of San Fran and it’s picturesque vistas and huge hills have a massive role in this one much more than the predecessor. What’s more is, they have never had to rely on the Golden Gate Bridge once in the series like so many other movies do. I think I might have seen the bridge once far in the background in the first Ant-Man. I will bet right now that the huge climax in the third one takes place on the bridge. It’s gotta.
The supporting cast is great too. Michael Pena is fun as always, Michael Douglas is perfect as Hank Pym, and MCU newcomer Randall Park as FBI agent Jimmy Woo, plays off Paul Rudd so well. It seems like they’re improvising in some scenes and it’s hilarious, though totally doesn’t really make any sense why an FBI agent would be desperate to hang out with a convict as friends 🤷♂️
One great executive decision that was made was to give David Dastmalchian and T.I. more of a backseat in the movie. In Ant-Man, they were completely needless and seemed to only be cast so the producers could make that claim that the first movie had all these heist movie tropes. There’s nothing for the characters to do here and when they do show up I don’t understand why. With Pena’s character, It’s like having three comic relief characters. Imagine if there were three Donkeys in Shrek, or three Happys in Iron Man. Literally the only difference between Michael Pena’s character, T.I.’s character, and Datmalchian’s character is their ethnicities.
Now, I hate to criticise the director, especially when the movie is actually really good, but Payton Reed isn’t the most skilful overseer. He is totally serviceable but he doesn’t have any flare. However, that’s probably what makes these movies so innocent and why I love them. It’s just that Reed has no sense of space in the scenes and he can’t do introductions, like, villains just walk in to a scene from nowhere.
I know I love this movie a lot more than other people, but I understand if people think it’s a mid-level entry to the franchise. Though I really enjoyed this film and I think it is in the top half of these movies if we were to rank them, they need to do something really different with Ant-Man 3.
Oh, also, the movie has the best mid credits scene in the MCU.