It’s become a double-edged sword of sorts in regard to the Marvel films. On one hand, Kevin Feige and his team have crafted a level of story-telling in their films that rival the comic pages these stories originated on in the first place. But on the other hand, pretty much now till the end of time, every Marvel film released will be judged against these first few phases of films. And there is also an unfortunate pattern that the second solo film of a character doesn’t quite nail what the first one did. I’m talking to you “Iron Man 2”, “Thor 2”, and “Avengers 2”, however we still get a some that exceeded expectation such as “Guardians Vol. 2” and “Winter Soldier”. So all that being said “Ant-Man and the Wasp” had a lot to live up to and a lot of unfair baggage, but this is the business/universe Marvel has chosen.
Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and his family are still feeling the fall-out of “Civil War” where he joined Captain America and his team to fight Team Iron Man. Now he is under house arrest and his associates Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) are on the run, since they created the tech that gives him the ability to shrink to ant size or to grow to the 65 ft. Giant-Man. With just days away from being able to leave the house, spend time with his daughter and continue his newly formed company with his ‘security business’ partners Luis (Michael Peña), Dave (T.I.) and Kurt (David Dastmalchian) Scott begins to have visions of his time in the Quantum Realm. Thinking that this may be the key to helping Hank and Hope find their wife/mother Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) who was lost there years ago, they sneak Scott out of his house arrest in order to get what’s in his head. But there is also in the mix is a mysterious figure known as Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) who has incredible powers that are linked to Hank Pym’s past.
The biggest difference between this film and the first “Ant-Man” is that director Peyton Reed, no longer confined by the weight of losing Edgar Wright as director/writer of the that film gets to play freely in the world that was created. And more importantly he allows Rudd be Rudd. With a co-writing credit which is probably attributed to his form of ad-libbing and the amount of reactions Scott has to the world and characters around him, this is what I was hoping for the first go-round. Rudd is hilarious when you let him just go, it makes for great humor in the silly comic-booky world he inhabits as he never knows what’s going on and has zero idea how the tech that powers him even works. Unfortunately we only get to see Michael Peña use his super power of story-telling only once, but it is as brilliant as it was in the last film. The action is solid and though you get most of the best beats in the trailers that were released, the key here is how it fits into the larger piece of the whole of the Marvel Universe. Coming on the heels of the dour ending of “Infinity War” the decision was made to go to the polar opposite in which instead of saving the universe, in “Ant-Man and the Wasp” the whole film is about saving one person, and the rest is the stuff that gets in the way. It’s refreshing and it does work for the most part, though I’m not sure how it will hold up on repeat viewings. Still this is a fine entry into the Marvel franchise and fortunately fits into the category of better second films of it’s series. And as any good Marvel film can do it leaves you wanting more and more, no matter the size.