Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018): A Small Step Into the Ant Hill of Mediocrity

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“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is directed by Peyton Reed (Yes Man, Bring It On) and stars Paul Rudd (Dinner For Schmucks, The 40-Year-Old Virgin), Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), Michael Peña (American Hustle, End of Watch), Walton Goggins (The Shield, The Hateful Eight), Hannah John-Kamen (Ready Player One, Killjoys), with Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns, What Lies Beneath), Laurence Fishburne (John Wick: Chapter 2, The Matrix), and Michael Douglas (Fatal Attraction, Wall Street). After the epic, destructive, game-changing events audiences have witnessed in “Avengers: Infinity War,” we might as well ask ourselves, what is next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe??? The answer… something much smaller. Take that last sentence in whatever way you want. In this newest addition to the series, we once again see Scott Lang, otherwise known as Ant-Man, having to deal with home life on house arrest, not to mention his own daughter. At the same time, he is recruited on a new mission alongside Hope van Dyne, who is also referred to as the Wasp, that requires an uncovering of secrets involving the past.

This movie is the sequel to 2015’s “Ant-Man,” one of my personal favorite movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As much as I might complain that some of the more recent Marvel movies try too hard with comedy to the point where it gets annoying, “Ant-Man” is quite possibly the funniest movie in its universe. Speaking of the MCU, this movie is the twentieth installment in the saga. Just a year ago I said there were fifteen of these since “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” came out. WOW. When it comes to “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” I honestly had low expectations for it. If you asked me where my expectations were in 2017, I would probably told you I’m really looking forward to “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” especially when you consider how much I enjoyed the first movie. And after seeing this movie, I’d say I had fun throughout my experience. Although I wouldn’t say I had enough fun to go see the movie again. While this is not my least favorite movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it certainly isn’t my pick to watch on a Friday night at home.

I kind of had a similar experience during this movie to what I had during my time watching “Uncle Drew.” I had a few laughs here and there, but it wasn’t enough. Granted, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” isn’t really a comedy, but those numerous laughs may have been one of the few highlights of my experience. Now with what I just said, I will state, with an enormous smile on my face, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is FAR SUPERIOR to “Uncle Drew.” “Uncle Drew” is not even a movie. To call “Uncle Drew” a movie is pretty much the same as calling Pizza Hut a restaurant. I’d even say calling “Uncle Drew” a movie is pretty much the same as calling Pizza Hut a fast-food restaurant! By the way, drink Pepsi! The Movie Reviewing Moron says that Pepsi is good for you and will help you live longer! Therefore, it just makes sense that Pepsi is good for you and will help you live longer! Also, be sure to enjoy that nice, cool, refreshing Pepsi, while reading my review for “Uncle Drew,” the most ambitious Pepsi commercial of all motherf*cking time!

UNCLE DREW REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/07/02/uncle-drew-2018-worst-pepsi-commercial-ever/

In all seriousness, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” qualifies to me as a movie. I never said however that it qualifies as a good movie. There are elements of goodness sprinkled throughout. It has some decent performances for the most part, especially from Michael Douglas. Some of the action is rather creative and fun, although personally it can’t beat the climactic fight during the first “Ant-Man.” The effects in this movie are really good, and you get to see a lot of them, especially when you consider how big of a role the quantum realm plays. All of the positive elements however are unfortunately clashing with another side of negative elements, ultimately leading to what I would consider a relatively average or mediocre experience.

I know that in comic book movies, suspending your disbelief is not only natural, but expected to the tenth degree. There were many moments where I was able to do that. I almost lost it on a building having wheels, but OK, it could be stranger. There is one moment however towards the end involving Ant-Man trying to jump over a vehicle, that almost looked fake as hell that some student who hasn’t even graduated high school could have created it!

I won’t get too much deeper into that, although I do want to talk about the characterization here. For the most part, everyone on the hero side seems to have some sort of dimension to them. There aren’t many complaints I can point out as far as that side is concerned, but when it comes to our villain side, you have multiple plot lines going on including one involving the security that’s supposed to keep Ant-Man inside his house, and another involving the main antagonist of Ghost. When it comes to Ghost, there wasn’t really much to her character (at first), she came off to me more like a bad guy who just wanted to do bad guy things. She didn’t have the depth or charisma that some of the other recent Marvel villains had. And just when I thought we were starting to get an epic streak of fantastic MCU villains (starting with Guardians 2), we’re suddenly back to this bulls*it. I know a good number of people weren’t particularly fond of Yellow Jacket from the first “Ant-Man,” but to me, Ghost made Yellow Jacket look amazing. I will say towards the end of the film, Ghost improves slightly, but for the most part, she was a lackluster villain.

Let’s talk about Ant-Man here. When it comes to his story, he is placed on house arrest. That is because his actions during the events of “Captain America: Civil War” was enough to be considered a crime. This prevents Ant-Man from exploring the outside world, which allows him to spend more time trying to entertain his daughter in creative ways, and master songs in “Guitar Hero.” I gotta say one of the biggest positives I’ll give Paul Rudd when it comes to his interpretation of Ant-Man, and maybe I should give kudos to the writing and directing as well, is how well encapsulated the chemistry between him and his daughter is. I think that is definitely one of the best parts of this entire movie. Seeing the two go through a cardboard maze at the start of the film seemed to capture that needed sense of togetherness. When it comes to Rudd’s overall performance, I thought it was good for the most part, but there is one scene in particular, where he was rather mother-like, which kind of felt out of place.

