It turns out that a movie about people shrinking to minuscule size is a very appropriate choice to follow the gargantuan Avengers: Infinity War. The largest thing about Ant-Man and The Wasp might be the cosmic joke that while the Avengers were trying to save the universe, Scott Lang is on house arrest. Because of the events of the MCU, Peyton Reed and his five (!) screenwriters are burdened with extra heavy lifting, but after a slow start the film zips along, only occasionally letting the monologue about quantum whatever slow things down.
At its best, it has an infectious, goofy energy that’s hard to resist, buoyed by an excellent cast (yet again, Michael Peña runs away with the whole thing). Evangeline Lilly finally gets to let loose as superhero alter-ego The Wasp. Lilly and Rudd make a charming leading pair, and most of the joy comes from the dynamics between these two and their families, both featuring screw-up fathers trying their best to clear up their messes. The villains have more thankless roles, but they’re either secondary to the comedy or at least play a part in it, so it never feels like a totally wasted opportunity.
The banter and family drama is connected by pretty solid set pieces backed by Christophe Beck’s punchy score. It’s some of Marvel’s most dynamic action, thanks to the excellent macro photography and special effects work, but a lot of the time it’s happy to just indulge in using this for a gag rather than smashing things – a particular highlight featuring Scott Lang running around a high school, stuck at child size.
Like the first, Ant-Man and The Wasp appears as a perfectly-timed palette cleanser, a breather between instalments of cosmic-scale madness. It’s featherweight fun that won’t change your life, but that’s perfectly OK.
CAST: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip “T.I.” Harris, David Dastmalchian, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas
DIRECTOR: Peyton Reed
WRITERS: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari