Ant Man and the Wasp rejects the high stakes of Infinity War to tell a playful, good-hearted, family story. Scott Lang/Ant Man (Paul Rudd) enjoys fathering his young daughter, though under house arrest due to fallout from the events of Captain America: Civil War. He is starting his own company and is anxious to stay on the right side of the law. This proves more difficult than expected as the ant suit technology developers, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly), need his help in their lab, and they’re not going to wait until he can legally leave his house to bring him there.
A striking antagonist is the superpowered character Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), whose past hints at the darker side of Pym’s life work. A chiefly sympathetic character, Ghost is a villain more through formulaic screenwriting than anything else. Left with life-threatening super powers resulting from Pym’s research decades ago, Ghost intends to use Pym’s technology to heal herself. Yet Ghost’s confrontation to him plays like a generic action scene, seemingly expecting us to forget her condition and instead root for Pym and Hope. The movie can’t have it both ways. Either Ghost is a tragic innocent, in which case our heroes should drop everything to help her (they don’t), or she exists only as an obstacle to be overcome.
The genuinely villainous hijinks are supplied by the Southern-accented crime boss Sonny Burch, a mildly entertaining crook while on screen but ultimately a character who makes so little an impression that I had to look up his name for this review.
Lang’s former crime gang (complete with color-coordinated ties and branded coffee mugs) focus their talents on preventing home break-ins by starting a security business called X-Con, a conceit that provides some of the movie’s funniest moments.
The film ends with a post-credits tie-in to Infinity War that sucks all the cheerful good will out of the ending. It’s a non-ending in a movie that would have worked better if it hadn’t needed to be tied into the rest of the Marvel film continuity.
Overall, Ant Man and the Wasp is a standard installment in the Marvel universe, featuring enjoyable but rarely surprising action, raising big questions without resolving them, and topping it off with a cheery but rushed climax. It’s a fun movie, but not a very good one.
Karen Fuchs is a senior studying Rhetoric and Public Address.