After the trauma that was Avengers: Infinity War, fans had to wait for the saga’s conclusion in Avengers: End Game. In the meantime, we were subjected to the chaos that was Ant-Man and the Wasp, with its gloriously uneven plot and odd character choices. Right out of the gate, the CGI de-aging of Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer set the tone what became a very bizarre Marvel entry, with moments of heart.
Paul Rudd returning in his titular role really was what held this movie together. Set after the events of Captain America: Civil War, seeing Scott Lang under house arrest was both sad and hilarious to see how he made use of the time. Rudd is a national and international treasure, and it’s always great to see him basically get to play himself for an entire movie. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Rudd’s character shines as a father in a franchise that is known for its mostly terrible or dead parents.
The chemistry between Rudd and co-star Evangeline Lilly was still odd. Even putting aside Lilly’s deplorable support of an armed occupation of Canada’s capital city, she’s difficult to watch in this movie. These two never had the romantic chemistry that Marvel insisted upon, and it would have been better had Marvel let Rudd stand on his own, which he’s so clearly capable of doing. Scott Lang had his own family that he’s worked so hard to reconnect with, so it’s a strange decision to give him another family for him to forcibly bond with.
The story itself was not an interesting one. Marvel has certainly been known to sacrifice plot and compelling storytelling in favor of massive action sequences and attractive actors. Unfortunately, Ant-Man and the Wasp couldn’t rise above, and gave us half-baked stories with confusing stakes. If the movie had focused more on the more human moments, such as Scott being a dad, it would have served the story better.
Ant-Man and the Wasp was another continuation of Marvel’s very clear villain problem. This movie could very well have the distinction of having the most baffling villains to date in the MCU. Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) could have had a satisfying redemption arc, which was perfectly set up. It was never realized, however, and ultimately ended flat with her literally disappearing in an alley. Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) made absolutely no impact whatsoever, and would have been better regulated strictly to comedy if needed at all, which his character was not.
What this show needed more of was Scott’s team of misfit heroes and Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park). Park got another chance to shine in WandaVision, and proved that he absolutely deserves a movie or a series of his own. Michael Peña, T.I., and David Dastmalchian make up such a dynamic trio. It was a smart decision to have these ex-criminals trying to live a lawful life by starting their own business-the hilarity that ensued was worth it.
Ant-Man and the Wasp was a disappointment on so many levels. It strayed from what made the original so endearing, which was about a man trying to do right by his daughter. It is also true that this movie was more reviled in its own time than it maybe should have been, since it was one of two entries that came between fans and Avengers: Endgame. Whatever the case, Marvel has one more chance to satisfactorily wrap up the story of Scott Lang, a man with a past as a petty criminal, who is just trying to do better everyday for his daughter.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is available to stream on Disney+.