Small-scale action doesn’t make massive impact (Ant-Man and The Wasp review)

Ant-Man and The Wasp is the latest addition to the MCU, and after the dark, brooding ‘Infinity War’, it was nice to see a return to a lighter side. However, with this also comes a plethora of returning clichés, and by the end of the film, you start to wonder whether Marvel are starting to go stale.

The plot, as per, is fairly by the numbers, but it services just well enough to get our characters from one set piece to the next. Luckily it is saved by the performances, and here we have a whole array of A-Listers working very hard at their job. Paul Rudd is obviously fantastic, Michael Pena steals the show and Michael Douglas is great, though his comic timing is not quite what it was (but that might be down to lazy editing). However, there are also some really awful performances, including Tomb Raider’s Walton Goggins, whose portrayal of an evil businessman belonged in a Dwayne Johnson movie. As well as this, Hannah John-Kamen’s villain was pretty boring, and her snore-inducing exposition scene was a low point of the film (she suffers from ‘Molecular Disequilibrium’ which is just lazy writing).

Filming on location in San Francisco, the film features many recognizable landmarks. Setting car chases along the streets and specifically using Lombard Street was clearly a nod to Steve McQueen’s film Bullitt, and I found this enjoyable to watch. The action and script are all fine, though definitely not as fresh as the first film. Several of the main gimmicks from the first film are copied here, including upscaling a pop culture reference (Thomas the Tank Engine in the first film, a Pez dispenser this time) to the juxtaposing cuts of dramatic small-scale action to the bigger picture where it’s making no impact whatsoever. There are definite ‘2001’ vibes from the Quantum Realm, and all the scenes set in there do feel different are always visually interesting to watch.

Unfortunately, without wanting to, you do find yourself making (perhaps unfair) comparisons to other films. Naturally the film can easily be judged against the other films in the MCU, but I found myself feeling rather indifferent while watching the car chase. The issue for me is that after watching Mission: Impossible Fallout and their incredible practical set pieces, all the ones in this film seem, I hate to say it, lame. It’s mostly just fighting, and when something else does happen, it’s just not that thrilling.

Honestly, the film was enjoyable. But it was just another film that’s the same as the rest of them. What made ‘Infinity War’ interesting was that they changed everything up. Ant-Man and The Wasp simply returned to the old Marvel formula of lighthearted banter, bright colours and interesting enough set pieces. It’s fine, it’s entertaining, but honestly I think the death bell of Marvel may begin to ring soon.

7 Stars

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