The best part about the Ant-Man story is that it stands apart so well from the rest of the Avengers series. You could watch them as standalone films better than just about any other in this cinematic universe.
Among a Marvel franchise filled with narcissistic individuals, Ant-Man as a character shows actual vulnerability unlike anyone else. Simply put, he’s the most regular guy in the series.
In the first Ant-Man, Paul Rudd deals with getting access to a superhero suit that makes him the size of an ant. In this one, however, he hardly uses the suit for this purpose. Mostly using it to get bigger instead.
After almost two years of being under house arrest for helping the Avengers, Scott Lang/Ant-Man is approached by Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) to help them get back Hank’s wife from the quantum realm, a subatomic world which was previously thought of as inescapable. But since Scott had entered into the quantum realm and escaped, they think he may have the answers.
Meanwhile, they face a villain in the form of Ava Starr (Hannah John-Kamen), who needs Dr. Pym’s technology and access to the quantum realm to cure her molecular instability. Pym fears that helping her will, in turn, kill his wife. Starr is perennially unrealistically unreasonable to anything anyone says, which gets annoying. Now Marvel thinks that every villain has to have a deep motive, trying everything they can to stay true to their course–even being unreasonable when they don’t have to be.
While its predecessor felt like an action movie with comedic elements, this one definitely feels like more of a straightforward comedy. For better or worse. In the previous film there were less jokes, but the ones there were very good. The filmmakers seemed to be a little more picky. This movie has significantly more jokes and often times they fall flat. As though they couldn’t decide which ones to cut.
Rudd is superb, as always. He does a great job at not being overly verbose with his comedic riffs, keeping his jokes within the confines of the story. He possesses a different kind of humor than the rest of the Avengers. It’s more fun and less based on arrogance. The Marvel Universe needs his earnest goofiness. But Michael Peña, who plays his friend Luis, gets a little too much dialogue. Where in the first film he wasn’t this overused.
But both movies try to serve the same purpose. After watching Avengers: Infinity War a few months prior, the plot in Ant-Man and The Wasp just doesn’t seem quite as dire. We can relax a little. And I guess that might be the point from a viewer’s perspective. Ant-Man and The Wasp is a lot of fun with the right amount of stress.
I don’t know what’s worse: the impracticality of winning a battle when the odds are really low, or the predictability of winning a battle when the odds are really high. Either way, Ant-Man and the Wasp tries to find a middle ground, even though juxtaposed to Infinity War, the predictability does rid away some of the suspense.