It’s a bugs life for Scott Lang.
Coming so hot on the heels of Avengers: Infinity War, you might feel like this is a strange choice for Marvel’s next film on the conveyor belt of blockbusters. But actually, given the events of that Thanos-sized film, it is an astute decision to scale things down in size again.
Set before the Infinity War shenanigans, this sequel to 2015’s Ant-man sees Paul Rudd back in the title role, but also bumps Evangeline Lilly up into the title as the Wasp. Under house arrest for helping Captain America in Germany, Scott Lang is balancing fatherhood while trying to grow his security business, meanwhile Hope van Dyne (Lilly) and her father Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) are seeking a way to bring back her mother from the Quantum Realm.
If that last part seems a bit science-fictiony, that’s because it is – but not in the vein of hardcore science-fiction. The core, scientific concepts here are glazed over in some inane pieces of dialogue, going more with the mad-cap visuals of the 1950s sci-fi than more modern films. You’ve got shrinking, enlarging, quantum physics, giant ants and even references to this type of classic film on the television being watched by characters in the movie.
There are a number of complications in Hope’s mission to bring her mother back however, one being Scott’s house-arrest, another being Walton Goggins’ black market tech dealer and another being Ghost, played by Hannah John-Kamen. That’s a lot for one film which is meant to be scaling things back, and it hurts the story of the film. While it’s great that we aren’t having emotionally manipulative scenes shoved down our throats, there are a great many relationships in the film which go without much development. It feels like a few of the strands could have been held back here.
‘You’ve got shrinking, enlarging, quantum physics, giant ants and even references to this type of classic film’
The visuals work well in a playful kind of way, with items being enlarged and downsized for comical effect, but what weighs the film down is that multitude of “bad guys” – some of whom aren’t proper bad guys. While Marvel has gotten better at delivering more complex and relatable villains, Ant-man needs a more dedicated foil to quip off against. As you can probably guess, everything comes up rosy in the end for all parties and it doesn’t feel like the stakes are very high for anyone but the Van Dyne family.
A light and fun entry into the catalogue of superhero films, it’s good to see that they’re not playing everything moody, but it’s not a film you’ll want to rewatch over and over. While there are some laughs, this isn’t a comedy, since it’s not as funny the second time around. The Wasp is a great addition to the mix, and Scott Lang’s daughter charms enough to make you think she could be the key ingredient next time (possibly a Marvel-friendly version of Hit-Girl?).
As ever, there is a post-credit sequence which you’ll need to stay for, and it’s probably the most teasing, tantalising one seen for a while, so stick around.