Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Ant-Man and the Wasp</strong> (2018)

(Netflix Streaming, January 2019) It says much about the Marvel Cinematic universe’s self-assurance that it not only knows how to make decent movies (nearly) every single time, but counter-programs deliberate tonal shifts within the series itself. Much as the sombre Avengers: Age of Ultron was followed by the first comic Ant-Man, here we have the even-more sombre Avengers: Infinity War followed by the almost-as-comic Ant-Man and the Wasp. Once more featuring a charming Paul Rudd, this sequel also aims for a lighter, funnier, not quite as melancholic kind of film with the MCU … and that’s not a bad thing. It’s often very funny (with Michael Peña once again winning comic MVP), although the comedy aspect is balanced against more serious elements, including an unusually sympathetic antagonist as played by Hannah John-Kamen. Rudd is backed by capable supporting talent, including a much-welcome bigger turn from Evangeline Lilly, as well as characters played by veteran Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer. The transition from lighthearted caper film to more metaphysical fantasy in interesting to watch, and the top-notch special effects help sell the film’s wilder sequences, such as a car chase exploiting the scale-changing powers around which the Ant-Man series is based. It may not be particularly deep (and at times it feels like a filler episode in between the Infinity War/Endgame two-parter), but Ant-Man and the Wasp passes the time nicely—there’s something interesting, funny or entertaining every few minutes and that’s not a bad change of pace after the sombre conclusion of previous MCU film—which shows up in a ponderous post-credit sequence.

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