RELEASED: July 6th 2018
DIRECTED BY: Peyton Reed
WRITTEN BY: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari & Paul Rudd
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige & Stephen Broussard
MUSIC BY: Christophe Beck
STARRING: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortsen, Randall Park, Laurence Fishburne & Michelle Pfieffer
Hilarious. Innovative. Exciting. These are words I would expect to be using to describe an Ant-Man sequel free of the constraints laid upon it by a change of director a long way into the development process, and an Ant-Man sequel coming eight films later in the monumental Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Unfortunately, the reality is that a lot of this film is flat, disjointed and oft times only mildly amusing.
Ant-Man and the Wasp picks up two years after the events of Captain America: Civil War, with Scott having spent that time under house arrest; now only days away from being a free man. Meanwhile, Hank Pym and Hope van Dyne are on the run due to Scott’s actions, but are trying to find a way to reach the Quantum Realm to retrieve Hank’s previously lost wife, Janet. When it appears that Janet has formed some sort of psychic link with Scott due to his own trip to the Quantum Realm, Ant-Man must potentially jeopardise his prospect of freedom to help save Janet and stop any outside forces standing in their way.
Just trying to think of the best way to provide a summary reminds me of the moment in the cinema when it clicked what the exact problem with this film is. There are too many writers. And while you could argue that the previous Ant-Man also had four writers involved; one was the star, one was the former director, and one was comedy genius Adam McKay, who unfortunately seems to be absent from this film.
And furthermore, that disjointed nature of the writing seems even more blatant due to the fact that the film is very weirdly edited. Lines of dialogue seem to have had bits cut out of them in a way that makes it look like the editors were going for the least humorous take. Important lines seem like they’ve been trimmed in odd ways, and yet somehow the villain gets to recite what feels like a five minute monologue to the captured heroes about her origins, her plans, etc. How? How did that make it in to the movie?
Maybe I’m being too harsh, because there are good bits as well.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is passable, but for the most part just seems like a missed opportunity. There are moments however, when some of the cast (Paul Rudd) make some generally funny moments out of what they’ve been given. There’s a riff at the end between him and Randall Park, for instance, that is particularly funny.
Furthermore, the size-changing action is pretty fun. I’d say more about it, but it was pretty much all in the trailer so while it was fun, it wasn’t nearly as surprising as it should be. I know I’m meant to be in the positive part of the review here, but really, that reminds me of another negative: the marketing.
That’s not me saying that the marketing was bad – it wasn’t. But the fact that the trailers contained pretty much all the good bits of the movie is telling. Nothing was surprising. Nothing at all.
There were some good performances though, so that’s something. Rudd, Lily, Douglas and Fishburne all bring the skill you’d expect from actors of their caliber. Hannah John-Kamen makes a dazzling, threatening show out of what she’s been given in the role of the villainous Ghost. And a surprise hit for me was Abby Ryder Forston, who plays Cassie Lang, who provided her own batch of humorous and heartwarming moments. Usually I can’t stand child actors, but I’ll be interested to see where she goes from here.
The special effects are also pretty good. Like Doctor Strange and Ant-Man before it, when this film breaches other dimensions, we’re treated to a wonderfully trippy and beautifully rendered ride.
Not going to lie, I am struggling to think of more positives. I’d need to watch the film again, but as it stands, I thought it was fine, but towards the lower end of a Marvel film ranking, which is unfortunate.
All-in-all, I give it:
Which I feel is me being generous, but at the same time, I think this is a film that would benefit from repeat viewings, so I’m not going to jump the gun and give it two stars straight out of the gate.