The first Antman was an enjoyable, smaller (pun intended) story in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that did a great job introducing the character without really amazing much beyond its clever visuals. This sequel has the unenviable job of trying to follow up on the epic Avengers Infinity War. Could this film avoid the feeling of being an undercard to the next part of the Infinity War story?
I have to say going into the film I was struggling to really feel excited for this one, whilst I was intrigued to see what Antman was doing during the avengers, I was not sure a film away from that main story would engage me enough to keep me in the film. I needn’t have worried, Marvel are masters of setting up a film fast and keeping you on your toes. This can be felt if you go back and watch superhero movies from the early 2000s, they feel slow and drag along compared to the fun filled action films that the MCU is now known for.
This film once again is a much smaller story than previously, and although it may end up having major ramifications in the wider MCU storyline, this film never tries too hard to connect itself to the other films. It has its story, an interesting one at that, and its focused on telling it. The antagonist’s in the film are there more as obstacles for our hero’s plans than the normal “Hero is here to stop the villain” plot we’ve grown used to. This time round Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope Pym (Evangeline Lilly) work together much more, as to be expected from the title of the movie, and for me Hope Pym/Wasp steals the show.
Evangeline Lilly is absolutely awesome as the Wasp, and cements herself as a powerhouse superhero in this universe. She has an interesting journey in the film, and I really enjoyed the chemistry between her, Wasp’s Father Michael Douglas and Paul Rudd’s Antman. The pair are proving themselves to be one of the more believable romances in the MCU. As for the man who never ages, Paul Rudd, he is excellent in this role, his mix of charm and perfect comedic timing adding that layer of humour to what would be an otherwise run of the mill superhero flick.
Michael Douglas returns as Hank Pym, doing more of the same solid work we have seen before. Michael Pena, T.I and David Dastmalchain as Scott Langs business partners are hilarious, and despite being used quite sparingly they stand out with their comedy moments. Walton Goggins comes in being very Walton Goggins-y, playing a character who I felt like I knew straight away, as I have seen this type of thing from him before. I didn’t dislike him at all, but it was exactly what I expected years ago when he was cast in the film. Randall Park plays the policeman charged with keeping tabs on Paul Rudd whilst he is under house arrest, and I found him to be a bit jarring. Park’s character feels like he doesn’t quite fit into the world with everyone else, and his supposedly funny moments fell flat to me.
Ghost, played by Hannah John-Kamen, is an interesting antagonist in that, as mentioned earlier, she isn’t an evil threat our villains have to stop. Her story is personal, and its collision course with our heroes is more through bad timing. I did feel that every action scene with her, whilst looking stunning, could have been avoided with a simple conversation. Speaking of the action scenes, for me they go above and beyond what we saw from the first Antman and use the shrinking/expanding technology in unique and at times funny ways. Ghost’s powers up against Wasp and Antman make for some great hand to hand combat, and one scene in the hotel involving Wasp is up there with my favourite action scenes in the entire MCU.
Antman and the Wasp delivers more of the jokes and clever action we got in the first one, but doesn’t have the novelty the first had with the stunning visuals. They still look just as great as before, but we’ve seen them a few times now so they don’t lend as much to the film as the first time round. I liked the majority of the comedy, and the action is great fun. My point about some of the action scenes being avoidable if they just have a conversation did weigh on my mind throughout the film, and I would have been intrigued to see them approach the Ghost character in that way. I think there was enough drama to be created from Walton Goggins characters involvement to give us enough action to satisfy the superhero movie audience.
Good: Rudd and Lilly are great to watch, some genuinely laugh out loud moments (the entire school scene had me holding my stomach laughing) and great action. absolutely awesome mid-credit scene. Ghost’s outfit is great.
Bad: Some unfunny characters don’t fit in the film, and struggled to believe the motivation for the main antagonist to fight rather than just talk.
7/10 – Another day, another solid MCU film