Ant-Man and the Wasp is ‘an entertaining but disappointing sequel’

The first Ant-Man is a perfectly serviceable, middle of the range Marvel movie which ultimately didn’t come close to matching the brilliance of fellow movies within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But after the bleak and shocking ending to Avengers: Infinity War just this past April, it made sense for Marvel to lighten things up a bit.

Which is exactly what Ant-Man and the Wasp does. This is a sequel filled with great banter, characters and action, but falls short in comparison to the other recent Marvel efforts due to a fairly bland story ill served by a genuine lack of stakes.

In the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. But soon he is confronted by old pals Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lily) and Dr Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) who need him for an urgent new mission.

The film takes far too long to get going, with the first hour particularly flat and uneventful. It’s a lazy script, one which feels unfinished and rushed, despite the film crediting a whopping five writers who worked on the screenplay. It isn’t until Michael Pena’s Luis, who once again steals every scene he’s in, delivers a narrated story in similar hilarious vein as in the previous movie where the film finally steps up a gear.

However, Paul Rudd is once again terrific, proving a commendable leading man and a very likeable presence on screen. He doesn’t have an overly successful gag rate but the relationship he shares with both his daughter Cassie (played by Abby Ryder Fortson, a delight) and partner in crime Hope/ The Wasp which shows the film’s heart is well and truly in the right place. You can certainly see why The Wasp got a share of the film’s title too, as this is very much her picture. Lily is a blast, shining in the well-crafted action sequences and her journey to find her long lost mother (Michelle Pfeifer, underused) was riveting.

Michael Douglas has a lot more to do this time round as Dr Pym whilst Randall Park and Laurence Fishburne were great inclusions. The issue lies within the villain Ghost, portrayed by Hannah John-Kamen.

With Marvel’s latest run of antagonists being some of the greatest they’ve ever delivered (Killmonger, Vulture and Thanos) it is a real shame to watch them return to their same old problems. Despite workable motives, Ghost is a bland, forgettable character which you care very little about. The fantastic Walton Goggins also has a supporting turn as criminal Sonny Burch and is totally wasted, only showing up when the plot needs him too. Considering how disappointing Yellowjacket was in the first Ant-Man, it’s pretty surprising that neither Ghost nor Burch really do much to rise above him here.

Thankfully, an action-packed finale saves the film from total disaster. The action sequences delivered throughout the streets of San Francisco are exhilarating and use the lead characters powers to full effect.

People looking for answers or references to Infinity War will especially be disappointed, as this movie is very much its own thing and cares a lot more about our titular leads and their stories. That is until a mid-credits stinger which certainly raises a few eyebrows, beginning an interesting plot development surely to be explored in Avengers 4.

It’s certainly a watchable and entertaining flick, yet the film is the weakest in the Marvel canon since well, the first Ant-Man.

Verdict: After Marvel’s recent run of classics in the making, Ant-Man and the Wasp falls short of expectations. An enjoyable if unmemorable sequel saved by its adrenaline-fuelled finale.

Best Moment: The third act ends the film on a much needed high.

Rating: 6/10