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Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp – “Twice the Heroes, Twice the Fun”

Marvel has — by and large — done a good job of avoiding the typical drop-off that comes with sequels to blockbuster films. Sure, Thor 2 and Iron Man 2 stand out as the weak points in their respective series, but they aren’t exactly terrible films. Both franchises bounced back with their third instalments, too. The Captain America and Avengers films have been rock solid throughout each entry, with some of the sequels even improving on their predecessors (Captain America: The Winter Soldier comes to mind.)

And so we come to Ant-Man and The Wasp, the sequel to a film that is as well loved by audiences as it is lightweight in terms of its impact on the Marvel Universe. That’s not a criticism; in fact, if anything it’s a compliment. I like the fact that the Ant-Man films are about stakes other than saving the world. We have The Avengers movies for that.

In this film, we follow Scott Lang (Ant-Man), Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), and Evangeline Lilly’s Hope Pym (who takes on the mantle of The Wasp), who reunite after a couple of years of estrangement thanks to Scott’s involvement in the events of Civil War. They’ve got a clue to the whereabouts of Janet Van Dyne (the original Wasp and Hank’s wife) who’s been lost in the quantum realm for some 20 years or so. There are no world-ending stakes here; simply a rescue mission that’s in danger of being thwarted by the FBI, a new villain called The Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), and a mobster who wants to get his hands on Pym’s technology.

The film works, and it works extremely well. The story is solid enough to drive the action, but it’s the characters, the script, and the action sequences that make it shine. All of the supporting characters return from the original film, including Scott’s daughter Cassie, Michael Pena’s scene-stealing Luis, and Bobby Cannavale, whose suspicious cop character has taken on a fun new turn. There are laughs aplenty, largely due to Paul Rudd, who remains the perfect person to play this role. The visual effects are once again top notch, and several of the action scenes that feature rapid shrinking and growing are really quite fantastic.

Throughout the whole film, even with some moments of real drama, the overarching mood and tone is FUN. This is a fun film, and you’ll watch it with a smile on your face the entire time, which makes it a nice palate cleanser after the heavy events of Avengers: Infinity War.

Oh, and just wait until you see that post-credits scene; it’s a doozy and it’s one of my favorite scenes in the movie. (Technically, there are two: the main one is right after the animated credit sequence ends and it’s essential viewing. There’s a much shorter scene at the very end of the full credits, but it’s short and a throwaway and you’re not missing anything if you skip it.)

I love the original Ant-Man film, and I love Ant-Man and The Wasp every bit as much. Make the trip to theaters to see it; you won’t be disappointed.

Ant-Man and The Wasp is currently out in the US. It opens in the UK on 3rd August 2018.

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