Well it took it’s time getting released in the UK, and as a reviewer, it’s been a struggle to avoid spoilers and trailers so I could present a cold reading of Ant-Man and the Wasp. After a first viewing, I’m afraid the whole affair was just a bit too vanilla for me. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s the film after Infinity War, and that was always going to be a hard act to follow, but despite hitting all the notes structure wise, I left the cinema feeling slightly empty.
Perhaps I expected too much, as there are some nice set pieces here and Paul Rudd as Ant-Man is solid and entertaining, but it all just felt redundant and frothy. Rudd is under house arrest after his involvement in Civil War, and is nearing the end of his sentence when a vision of Janet Van Dyne, trapped forever in the Quantum Realm that he has visited causing a “quantum entanglement”, sets into motion a series of events that has him return as Ant man, teaming up with Hank Pym’s daughter Hope, to complete a tunnel that will lead them to Janet.
Meanwhile phasing super villain The Ghost is also on the case, and a black market boss Sonny Burch sees the potential in the machine and also wants in on the action. Bill Foster, ex partner to Pym, is also on hand to name drop SHIELD and further muddy the waters. The various factions engage in trying to outwit each other, hoping to get their hands on the “quantum tunnel” in a series of fight scenes and car chases, while the ineffectual FBI try to shut it all down.
Now by it’s own admission, this is a much lighter caper than most other marvel films, and it’s nice to see some good wholesome family entertainment out there. It is definitely the most Disney of the Marvel movies, and has none of the darkness of previous outings. The humor is well placed, and there are some moments that will have you smiling, a truth serum montage is particularly well crafted, but for me the whole package was like an episode of a CW show, but with a bigger budget.
There’s really nothing to dislike here, but in the same breath, there’s nothing that would have me return for a second view. Perhaps in the wake of Infinity War, it wouldn’t have mattered what was released. I get the feeling that Marvel fans everywhere are really just treading water till we get to the conclusion of that particular journey.
Effects wise, we get plenty of action using the shrinking and enlarging powers of the leads, and that’s quite entertaining and lends a uniqueness to the action sequences, however I did get a little bored with Ant-Man’s suit never really working properly, and some moments when the internal logic of the premise made me dis-engaged. When Ant Man is really big and talks, would his voice not be a like a sonic boom for those around him, and when he’s flying on the back of an ant, would he really be able to cover the ground so quickly?
Nit picking aside, I guess this was a light departure from the darker elements of the MCU that as a stand alone movie would pass a Saturday afternoon with the kids. In the long term though, I worry about the future of the Marvel film franchise, after Infinity War 2 appears. If everything so far has been building to this, then what happens afterwards? Can you really imagine another 10 year arc being as successful, or will we see more light fluff like Ant man and The wasp ?
I’m sure it’s a question Marvel producers will be thinking long and hard about, and it would be a terrible shame if the beginning of a downwards trend begins here. There’s a lot hanging on Infinity War 2. Marvel know it too, and for confirmation hang around for the mid end credits sequence, but honestly don’t waste your time waiting for the end of credits clip, like the film before it, it’s funny but is ultimately slightly disappointing.