Ant-Man & the Wasp (Spoiler Free)

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There’s almost too much to say about the MCU these days, and having been a fan since they uncaged the first Iron Man film, I still manage to go into each new installment with a whole new level of anticipation.

I remember the earliest rumblings of an Ant-Man film, long before Cap or Thor ever hit the I screen, and at the time, I had nearly zero interest. Sure, Iron Man was great and I had nothing against ol’ Hank Pym, but as a movie, it just seemed impossible. Fast forward to just moments before I saw the first Ant-Man film, and I was reeling with anticipation for it because of what Marvel has prepared me for and had no doubt that it would, at the very least, be an entertaining time.  While it may not be one of Marvels Crown Jewels, it still managed to exceed any expectations that I had and Ant-Man & the Wasp was no different.

Civil War took Ant-Man to a whole new place for me. Seeing a character whose story had been so personal come together and join the bigger team with the level of heart that only a small scale hero can, was was truly gratifying. I wanted more, but ultimately was satisfied that they brought him back into his world going into Ant-Man & the Wasp.

Yet again, as with the first Ant-Man, we get a story that’s well grounded within the framework of the universe, but manages to stand alone as a small scale “race against time” film. The stakes are small and personal, exactly the way they should be, especially after having just come off the heels of Infinity War. However, it’s not so inconsequential to the point of making itself irrelevant to the greater MCU.

The characters are familiar and their journeys don’t exactly tread a lot of new ground, but the development within their journies is where the fun really lies. Watching characters learn to accept one another despite many of their personal shortcomings is both gratifying and at times extremely heart warming. The more time that passes, the more they become the reluctant family and it’s very sweet.

Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang (Ant-Man) and Evangeline Lilly’s Hope Van Dyne’s (the Wasp) relationship feels as though it’s given time to grow instead of being force rushed into a 48 hour long-term romance. The same can be said of Lang and his hesitant mentor, Hank Pym. There’s conflict and tension between all the characters, but they manage to push through and persevere in a way that’s both believable and satisfying.

One of the films greatest strengths stems from the budding relationship between Lang and his daughter, Cassie. It’s so grounded and real that it brings a legitimate level of emotion to a film that could’ve easily been devoid of it.

While the overall stakes of this story are fairly miniscule in the grand scheme of the MCU, it still manages to come with its fair share of Easter eggs and universe expansion. Lawerence Fishburns, Bill Foster, was a very welcome addition to the film while also helping to expand on Pym’s backstory with SHIELD. Hannah John-Kamen’a, Ghost, was an interesting and compelling villain whose motivations merely put her at odds with the films heroes. This makes for good drama and excellent tension within the film.

The one area the film is lacking is Evangeline Lilly’s, Hope Van Dyne. She’s never given the same level of heart that Rudd’s Lang has and tends to come off as cold and stoic, although her motivations are noble. It’d be great to see Marvel brake down her character more and give her some additional depth. I would’ve loved to see her get an emotional monologue that shows her vulnerabilities as a person, which they even managed to do with Michelle Pfiefer’s Janet Van Dyne, however, that will clearly have to wait for a future film.

Whereas Ant-Man & the Wasp might not be as thrilling or visually exciting as some of he other MCU films, it does have its place. If you’re a person who has had had fun watching all of the other Marvel films, there’s no reason you wouldn’t also enjoy this one. It has heart, great characters, and knows how to have a lot of fun. Personally, I enjoy these little “step-back” films and look forward to many more in the future.

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