“More of the same.”


These are all phrases I’d use to describe Ant-Man and the Wasp. But, before you click away, allow me to explain…

After watching the original Ant-Man from 2015 just recently, I was excited for the sequel. As I said in that review, I wanted to see if the filmmakers could “do it again”—deliver that same aesthetic and contained vision. From the trailers, it looked to offer similar chucks, action, and fill the same role within the MCU—and that is…none at all. Sure, the first film had Hydra involved in the plot, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s undermining a background factor that was more fleshed-out in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but as far as affecting the ongoing arc of the MCU…it really didn’t. It was of the same caliber as Spider-Man: Homecoming, or Black Panther; outside of its own plot, nothing in the world was really shaken by the events that took place. Here, with the sequel, that goes doubly…all up until the end.

Now, I loved Ant-Man and the Wasp. I didn’t see Edgar Wright’s name attached this time, but it had that same feel that I raved about in my Rewind Review of the first film—as well as similar sequences, like Louise (Michael Peña)’s fast-talking recall. The action, CGI, and pseudo-science aspects are all great—take what I enjoyed about the first, and expounded upon all of it. The same cast is back—including fan favorites from the first (obvious from the trailers), and all to great effect. The humor is a bit much, at times—distracting, even—but getting past that, it’s a well-made, stand-alone installment, and marks its place as…twentieth?…chapter in the ongoing MCU storyline; a great place to stop, absorb, contemplate what’s happened…and see how the next picture picks up the pieces of Infinity War’s devastating climax.

Semi-related tangent time…

Compelling antagonist and anti-hero characters are the bread-and-butter of well-defined conflict in a narrative; Thanos in Infinity War, Walton Goggins’s Mathias in Tomb Raider (2018), the late Patrick Swayze’s Bodhi in Point Break—arguably, they are all the protagonists of their own stories, the types of “bad guys” every writer aspires to write. Unless their motive is outright stated as terror-related or “I wanna kill a bunch of people, just ‘cause (mwua-ha-ha-ha),” then there’s something more to that character: Thanos had the “greater good” in mind, wishing only for the universe to survive, even if sentient life had to be culled (though his M.O. is questionable, at best…); Mathias was, more or less, being held at gunpoint by Trinity, with seeing his family again the carrot-bait to get him to do what they wanted; Bodhi says flat-out in Point Break—directly to Johnny Utah—that it’s about the thrill, doing wat others dream about, but rarely ever go out and do. None of these folks want to hurt others (again, barring—maybe—Thanos), it’s just an unfortunate byproduct on the way to their end goal.

“The end justifies the means.”

The same can be said for the antagonist of this film. Hannah John-Kamen (Ready Player One, Killjoys) as Ghost made me happy. I’m glad Marvel is changing up their formula with “villain” characters—a trend I hope the rest of the industry takes on. She’s unwell and only looking to get better, to be normal again. That the Ant-Family’s ends clash with her own are incidental, at best; seen from Ghost’s perspective, Ant-Man, Pym, and the others are the antagonists in her story. She’s sympathetic. Very well-done—cunning, clearly intelligent and savvy with the curse she’s been burdened with, but charismatic. I really hope to see more of her, in the MCU’s near-future. She’s got chops, as an actress—welcome, after she was (retrospectively) under-used, in Ready Player One.

The Ant-Man theme—one of the most identifiable, I feel, in the whole MCU—is re-used throughout, bringing that heightened intensity to scenes where it’s present. The film, itself, has the potential for great, dynamic presence, going forward; no spoilers—of course—but the cat-and-mouse plot of this film is just the beginning. So much happens after the oh-so-visually-appealing, miniature end-credits that…I’m still kind of shook, to use the parlance of our time. Truly heartfelt moments pervade the latter-scenes of the film, and I’ll leave it at that—things I hoped (and feared) would happen, coming off of the first film.

Samey—serious, but silly—Ant-Man and the Wasp gets a ****/* final ‘Risk Assessment. Looking forward to more Ant-Man & Friends—including delving deeper into the Quantum Realm—with next year’s highly-anticipated slate of MCU films.