I think it is fair to say that Ant-man & The Wasp is the most inconsequential Marvel movie for some time. No new superheroes are introduced, no new approaches to the genre are taken, there is little impact on the other MCU films, there are no big or deep themes to discuss. It is the first MCU film to have the name of a female Avenger in the title but that’s about it.
But it is a fun, often silly film. Comical in a more low-key way than Thor: Ragnarok or Guardians of the Galaxy, the film knows that it is silly and embraces that. Often childish in a good way, it takes delight in the core premise that sometimes things can be very small and sometimes very big, turning cars into toy cars and vice-versa. It never quite manages the genius of the first film’s Thomas the Tank Engine train fight sequence but there is a genuine sense of fun in the Hot-Wheels like vehicle or the appearance of a giant Hello Kitty Pez-dispenser. The trailer has already shown the somewhat surreal office building that has a collapsible handle and trundle wheels as a luggage item for Michael Douglas’s Hank Pym.
Set after Captain America: Civil War and immediately before Infinity War, Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang is under house arrest but busy building a business with Luis (Michael Pena). Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) are in hiding to escape the Segovia Accords. Lang’s previous foray into the ‘quantum realm’ has given them new hope that it might be possible to find and rescue Pym’s wife Janet Van Dyne (aka The Wasp) who disappeared into the quantum realm many years ago.
The FBI, a shady dealer in illegal technology and a mysterious figure who can phase in and out of existence are all out to make life more complex for the heroes in various ways. Filling out the cast is Laurence Fishburne as a former SHIELD scientist and Hannah John-Kamen (from ‘Killjoys’) who is an interestingly ambiguous antagonist.
Overall a better plot than the first Ant-man movie, it makes good use of the whole ensemble of characters. The truth-serum joke is the funniest but a giant ant taking a bath is a wonderfully surreal image.
A cameo from some tardigrades will make tardigrade fans happy.
A film with tiny ambitions and a big heart.