2018 is Marvel Studios’ 10th anniversary. The release of the phenomenal Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War were a testament to how far the company has progressed since Iron Man in 2008.

However, 2018 isn’t over yet as Ant-Man And The Wasp is set to close the curtain on what is the studio’s arguably best year to date. Unfortunately, Ant-Man And The Wasp seems to be another typical Marvel Studios fare, offering more of the same and failing to live up to the impossibly high standards set by Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War before it.

Don’t get me wrong, Ant-Man And The Wasp is a fun popcorn summer movie, providing laughs and heartwarming family moments for the audience. This is exactly what happened after the release of The Avengers in 2012. People asked, how could Marvel Studios possibly top what was then the most ambitious movie crossover of all time?

The answer? They didn’t have to. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is still regarded by many (and myself) to be the studio’s best movie, despite not being an epic sprawling crossover event-type movie.

It succeeded in being a great standalone movie, the events of which actually went on to have a major ramification for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. In comparison, Ant-Man And The Wasp don’t really accomplish that, but it’s pretty decent as a standalone movie and works especially well as a direct sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man.

It may not have dire consequences on the entire MCU, but the movie works best focusing on its family values involving both the Pyms and the Langs.

That said, there are still some major flaws that bring the movie down.

Family First

The movie clamps down on the “family first” values from the first movie, further expanding and developing the relationships between characters. The end of the first movie saw the relationship of father and daughter between Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne restored after he told her the truth of what happened to her mother, Janet Van Dyne. Ant-Man And The Wasp subsequently expands on that by featuring the quest to find Janet Van Dyne, after Scott managed to emerge alive from the subatomic Quantum Realm in the first movie.

Scott’s relationship with her daughter, Cassie, remains the motivator for everything he does. However, the movie begins with yet another consequence of a past movie, specifically 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. Scott is stuck in house arrest due to his actions in aiding Steve Rogers during the events of that movie.

It turns out Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne weren’t too fond of what Scott and now hates his guts. Along the way, they collide with villains Ghost and Sonny Burch. The movie doesn’t attempt to do anything new, unlike the two previous MCU movie before it.

Recycling The Same Humor

If you liked the jokes from the first Ant-Man movie, you’ll probably like the humour in Ant-Man And The Wasp. It’s more of the same humour, and it even recycles some of the jokes. Some might find these running gags to be uninspired and repetitive, but it’s still sort of funny the second time around. Maybe not so much the third time around, though.

You’ll get Luis and his signature jokes. You’ll get Hank Pym and his grumpy old man shtick. However, Paul Rudd carries the movie with his massive likeability and charm. Cringe-worthy jokes can still elicit chuckles and giggles, especially when Rudd works his charming comedic personality. I mean, he even made Ant puns work. ANT PUNS!

Villains Are Some Of The MCU’s Worst

Look, as a comics fan, I understand that Ant-Man has never had a memorable, let alone great, rogues gallery. Heck, Ghost is an Iron Man villain, for Pete’s sake. That’s how scarce Ant-Man’s list of villains are.

But come on! Ghost and a black market tech dealer cum mob boss Sonny Burch? That’s the best they could do? Ghost might have visually-appealing powers (becoming intangible and walking through walls) but her character is a whiny teenager whose backstory clearly pines for the sympathy of audiences. It doesn’t work and Ghost ends up being an unworthy villain.

Sonny Burch is the most derivative type of villain you see in almost every action movie ever. After watching Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger and Josh Brolin’s stellar performances, the villains in Ant-Man And The Wasp seem even more pathetic. Still, at least they’re almost not as bad as Thor: The Dark World’s Malekith the Accursed.

Almost.

Visually Imaginative Action Scenes

Without decent villains, what does Ant-Man And The Wasp has going for it? The creative and visually imaginative action set pieces. They’re literally like nothing else the MCU has to offer since no other hero can shrink to the size of an ant. It was exciting watching the unique camera angles and perspectives afforded by the unique abilities of both Ant-Man and the Wasp.

The Wasp actually gets the best piece of the action this time around, and her fighting scenes are the highlights of the movie. She twirls and flips around while alternating between being tiny and human size. Plus, she has wings and sting blasters, which Ant-Man doesn’t.

Where Does Ant-Man And The Wasp Take Place?

Now that is the question on everyone’s minds. The events in Ant-Man And The Wasp does, in fact, take place concurrently with those in Avengers: Infinity War. That means while the Avengers were off to outer space and fighting Thanos the Mad Titan, Ant-Man And The Wasp are doing their own thing.

It explains why they weren’t in Avengers: Infinity War. Simply put, Ant-Man And The Wasp is the tie-in comic book to the main crossover event, which is Avengers: Infinity War.

Ant-Man And The Wasp isn’t a bad movie. It suffers due to coming after great movies like the Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War. It also offers more of the same Marvel fare and avoids taking risks.

The villains are some of the worst in the MCU. It’s a fun movie but definitely not much of a memorable one.

Aside: There are two post-credits scenes after the movie, so be sure to wait until the very end.

Pros

  • Visually imaginative and creative action scenes
  • Works as a standalone movie and especially well as a direct sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man
  • Further develops the family themes and relationships between characters

Cons

  • Some of the worst villains in the MCU
  • Doesn’t live up to the high standards set by Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War
  • Offers more of the same typical Marvel Studios fare

Final Score: 65/100

Ant-Man And The Wasp opens in Malaysian cinemas on 4th July 2018 in Malaysia and Singapore. We caught the movie on GSC Cinemas Onyx Hall via press screening, courtesy of The Walt Disney Company (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.


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