Alongside Ant-Man, you of course have the Wasp, played by Evangeline Lilly. I think most of the cool stuff you see with her character, maybe except a few lines of dialogue some might find funny, is already revealed in the promotional material, which ultimately diminishes her character in a sense. Although she was fun to watch in certain action scenes and I totally buy Evangeline Lilly as her character. Her chemistry with Ant-Man, while not exactly a shining star in the movie, doesn’t exactly disappoint.

I already talked about the main antagonist and I do consider her to be one of the major flaws of the movie. When it comes to other problems, I’m gonna blame it on the pacing. I am eighteen years old. Once I walked out of the theater, entered my house, and proceeded to my bedroom to start cranking out this review, I imagined myself as if I were a ten year old kid going to see this movie. After all, a lot of ten year kids probably like superheroes, and maybe if I were that ten year old kid, I might walk out of the movie saying I enjoyed myself, but that’s most likely to be due to seeing superheros on moving pictures projected onto a giant screen. Even if I wanted to fall asleep, I’ll still say I had a good time. My brain can’t process what a bad movie is. Heck, I went to see three live-action “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movies in theaters as a kid and enjoyed them. What kind of person was I? Hint, it rhymes with stupid! When breaking down this movie, I couldn’t help but think to myself that maybe all the pieces in there made sense. But maybe it was a tad more convoluted than it should have been. The pacing overall just felt like speed bumps, and I especially say this specifically when it comes to the halfway point. At one moment you’re kinda sorta enjoying yourself… maybe. Then boom! The boredom kicks in.

And honestly, part of me feels like this movie is not going to be stuck in my memory as much as some of the other Marvel movies unless I watch it again. This might actually be the most forgettable Marvel movie I’ve seen since “Thor: The Dark World,” and that is saying something because that movie is S*IT. This film is nowhere near as objectively terrible as “Thor: The Dark World.” Sure, the villain here is pretty bad, but I still think the villain from “The Dark World” is probably the worst in the MCU. Let’s also not forget (no pun intended) how hard this film tried to be funny. When I watched that movie for review purposes, I might have only laughed twice. Here, I laughed a lot more than I did there. In fact, one thing that surprises me about “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is how much funnier I found it to be than “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” And as I think to myself, I believe the reasoning comes down to one word I had going into “Guardians 2” but lacked for “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” Expectations.

If it were the beginning of 2017, I would have watched the first trailer (not the teaser, but the trailer) to “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” multiple times. I was really looking forward to that film, and part of me thought it was actually going to surpass the original movie because it looked HILARIOUS. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t even that fun. I mean, it was trying to be, but I didn’t feel like I was having fun. I was instead feeling like I was going through a two and a half hour long toy commercial for Baby Groot with attempts at humor that seemed to land with most of the audience, but not me. I will have you know, I watched that movie twice, and the second time I laughed more than the first one. Maybe I was in a better mood the second time because I wasn’t sitting towards the end of the front row of a crowded IMAX, but it just didn’t impress me. Also, my original 6/10 score went down to a 5/10. The first “Ant-Man” was a movie that I thought was one of the funnier ones in the MCU, but the thing about the first “Ant-Man” is that it’s not really marketed to be comedic. OK, maybe it technically is, but it’s more focused on delivering action than anything else. It’s not the full scale balls to the wall action-comedy that “Guardians of the Galaxy” is. Both “Ant-Man” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp” are pretty hilarious at times, and you do get the light vibe you might find in certain comedies in the marketing for both films. Although for both films, I didn’t exactly come for the comedy, I came for the action and superhero stuff. This might make the comedy somewhat funnier because you as an audience member don’t expect humor all that much. In fact, this may be why I find “Avengers: Infinity War” to be one of the funniest movies in the MCU and possibly the funniest comic book movie ever made. In a movie that is advertised to be super dark and the exact opposite of happy-go-lucky, a part of you might come in and expect some lightheartedness or comedy to take a back seat. No way hosay! When it’s delivered in that movie, it totally blends in with the moment despite having a story that is meant to be dark. Maybe it’s also because I as an audience member have been following the storyline for the MCU for a long time therefore allowing me to care more about everyone in the film, but it’s just an interesting blend of light and dark. Also, sticking to “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and expectations, let me just remind you that those were something which I lacked prior to and during my experience of watching the movie.

Before we get into my verdict there is one thing I want to go over, and that is the end credits. There is a mid-credits scene and a post-credits scene. The mid-credits scene is more important if you’re a follower of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its overall story. In fact the post-credit scene is probably so pointless that it only exists for the sake of putting on that “Such and such will return” thing at the end of every Marvel movie, but in case you feel that end credits scenes are a necessity to sit through, this is your notification to stay for them. One more thing, I think personally that the mid-credits scene might be better than the entirety of this movie. I felt more emotion (maybe for the most part) for everyone in that scene than I did during “Ant-Man and the Wasp” itself, so that says something right there.

In the end, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is not really up to the quality I would expect for a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. It’s not to say that “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is an abomination, but it’s certainly not a movie I would think about for days. I thought it was more fun than “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” but keep in mind, I had high expectations for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” While there are definitely movies that I thought would blow more than “Ant-Man and the Wasp” would this year, I didn’t think this particular film would be all that great. The trailers underwhelmed me, and it just didn’t have the same epic feel that the first movie’s trailers provided at various points. Would I recommend “Ant-Man and the Wasp?” Despite having some fun here and there, I wouldn’t say rush out immediately, but I do recommend the mid-credits scene. That’s just me though. I’m gonna give “Ant-Man and the Wasp” a 6/10. Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I’m gonna have my review up for “Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation,” I just watched the movie for the second time and I’m gonna be going over my thoughts on it in preparation for the franchise’s new movie coming out on July 27th, “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Ant-Man and the Wasp?” What did you think about it? Or, which of the two “Ant-Man” movies do you like better? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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