Ant-Man and the Wasp is just another perfect base hit from the, seemingly, unstoppable Marvel Studios. In fact, it is the greatest sequel to Deadpool ever made. The first 10 minutes alone felt like a zany screwball comedy. Each Marvel film has beautifully crafted its own identity, and this film is appropriately the most family friendly film in the series. It’s appropriate because it is a film about family. It’s been 10 years, and Marvel has really honed its craft, and by that I mean witchcraft, because somehow it keeps delivering hits.
This movie is eerily similar to Deadpool 2. The film is centered around the titular hero and his journey to discover what is most important, and in both films it is family. A sidekick is introduced (yes Hope was a major character in the Ant-Man, but now she is the Wasp), their character is played completely straight, and the plot revolves around the new sidekick and their personal goal. Even the villain is just a physical obstacle for the hero, rather than the standard good guy fights evil version of good guy. Also, the lead has a minority sidekick that is used for wacky antics. Although I firmly believe that this is all coincidental, the films are tonal, character wise, and plot wise very much the same. I don’t dislike that both films are similar, but I can’t ignore it. Unfortunately for Deadpool 2 (even though I enjoyed DP2) Ant-Man and The Wasp did it all better with tighter scenes, better visuals, and better jokes. Ant-Man and The Wasp is more family friendly, but it also has a much clearer and satisfying message.
This is a comedy film. The first Ant-Man was an action film, with a Mission Impossible plot, but it had little moments of fun, light-hearted humor. This entry brings the wackiness up to 10. Scott is even more silly, Luis and crew do not have a moment that isn’t played for yucks, and the dramatic moments are still interjected with jokes, usually playing on Scott’s naïveté. While Luis and his crew are relegated to the background, a new comedy character has been introduced in the form of FBI agent Wu, who acts as Scott’s parole officer, or something. He has essentially replaced Luis as the goofy character, who treats his job more serious than the audience perceives it. Agent Wu (played by Randall Park) is one of the best characters in the film. His delivery is so perfect, and his humor is elevated by a dedicated performance. I actually want to see more of his character in future MCU endeavors.
Here is the plot: Scott had a vision of Janet Van Dyne, and Hank and Hope have a theory about how to rescue her from the quantum realm. Instead of break into the place and steal something, it’s travel to the place and rescue someone. Thematically, it is the same idea as the first film, and it is anchored down by the love of family. Obviously, Hope and Hank with Janet, and Scott with Cassie, but also Hope. Scott does share a connection with Hank, but mostly a romantic connection to Hope, and it is only trumped by his love for his daughter, who is really great. Ever since the Phantom Menace, I have always dreaded children in films, but Scott’s daughter is so adorable and hilarious. She is his number one priority, and she is the one that gives him the okay to go on adventures. It is refreshing to see a big Hollywood movie that puts the emphasis back on the strength of family and sees them together and happy in the end.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is the 2nd best and 2nd worst Marvel Studios effort to come out this year. It expands the balloon of the Ant-Man world by building off the characteristics of the main characters, just like Deadpool 2, but it works near perfectly this time. The series finds its footing as a full on comedy with a few dramatic elements to keep the stakes up. It mostly gets by with fun jokes that feel character appropriate, aren’t embarrassingly stupid, or pay off later in the film. Where Guardians is mostly about creating a surrogate family out of your closest friends, this is actually about the lengths that you should go to to keep your family safe or together. I do find the original Ant-Man a fun summer action film, but this is a superior sequel with excellent visuals, a very cool antagonist, strong morals, and it ranks among the stronger entries in the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe.