SPOILER FREE REVIEW: Ant-Man And The Wasp Aims Small, Hits Big

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Ant-Man and the Wasp is a great movie that satisfies and surprises; every joke lands (and there are a lot of them), every action scene wows (and there are a lot of those, too), and it answers all your Infinity War questions (ok, there’s really only one of those.).

Normally, in a superhero movie, if the villain gets away it means the end of the world as we know it, but in Ant-Man and the Wasp, if the villain got away, I’m not sure society’s status quo would change that much… and that’s ok. In fact, that’s great! We live in a time where it seems like every trip to the theater involves an earth-shattering threat, so it’s wonderfully refreshing, if not a touch confusing, to sit through a superhero movie with simple goals that succeeds. It’s hard to make a good action movie, it’s even harder to make a good comedy, and it’s near impossible to make a good action movie funny, and yet, sitting in my seat shoveling popcorn into my face, that is exactly what I watched.

I’m guessing Director, Peyton Reed, and writers, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, and Paul Rudd, followed a few simple rules:

  • Make every scene funny.
  • Make every action scene fun.
  • Keep the story moving/stay tight.
  • Go back and make every scene funnier.

They tick off every box twice, and hit number 1 & 4 three times (of these rules I just made up in my head.)

More than an action movie, more than superhero flick, this is comedy and they made sure that every scene is funny. I mean it. EVERY scene. An opportunity for a joke is never missed, and they all work. Call back jokes all come back multiple times which is very satisfying and every character gets their own scene to shine. Leaving the theatre everyone was quoting each character’s stand-out bit and there are a lot of them!

Speaking of every actor getting their due, this is an ensemble movie where the comedians shine and the heavy acting is grounded and works as a balance and foundation. Paul Rudd, Michael Peña, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, David Dastmalchian are all in top form squeezing the comedic beat out of every line and scene. They work for the laughs, and they work hard, while making it seem like they nailed it on the first take. Evangeline Lilly, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas, and Abby Ryder Fortson also get their share of the comedy, but they are really there to ground the movie by acting their asses off. Their ability to make a moment as real and emotionally impactful as possible is astounding.

The overall plot aims small, the villain(s) want something the heroes have for various, almost personal reasons, and the heroes are trying to achieve something for various, almost personal reasons as well. There is a climactic battle, but the fate of the world doesn’t hang in the balance, just the fates of these characters. In fact, there are a few times when you expect the movie to up the ante, if you will, and put the universe in jeopardy, but it never happens. It’s a bit jarring, but ultimately, deeply satisfying.

The movie isn’t perfect. While the story pacing is fast, the editing sometimes seems too clipped. At times, characters appear in the scene without an entrance or in the middle of a conversation, implying that they shot an entrance and cut it for time. A lot of scenes cut away after a big laugh a heartbeat too early, almost out of rhythm with the scene. Another element that falls by the wayside are character threads, some side stories peter out or just end. Some characters fall by the wayside during the finale. They just stand there… literally, with nothing to do. I’m nitpicking here, while these things are noticeable, they don’t really diminish the movie enough to reduce the enjoyment of a fantastic film experience. Jacob Josefson Womens Jersey

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