Marvel doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to cinema. From its universal genocide (Infinity War) to heroes fighting on the smallest scale (Ant-Man and The Wasp), the MCU has proven that it’s capable of delivering immersive plots, relatable characters, and heart-cradling emotional themes. Furthermore, it has learned from its most glaring mistakes and adapted its product. Where we’ve seen missteps with the portrayal of believable, complex villains, the MCU now seems to be taking extra care with their antagonists. In Ant-Man and The Wasp we get a humor-filled action movie that plays on the theme of love to drive an emotional plot.
At its core, Ant-Man and The Wasp is a heist movie, continuing the basic idea of its predecessor, Ant-Man (2015). The difference here is that instead of a particular object, they are going after Janet Van Dyne, the original Wasp—and Hope’s mother. It’s a subtle way to maintain the heist concept, but it works. Of course, along the way there are roadblocks, including illegitimate, self-interested businessmen like Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) and powered individuals with their own motives such as Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen). These elements keep the plot from going stale.
Speaking of antagonists, Ghost was a highly creative implementation in this film. Originally a Z-list Iron Man Villain who developed a technology that allowed him to phase (without the help of a mutant X-gene like Kitty Pryde), he was more or less your typical infiltration-type villain. In Ant-Man and Wasp the concept was completely re-written to create a story concerning a woman who very badly wants something that will keep her from hurting, much less dying, and is willing to go to any lengths to get it. I found myself rooting for her several times throughout the film. Believable villain? Check. And Hannah John-Kamen nailed the role with flawless execution.
Paul Rudd was as entertaining as ever. Maintaining a charm and humor that sets him apart from the Peters (take your pick of Parker or Quill), he serves his role as Ant-Man well. But truth be told, Evangeline Lilly was the star of this movie. She delivered a stunning portrayal of The Wasp in ways that I didn’t know I wanted. She was the hero of the film, a character who wears resolve and confidence like expensive pumps. She stole every action scene she was involved in, and she gave us a fascinating character that I was constantly begging to see more of. Honestly, it would be remiss to not feature her on the main Avengers team in the future. We want more powerful women in these films and she is, indeed, yet another.
Furthermore, every character who supported the plot was seamlessly integrated. Bill Foster AKA (Black) Goliath (Lawrence Fishburne) filled his role as Hank Pym’s old-school business associate; he creates an interesting conflict and a sense of deep history behind the characters. These choices layer the MCU heroes’ legacies in ways that were only touched on in the first Ant-Man thus far with reference to the older Ant-Man and Wasp adventures.
Then, like before, Luis (Michael Pena) proves once again to be the heart of the movie. His humor and oblivious innocence know no bounds. Sprinkle in characters like Jimmy Woo (Randall Parks) as Rudd’s probation officer and the lovable little Cassie Lang (Abby Fortson), as well as the original Wasp herself (Michele Pfeiffer), and you have a cast that leaves you smiling the entire film.
After the masterful emotional drain and high stakes of Infinity War, Ant-Man and The Wasp provided a refreshing pace change that kept things relatively light while still creating a sense of foreboding fear and hope. I often found myself smiling, whether through pure moments of humor or instances that struck our hearts’ emotional depths. The entire cast was enjoyable, and several points of the film were simply inspiring. I am convinced that Marvel will continue to produce these great films, and I’m looking forward to the next time I can see The Wasp on screen. I highly recommend this movie. I’m sure everyone can find something to enjoy about it.