Ant-Man and the Wasp Review

After space aliens, magic, and time travel were introduced in Marvel’s ‘universe,’ it’s Ant-Man and the Wasp that feels the most ridiculous. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) asks, “Do you just put ‘quantum’ in front of everything?,” chastising scientists who blabber on about their discoveries. It’s a valid question. Everything in this movie is quantum something.

The journey here is partly to defeat an empathetic villain. Mostly though, Ant-Man and the Wasp deals with falling into the quantum realm (see?) to find the missing mother of Wasp (Evangeline Lilly). Doing so means abusing the shrinking and enlarging powers of the previous Ant-Man film (and his subsequent appearance). That means copious visual effects and a frantic third act chase through San Francisco that gives Ant-Man and the Wasp some needed energy.

As Marvel’s 20th outing, this snappy story exists as a small sidebar

This sequel doesn’t have the full vibrancy of the original. The villain is better, dying from a curse of quantum mechanics and seeking any option to survive. Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) is a more narratively rich edition to Marvel’s rogues gallery, and her impact on the story is greater. Possibly, too, a continuing threat rather than a one-off. At least something in Ant-Man and Wasp carries consequences to the wider arc.

Short of a post-credits cookie, only snippets of Ant-Man and the Wasp carry greater thematic weight. As Marvel’s 20th outing, this snappy story exists as a small sidebar. Certainly, The Avengers don’t need called for what amounts to a personal conflict, letting minor characters like Michael Pena’s speed-talking Luis take part in the heroism.

Still, Pena isn’t here enough. Ant-Man and the Wasp pushes away from the comedic energy with which Marvel imbues their films. It’s silly; that’s what movie science is for. Gags fall less from the mouths of characters than visuals. Snazzy cinematography and visual effects keep the kineticism high without a loss of direction; a small Ant-Man vehicle is just as visible as a full sized one when on the same screen.

Entire buildings can now be shrunken through in-movie technology. They sprout up on call in the middle of forests or the California coast. Where they draw their power or plumbing isn’t explained. Must be quantums. Gleefully though, Ant-Man and the Wasp carries a level of whimsy allowing those quirks to pass without critique. People shrink, belittle time, fly, suffer giganticism, battle microbes, and other visually adaptive stuff. That’s creative, a testament to well considered sequels, giving something new without eroding the old.

That’s all just fine. Ant-Man and the Wasp is just fine. Maybe forgettable, but with a short lasting spark that makes the big screen a worthy quantum companion.