Marvel strikes gold with this "Ant-Man" sequel.
Let's face it, Marvel Studios has a spotty record when it comes to sequels. The billion dollar studio did an amazing job with Captain America: Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy 2. On the other hand, Iron Man 2 and Thor: Dark World may be two of the worst films in all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Avengers: Age of Ultron isn't really a shining spot in the catalog either. Stepping into Ant-Man and The Wasp, I realized it was a 50/50 gamble that Marvel either delivered an enthralling sequel, or I would be stuck watching something more horrendous than Mickey Rourke wielding electric whips.
After developing nerve-racking anxiety while watching Avengers: Infinity War, it was refreshing to watch a film where the stakes were a little less high. Ant-Man and The Wasp is missing an element that most superhero movies have: a villain who wants to take over the world or destroy the galaxy. Instead, the plot is on a much smaller and more personal scale, and it works immaculately. Marvel's 20th film is more about family bonds and saving the relationships we already have. Paul Rudd's Ant-Man is rebuilding his relationship with his daughter after being put on house arrest for assisting Captain America in Civil War. Evangeline Lilly's Wasp is hell-bent on rescuing her mother from the Quantum Zone, a realm where time and space don't follow the rules. Wasp's father, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), lost his wife during a mission thirty years prior to the film's plot, and the entire movie revolves around extracting her from the psychedelic looking Quantum Zone. Pym, using his shrinking technology, reduces the size of his lab to a suitcase so he can travel with his work. The shrunken lab becomes an item of interest for several parties, and the villains collide attempting to steal it from the heroes.
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The main villain of the film is a gorgeous yet deadly woman named Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen). Ghost's name exemplifies her powers. The slippery and deadly assassin can phase through anything she pleases, from building walls to human flesh. She has no intentions of stealing the lab to hurt people. In fact, her motives are very personal, giving the villain a goal that is firmly planted in reality. Much like Ant-Man and his squad, Ghost is dealing with the echoes of her past. The less threatening villains of the film, led by Southern gentleman Sunny Burch (Walton Goggins), are on a mission to steal the lab as well, to sell it to the highest bidder. Their presence, and the clumsy law enforcement officers tracking Ant-Man, keep the plot moving whenever things seem to settle down for a second.
Ant-Man and The Wasp will join the ranks along with Civil War as one of Marvel's wondrous sequels. Keeping the plot on a small scale, and working with a more intimate storyline, worked wonders for director Peyton Reed. The humor and action eclipse the original Ant-Man movie, and Marvel avoided adding any easy Avenger cameos for fan service. Instead, Ant-Man and The Wasp is a self-contained Summer thrill ride that focuses on family. Like many other films in the MCU, the Ant-Man sequel does feature two post-credit scenes. The first of which connects directly to Avengers 4, and leaves the heroes on an interesting yet familiar cliff-hanger.
If you're looking for a film with the cinematic scope of Black Panther, the stunning visuals of Doctor Strange, or the outright epicness of Infinity War, Ant-Man and The Wasp will let you down. If you're looking for a fun Summer flick that offers a heartwarming story with spot-on humor, this is the movie for you.