Tag: Ant Man and the Wasp

Ant-Man 2 shrinks the MCU’s scale with minor success

Ant-Man 2 shrinks the MCU’s scale with minor success

Ant-Man and the Wasp is, frankly, a mediocre showing for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It has some brilliant stuff within it, as one might expect from the studio that has revolutionized the idea of a connected universe of films for the last 10 years. However, that brilliant stuff is marred down by a weak plot with awkward pacing and some noticeable problems balancing the movie’s comedy and heart.

Now as usual I’m not planning on putting any spoilers in this mini-review here. Though all things being equal, I would argue there isn’t too much to spoil outside of the end credit stuff that isn’t already shown in trailers and advertisements.

I do wish I could talk about that end credit stuff, because I’m still overjoyed at how my post-Infinity War fan theory was made true in a big, bad way.

But I won’t. Just know that Marvel has no chill right now and I love it.

The first Ant-Man movie was something of a surprise hit for Marvel along the same wavelength as Guardians of the Galaxy. Nobody expected much of anything out of a superhero film with a premise that the hero can shrink down and be really small.

However, by mixing together a lovable main character, some well-done comedy, a few clever visual spectacles and a heist film plot, the movie was a fun little success.

It led to Paul Rudd, the titular Ant-Man, becoming something of a darling in the MCU. He turned into the kind of character whose cameos improved other films like Civil War. As a result, people were a little disappointed when Rudd and Jeremy Renner (the universe’s Hawkeye) did not appear in the crossover blockbuster Infinity War due to a somewhat weak excuse.

That they had “other things going on.”

So Ant-Man and the Wasp, the second MCU film starring Rudd and Evangeline Lilly as our other titular hero, promised to hopefully be the compelling story of just what was so damn important that we couldn’t have shrinking powers assisting in the big fight against Thanos.

What we got was a product that, like I said, was rather mediocre. But not because of its explanations regarding Rudd and Lilly’s absence from Infinity War.

As something of a side-discussion before I jump into where Ant-Man and the Wasp faltered, I want to dive into the reason why I love the opening premise to this film. Even going back to the original advertisements for it, I knew I was looking forward to Ant-Man 2 because it’s a movie that’s predicated on the consequences of other movies.

The aftermath of Civil War, where Rudd is part of the group arrested for siding with Captain America against government restrictions on superheroes, plays heavily into the plot of Ant-Man 2. Much of Rudd’s struggle is having to help his friends while also trying to serve his last three days of house arrest so he can be free to see his daughter more. Meanwhile, Michael Douglas’s Hank Pym and his daughter Hope (Lilly) are also on the run from the FBI because their tech was what allowed Rudd to take part in that battle.

I love that Ant-Man is being used as an example of how actions in their universe have consequences going forward, much like Civil War did. Just a little less heavy-handed due to its smaller scale story.

Puns.

As much as I love the way the movie is set-up, the plot it rolls with given that establishment isn’t the most stellar one we’ve seen. The first third of the film is great and the resolution is decent. But the middle of the movie is bland and forgettable, in part because of the way it tries to balance at least six different stories at once.

That’s right, if the back-and-forth of those three or four driving plot points I’ve already laid out aren’t enough, there are also a couple of separate things going on with all the side character. That’s not even mentioning the film’s villain Ghost, played by Hannah John-Kamen.

She does alright with what she’s working with, but for the most part Ghost feels like a more one-note throwaway character than most of the other Marvel villains we’ve seen lately. Her personal story arc also has a vague conclusion in the film that seems sidelined in place of Rudd going after his happy ending.

They do offer John-Kamen room for possible inclusion in sequels, but not enough was done to encourage me to be excited for her to show up again.

The way Ghost’s inclusion seemed choppy was kind of emblematic of the problems with Ant-Man and the Wasp as a whole. Because so much was being done all over the place with each character, it felt like a lot of the film was left on the cutting room floor. Many of the scenes feel rushed, with quick cuts that seemed more jarring than stylized in the overall package.

Balancing all of those aspects also created tonal issues. There are a lot of attempts to be comedic that fall flat. For every funny bit, like relating Ghost to an old Russian folktale, there are two or three returning bits from the original Ant-Man that seem to be there just to reference the original Ant-Man.

The lackluster comedic bits hurt especially so because they are interjected around emotional moments that work damn well. Ant-Man and the Wasp is a movie about family, and each character struggles with familial issues in some way or another.

