Review: 'Ant-Man and The Wasp' banks on more laughs, as usual

Jul 3, 2018
ant-man and the wasp review

For a franchise so focused on continuity, Marvel’s ‘Ant-Man’ films felt like bottle episodes of a serial. After the cross-over event that is ‘Avengers: Infinity War,’ they are going (sort-of) small-scale in the form of ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp,’ which sees Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang teaming up with Evangeline Lilly’s Hope Pym, thus the titular tandem.

The two, alongside Hope’s father Hank (Michael Douglas), are set to find her missing mother Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) in the quantum realm. Meanwhile, a mysterious figure in the name of Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), the FBI, and the mob will get in their way in the process of completing the mission. 

ant-man and the wasp review

The entire film play around as a two-hour chase sequence. The technology Hank Pym obtains, literally enclosed in a tall building that’s mostly shrunk into trolley-size, makes up for an interesting MacGuffin. And for the larger part, seeing everyone tried to retrieve or steal this are an enjoyable watch. Peyton Reed has a knack for coming up with exciting size-shifting stints for the seemingly endless set pieces, something he improved after directing the first movie. 

ant-man and the wasp review

ant-man and the wasp review

Scott and Hope’s pairing here was a delight to witness on-screen. But the chemistry is not there. The film was so focused on having The Wasp do more of the action after her absence in the last one, leaving Scott’s Ant-Man play around as spectator-in-shock for these and a narratively convenient medium for Janet to deliver exposition/ solution (quantum entanglement, as Hank would refer to). Even the romantic angle the predecessor is trying to set up is (fortunately) thrown away, but at least there should be a nuanced reason why the audience should be excited for this pairing. 

ant-man and the wasp review

However, the ‘Ant-Man’ films are centered on familial dynamics. ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’ partly works because you get to see patriarchal figures (Scott, Hank, and Lawrence Fishburne’s Bill Foster) become a strong force because of their intentions to do what’s best for their daughters. As good as it seems, it also never become complex relationships as the film thrives for a cleaner approach.

ant-man and the wasp review

However, some of the directions the film goes never really works as they are also thriving for comedy every damn time. An important emotional scene in particular ended up becoming a mess because punchlines and gags distracts its serious monologues. For a film with a lot of heart in the form of its character relationships, there’s nothing much to actually care about beyond that. And sequences that got to explore these relationships are put to either rush or out of necessity. 

Ant-Man and The Wasp’ wants to explore a lot, actually. But it also seems to latch on not actually exploring much of it. Its 2-minute post-credit scene honestly feels more exciting than the actual movie. And if that’s the case, you should seriously consider where you should improve on next time. I’m talking to you Marvel. Bring better stories, not better laughs. 

'Ant-Man and The Wasp' opens July 4 in cinemas nationwide.

Photo credits: Walt Disney Studios Philippines

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