The first reviews are in for Marvel's Ant-Man & The Wasp. Early social media reactions to the Ant-Man sequel have been by and large positive, which is encouraging. It's been a big year for Marvel Studios already, between the Marvel Cinematic Universe turning ten, and both Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War becoming massive pop cultural events. For related reasons, the sillier and more standalone Ant-Man & The Wasp promises to provide audiences with a breath of fresh air, while wrapping up the MCU's film slate for 2018 on a more upbeat note than Infinity War.
That's not to say Ant-Man & The Wasp isn't relevant to the larger arc of the MCU. The movie takes place before Infinity War and focuses on Scott Lang, Hope van Dyne, and Hank Pym's attempt to finally rescue Janet van Dyne (Hope's mom and the original Wasp) from the Quantum Realm. While that story is mostly self-contained in nature, it will serve to get the movie's characters into place for next year's Avengers 4. It sounds like the film does its job well at that, based on what critics are saying thus far.
Ant-Man & The Wasp was directed by Peyton Reed, who (naturally) was keen to top his efforts on the first Ant-Man with the sequel. It seems that he succeeded too, thanks in no small part (pardon the wording) to Evangeline Lilly as Hope, who co-headlines the second Ant-Man film alongside Paul Rudd as Scott. For more on that, read these SPOILER-FREE Ant-Man & The Wasp review excerpts (with links to the full reviews included).
Molly Freeman - Screen Rant
All in all, Ant-Man and the Wasp represents Marvel Studios at its best. The movie balances exciting action, well-timed humor, and a heartfelt emotional storyline to great effect, letting the heroes shine in their own unique way while also tying the movie into the larger MCU. After the weighty and stuffed team-up that was Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp provides a return to form for Marvel.
Meg Downey - CBR
Above all else, Ant-Man and The Wasp is yet another in the MCU’s winning streak. It’s not quite a heist movie, not completely a romcom and not totally an action-adventure, but instead delights in dancing between genres. Its comedy is wonderfully offbeat, its heart is huge and emblazoned on its sleeve, and its intentions are wildly optimistic and bright. It’s so bright, in fact, that it may help to soothe that Infinity War ache, if only for a little while.
Laura Prudom - IGN
Boasting some of the most creative action scenes and finely-calibrated comedy in the Marvel universe so far, Ant-Man and The Wasp doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it certainly knows how to make the ride even more fun. After the doom and gloom of Infinity War, this savvy sequel is a welcome change of pace, and a reminder that the MCU is malleable enough to tackle just about any genre and tone without losing its sense of identity.
Angie Han - Mashable
The stakes are small, in that the fate of the world never hangs in the balance. The drama is low-key, since most of the personalities are. The jokes are hilarious, because this is a cast who knows how to make a gag land. It's comfy. It's easy. It's as warm as an old blanket knit by your grandma, and as chill as a Sunday afternoon spent catching up with your longest friends. And I don't know about you, but in these apocalyptic times - both onscreen and off - a bit of that sweetness and light is just what I need.
Dan Jolin - Empire
But as massive as Scott grows - or as wibbly as things get in the mercurial jellybean hurricane that is the Quantum Realm - the film still feels comparatively minor and light-hitting. There’s no getting away from the fact that Ant-Man And The Wasp, as fun as it is, lacks the sheer, mind-blowing heft of Infinity War. Or, for that matter, the scope and thematic muscle of Black Panther. Or the all-the-way-out-there, inventive deliriousness of Thor: Ragnarok. In this new era of Marvel over-achievement, it really does feel like a lesser work.
Todd McCarthy - THR
The result is an effects-laden goofball comedy in which anything goes and nothing matters. Not that this is an entirely plot-free extravaganza or just an excuse for comic riffs. But the filmmakers are so cavalier about the idea that any of this is supposed to make any sense that there's a certain liberation in not burdening two human-brained insects with the fate of the entire universe. If the filmmakers don't pretend to take the proceedings too seriously, you don't have to either.
Owen Gleiberman - Variety
In “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” [director Peyton] Reed keeps the entire movie - one-liners, Macy’s Parade effects, hand-to-insect-wing combat - spinningly aloft. Always an inspired director of comedy (“Down with Love,” “Bring It On”), Reed has learned how to operate the heavy machinery of a Marvel superhero movie yet keep it all light and fast and dizzying. His combat scenes don’t overpower. They’re well spaced out and actually make visual sense...
Rodrigo Perez - The Playlist
“Ant-Man & The Wasp” somehow manages to organize laughs, action, theme, small MCU connections and even fairly touching ideas about family, responsibility and what it means to be a hero all housed inside of an undersized blockbuster. It never reinvents the wheel and it might even be a little slight, but for what it is and based on its own merits “Ant-Man & The Wasp” proves size is relative and always in the tiny eye of the beholder.
On the whole, critics seem to feel that Ant-Man & The Wasp makes for an agreeable palate cleanser after the universe-threatening stakes of Infinity War and the dramatic heftiness of Black Panther. It appears the sequel further benefits from Reed's gained experience behind the camera, resulting in some of the more inventive and funny set pieces featured in an MCU movie thus far. Even the more tepid critical responses note that the sequel is a noticeable improvement on its predecessor, not only in terms of spectacle, but its emotional core and story as well.
The other thing that most of these reviews agree on is that Ant-Man & The Wasp is not really mandatory viewing for those who want to stay up to speed on what's happening in the MCU, ahead of next year's one-two punch of Captain Marvel and Avengers 4. In this case, however, that arguably comes as refreshing news. Given just how sprawling the MCU's overarching narrative has become at this stage, Ant-Man & The Wasp sounds all the more appealing because it's a silly yet heartfelt superhero adventure - one that mostly stands on its own and features multiple great female characters, no less.
Source: Various [see the above links]
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019