As Marvel Studios celebrates 10 years of superhero domination at the box office, and begins tackling darker material, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a fitting reminder of the studio’s humble beginnings. Much like the original Iron Man film, although not quite reaching that film’s height, Peyton Reed’s film is a breezy entertaining ride.
Still under house arrest for illegally helping Captain America, during the events of Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is doing his best to stay out of trouble for the final three days of his sentence. However, this is easier said than done when he gets a mysterious vision of Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), the wife of Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and mother of Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), who has been trapped in the sub-atomic quantum realm for over thirty years. Teaming up with his former allies, who are still sore about him playing hero in Pym’s Ant-Man suit without their consultation, the trio devises a rescue mission to bring Janet home.
Complicating their mission is a black market tech dealer named Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) and a masked woman, Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), with the ability to phase through objects who each want to get their hands on Pym’s technology.
Gleefully ramping up the size shifting action sequences even more than its predecessor, there is plenty of excitement and humour to go around. The film may not be as thought-provoking as Black Panther or as darkly cluttered as Avengers: Infinity War, but the film serves as a nice change of pace from the heavier Marvel Cinematic Universe films of late. Many of the familiar tropes such as the sins of the father and underdeveloped villains are all present.
In terms of the latter, it would have been nice to see much more of Ghost than we do. Not since Unbreakable have we seen a villain with a disability, in this case chronic pain, portrayed in such an intriguing way. Frankly, Ghost and the Wasp are the most engaging characters in the film, especially when you factor in the memorable action sequences they are each involved in.
The mid-credit teaser reminds viewers that Thanos’ darkness still hovers on the outskirts of the film, but for a few brief hours Ant-Man and the Wasp serves as a nice palette cleanser. A nod to a time when the Marvel Cinematic Universe just wanted to have fun.