Rudd’s character shines far brighter whenever he’s with his daughter than when he’s the ‘dumb, goofy everyman’ archetype stuck in a room trying to pretend he understands what’s happening.

Every moment his daughter, captured expertly by Abby Ryder Fortson, was on-screen made the movie that much better. You can tell she and Rudd had an electric chemistry together that left the whole audience saying ‘aww’ throughout the film.

Lilly’s relations towards her mother, another driving motif in the film, are also quite heartfelt. I actually teared up a little during the film’s cold open, which was surprisingly well done and emotional.

Ant-Man and the Wasp should have spent more time deciding whether it wanted to be a comedic movie or a heartfelt one. Either path likely would have led it to more success, but the balance is skewed badly in its current state.

It did have some decent action scenes to stand on, especially when digging back into the things that made the original so good: Playing with size.

I won’t spoil too many specific bits, but probably the most memorable moments outside of Ant-Man with his daughter were the moments playing with making big things small and vice versa.

Though my personal favorite ones involved a salt shaker and some hot wheels cars.

Like I said at the top, there were some great things throughout Ant-Man and the Wasp that were wonderful. The family moments, some of the comedy and the visuals especially… Plus the spoiler-y stuff I won’t go into.

However, it was so bogged down by much larger problems that the high of the end-credit scenes quickly fade into a lukewarm reception at best.

Oh, there is one more thing I can think to mention. But my friend Lissete put it best, so I’m going to let her handle this:

Yeah… Arguably the most egregious use of product placement I’ve seen in a Marvel movie thus far.

It’s pretty noticeable all over, though I won’t say it ruined or improved the movie for me in any significant way.

If nothing else, I’ll just say it’s worth seeing the movie – either now or later on cable – to understand why I now want Paul Rudd to be both my Dad and Mom.

A Warm, Lazy Night

After spending most of the afternoon melting into a puddle of goo on the couch, struggling to come up with something to write about in the heat-laden haze post-Gladeo meeting, I think I’ve finally just decided to give up for the night.

I really have nothing to talk about right now, and my brain is too mushy from the 100+ degree temperatures here in California today to feel my obligatory post is worth stressing over tonight.

So how about this. I’ll just use this post as a ‘things to come’ set-up of sorts.

People like that right?

With my work meeting this morning came the confirmation that both of the Career Spotlights and the Career Profile I’ve been working on are going through the editing process, so they should be published online any day now. As they come around I’ll be sure to talk about them in more detail.

However, if it’s anytime in the near, near future (though that’s somewhat doubtful from where they are in the process), I might hold off talking about them for a day or two. I have a pretty succinct idea for what my posts will hold for a period of time.

Tomorrow I’m going to go to Old Fort MacArthur Days with Aly and a few of my friends. I’ll probably throw out a post with a slideshow of cool things we see like I did last year – but this time I’ll know how to include videos, too.

Sunday I’m going to see Ant Man and the Wasp with my family. I’ll do one of my mini reviews on that after I see it.

There’s also an update to Fire Emblem Heroes coming on the eighth, but I haven’t quite decided whether I want to post two things on a day or whether I should hold off the mobile game update for Monday to take up some extra space. Supposedly there might be another new banner on the 10th as well, but I don’t have personal confirmation for that.

Though speaking of extra space filler, I also have a couple posts in my drafts folder. One is a slightly more extended discussion on Funko Pops I’ve been cooking up, as I have a personal issue with something regarding their business practices.

There might also be a couple Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links deck profiles I can throw together on some decks I’ve been having fun with lately. Especially one featuring Shining Flare Wingman, who I discussed my love for a bit ago.

Beyond that I’m also interested in doing a couple of ‘nostalgic’ sort of posts examining things I haven’t looked at in a long time.

Also also, I’ve begun to put some work into my Honors Project proposal, and especially with the help of my friends I’ll likely have something to chat about in regards to that once I have more succinct views about what my novel-in-progress will include.

Otherwise… Yeah. That’s about all I have to discuss in terms of forward-thinking blog post ideas.

Right now I’m just kind of sitting here in the lukewarm heat of the nightfall, wallowing in a food coma following a nice meal with my parents at one of my favorite restaurants and catching up on some T.V. shows.

Oh, speaking of, I suppose I also might expect a post talking about Luke Cage season 2 at some point in the near future. Because if we finish that show anytime soon I’m definitely willing to talk about it.

Otherwise let me know if there’s anything you might be interested in seeing around here! I’m pretty open to ideas if there are any going around you might want to see me discuss.