It seems that people expect a familiar experience from their Marvel movies, and the one thing that is so great about the MCU is that they won’t deliver the same cookie cutter movie every time.
With the Captain America movies, it was espionage movies with superheroes. Thor was high fantasy with superheroes. Iron Man was pure action adventure, Guardians of the Galaxy offered sci-fi and Doctor Strange offered close to a horror movie with superheroes.
The first Ant-Man was a caper flick with a lot of comedy and Ant-Man and the Wasp kept that up with what amounted to a buddy cop-style comedy, the humor remaining high and the leads on target for what Marvel needed right now.
See, when Avengers: Infinity War ended, movie audiences were shell-shocked — many of their favorite heroes dead and the villain winning at the end. It was like The Empire Strikes Back but without the sliver of hope that Star Wars movie offered.
As a result, Ant-Man and the Wasp was the perfect follow-up — a feel-good story with some really fun moments.
When the movie starts, Scott Lang is under house arrest for taking Captain America’s side in Captain America: Civil War. He hasn’t seen Hank Pym or Hope since he used their suit to fight Iron Man and his allies.
This is because they are on the run from the FBI since it was their tech that Scott used to “commit his crime.” They hate him, Scott hates himself for always hurting those around him, and he is just waiting for his in-house arrest to end so he can take his daughter out for a fun time again.
With only days remaining, it is clear something bad is about to happen. However, it was something good — in a way. Hank’s wife — Janet Van Dyne, the original Wasp — contact Scott in his mind after making a connection in the Quantum Realm in the first movie.
When Scott calls and leaves a message for Hank, Hope shows up and abducts him from his home — putting him in danger of a 20-year prison sentence. See, Hank and Hope have built a device that will help them enter the Quantum Realm and pull them back out because Hank believes that Jan is still alive.
With Scott connected to Jan, he can help guide them there like a beacon signal.
The problem is that there is a new villain known as The Ghost who wants Hank’s designs for herself and a black market dealer known as Sonny Burch who wants it as well.
Paul Rudd is still great as Scott Lang, the hapless hero who just wants to do what is right for his loved ones. Evangeline Lilly is just fantastic as Hope and even better as The Wasp. She might be right up there with Black Widow as the best butt-kicking female hero in Marvel right now.
The villain continues Marvel’s recent string of success at creating a sympathetic villain who is not all bad and audiences may end up quietly rooting for her at points, even when she is going over the line. Add in a great performance by Walton Goggins as Sonny Burch, and the cast is great from top to bottom.
This is also a feel-good movie. After the downer that ended Avengers: Infinity War, a movie about a man (Hank Pym) trying to find and save the woman that he loves (Janet Van Dyne) was great timing. The movie also took great liberties to make sure that even the villain was redeemed somewhat at the end.
Peyton Reed is now 2-for-2 with Ant-Man movies and it looks like the characters might play a strong role in Avengers 4 — despite one of the post-credit scenes raining on the parade somewhat.
At the end of the day, Marvel is firing on all cylinders when it comes to putting out quality movies in all genres and never falling into a rut of just putting out superhero movies in general. Ant-Man and the Wasp might be the most kindhearted superhero movie yet for the MCU.