Ant-Man And The Wasp

”Nothing can prepare you for what’s coming.’

With Ant-Man And The Wasp we have the epitome of a what a summer blockbuster should be – fun, light-hearted with a slight edge, engaging and action-packed. Timed at just under two hours it’s the perfect length of time – especially if you’re a parent in need of respite! Fans of the franchise will also be appeased with this excellent new addition that is tonally more akin to Guardians and Doctor Strange rather than that big, bleak blockbuster we had a few months ago. Set in between Civil War and  Infinity War  – think of this as the plate-cleanser, the refugee for your senses before the tension builds up again…

It’s been two years since Civil War – during that time Scott (Paul Rudd) has been under total house arrest. He’s not heard from Hank (Michael Douglas) or Hope (Evangeline lIlly) since rocking up on Captain America’s side of the battle, which means he’s not been Ant-Man either. With only days left of house arrest he’s roped back into the suit to work alongside the father and daughter duo, with revelations from the past threatening everything. Taking part in an urgent mission, Scott will be forced to deal with the consequences of his choices, being both a superhero and a father.

Just like with film number one, Ant-Man, things start quickly from the get-go and remain pacey for the entirety of the film’s running time. It’s a watching experience that is akin to riding a rollercoaster; breezy, dizzying and exhilarating. And, once the ride stops, it doesn’t linger. Which isn’t really a bad thing considering the state Marvel left us in with it’s previous outing… In fact, this is exactly the film they needed. It’s incredibly hilarious, with an enviable rate of truly funny gags whilst also being genuine and heartfelt.

This is courtesy of the tight and well-written script which manages to balance numerous subplots rather well no single storyline is focused on for too long nor does any moment feel needless. Each focus point is interconnected, with the odd recurring gag being very effective indeed. The action sequences are immensely well crafted and the size factor is consistently well integrated.

But it’s the performances that make the film as joyous as it is. Rudd remains the gift that keeps giving; one we truly don’t deserve. Marvel seems to have a knack for napping leading men who are able to throw a punch and make a joke land at exactly the same time, whilst also retaining their own individual unique charm. What’s interesting to watch is the slight shifts in characterisation since the first film, particularly with his dynamics with leading lady Lilly. At times it’s more a case of his being her sidekick, as opposed to the usual other-way-round, although this could be argued at the expense of making Scott as a character look rather foolish and almost too-goofball. That being said, she is a true badass and a real pleasure to watch. She handles her own in the fight sequences, and then some. Douglas and Pfeiffer bring the excellent supporting roles we expect from them, Douglas in particular continuing to provide the hilarity in his scenes with Rudd.

The only downside, which I’ve discussed in some of  my previous reviews of Marvel films, is the villain problem. Or the fact that the villain isn’t really all that big of a problem. Goggins as Sonny Burch and Hannah John–Kamen as Ava are both underwritten and underserved. They provide intermittent threat and get in the way of things, as opposed to impose upon them. But, then again, when you’ve got Thanos in the picture – the barometer for a good villain is at an all-time high level…

To intentionally misquote Muhammad Ali, this is a film as light as an Ant but stings like a wasp. Easy-going, witty and lovable. Just what the summer ordered.

4 stars

Ant-Man And The Wasp is (finally!) in UK cinemas now.

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