Marvel’s long-term plans led up to a really stunning and impressive film with Infinity War, where  there were actual stakes, a threatening villain, and actions with  consequences. Unfortunately, in an effort to not spoil the events of Infinity War, Disney-Marvel had to keep movies on schedule. Staying on schedule meant that, inevitably, the film to follow up Infinity War would feel like a step down on every level. Ant-Man drew the short straw, and got its sequel slotted not even three months after Infinity War. 

While Ant-Man and the Wasp can’t escape its fate of being pretty pointless and small compared to Infinity War, it’s still a good enough film that provides some good laughs and decent action despite its boring visuals.

A Paul Rudd comedy disguised as a superhero blockbuster

Image from IMDb

Don’t let the Marvel name fool you: this film is not actually a  superhero blockbuster. Sure, it has action beats, it has punching dudes,  and it comes out during the summer blockbuster season. That does not  make this a superhero blockbuster. And that’s the most interesting part  of this movie. If they had tried to follow up Infinity War in  terms of action, this film would seem quaint and terrible by comparison,  and admittedly sometimes it does. So they didn’t even try to compete  there, instead leaning hard on the comedy edge that the first Ant-Man had thanks to the superstar at the lead: Paul Rudd.

Paul Rudd is absolutely fantastic in this film. He once again plays  the dopey idiot that is Scott Lang so well, it almost seems genuine.  This is a guy who is way in over his head, but loves his family, cares  for his friends, and wants to just make himself a better person. He  knows nothing about the science behind the suit, the stakes of the film,  or even why any of what’s happening matters. He’s just some guy who  wants to help his friends out, and Paul Rudd nails that aspect  perfectly. The other characters try to joke around as well, but none of  them have the comedic timing that Paul Rudd has, aside from maybe  Michael Peña. It’s also great to see how he contrasts with the super  seriousness of Wasp, Hank Pym, and Ghost. A particular favorite scene of  mine is when three protagonists are captured by Ghost, and during some  expositing by Laurence Fishburne, Scott receives a video call from his  daughter, complete with obnoxious duck ringtone. It’s adorable, and Paul  Rudd plays it off so well.

Image from IMDb

Unfortunately, not everyone does their job well. The trophy of trash  goes to the Walton Goggins, who plays the throwaway villain who refuses  to be thrown away in Sonny Burch. The character is not only useless to  the plot, but also incredibly obnoxious. He serves as a joke villain  that, while is perfectly fine during the opening parts of the film he  was in, overstays his welcome hard. There’s a couple scenes in the  middle of the film and the absolutely terrible car chase sequence at the  end of the film where his character is just a waste of everyone’s time.  He took a lot of valuable time away from Ghost, where actual character  development could have been done for her beyond the straight five  minutes of exposition that gets dumped on the audience half-way through  the film. Additionally, not all of the jokes land, and the jokes that do  fall flat do so in a spectacular fashion. At the very least, the Paul  Rudd core of this film is incredible solid and hilarious to watch for  good reasons.

Unimpressive visuals that disappoint

One of the biggest surprises of the original Ant-Man was how  great the visual spectacle was in the film. The use of perspective and  size was ingeniously done, and made what was an average Marvel film to  be something so much bigger. Most of that cool usage of perspective from  the first film, however, is said to be a leftover from when Edgar  Wright was at the helm of the project. Now, with hack behind The Break-Up and Yes Man firmly at the wheel, how does it compare? Not well, considering Ant-Man and the Wasp is probably the most amateurish looking film since the inception of the MCU.

Image from IMDb

The cinematography in Ant-Man and the Wasp isn’t anything  special, it’s all very standard Marvel film stuff. None of the scenes  really stood out as a “wow” moment, like the final battle with Yellow  Jacket or the first look in the quantum realm from the first Ant-Man. This  film compliments its dull direction with CGI that’s sometimes okay,  sometimes unnecessary, and sometimes absolutely god-awful. The final  chase scene at the end of the film gets special mention for being  especially terrible. The use of the size gimmick in this film was kind  of neat at first, but then started to become overdone by the end of the  film. It’s just not that great visually, which is disappointing.

Another very awkward thing within the film was how they did the  dubbing of Ant-Man while he was both very small and very big.  Particularly the scenes where he went huge were uncomfortable to watch.  Instead of inspiring wonder, it inspired an image in my head of Paul  Rudd sitting in a recording booth, reading lines off of his script  inbetween sips of coffee. There were no adjustments done to the sound to  account for the different perspectives. Shouldn’t a giant Ant-Man sound  more imposing than a regular-sized Paul Rudd? It’s kind of a nitpick,  but sound design not matching visuals is very off-putting in a film like  this.

The pointlessness of it all

Image from IMDb

There are two ideas that follow Ant-Man and the Wasp for me. The first is that this film was set to follow Infinity War, and in that way, it stood no chance. No matter how good the  film could’ve been, there’s no way it could properly follow Infinity War  without feeling like a waste of time. The whole story is all very  small-scale, and in terms of everything going on in the world during the  events of the film (which was noticeably absent. Do these people just  not watch the news?), Paul Rudd cracking jokes and making  celebrity-insect name puns seems very small potatoes. The absolute joke of “antagonists” that are Sonny Burch and Ghost also just seems like  an insult after how amazing Thanos was in Infinity War.

The other side is that this film is not a follow-up to Infinity War, but rather to Ant-Man. In that case, the film still can’t escape feeling pointless. The first Ant-Man was  a pretty standard film with amazing visuals that did its job in  establishing the character. This film does nothing to develop any of the  characters involved, other than reaffirming character traits we already  knew about all the characters. With nothing new visually, nothing new  character-wise, and nothing new in the grand scheme of things, Ant-Man and the Wasp can’t help but feel like a was just here as filler: no more, no less.





Featured image from IMDb

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