Having enjoyed a vast majority of Marvel's superhero output (more so than most) without worshipping them, 'Ant-Man' was a minor effort from them but there was still a good amount to like about it. Despite being positively received by critics, 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' as of now has received also heavy criticism from fans and some Marvel non-fans, so was conflicted in seeing it.
'Ant-Man' and its slightly superior follow-up 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' managed to be better than expected. 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' to me was not as great as critics are saying, but it is also nowhere near as bad as people here have said, while sharing a few of their criticisms. Do like the character of Ant-Man. He is not exactly a household name and is always tossed aside in favour of other superhero characters like Spiderman that have had longer longevity and perhaps have more compelling origins and stories, hence why they are adapted more. Also wasn't sure what to make of the trailer, which made the film out to be rather bland in story and too reliant on humour while being very well made, directed and acted with thrilling action and funny and clever moments.
Seeing it for myself, 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' could have been better and has its faults, ones that are somewhat the same as the first 'Ant-Man' and somewhat what was expected from watching the trailer. The script is mostly fine, but has patchy moments, namely the overly-wordy and sometimes over-complicated jargon and inconsistent humour. While the humour mostly works wonders, there are a few instances where it's not so funny and not very well placed.
Such as in emotional scenes that are actually quite poignant and heart-warming (more so generally than 'Ant-Man')and then interrupted by a joke that is not only forced and unfunny but also not belonging in the scene, though more sporadically thankfully than before. The family scenes are a mixed bag, sometimes they are sweet and touching, the chemistry is more believable here, while at other times they're a little flat and predictable, contributing towards a few rare dull stretches in a film that generally is appropriately lighter in tone and faster paced.
Like many people here, also found the villains underwhelming. Burch is especially pointless and forgettable and only really there because there seemingly needed to be an obligatory villain when actually there could have been just one. 'Thor Ragnarok' and 'Infinity War' only had one major one, and they, especially Thanos were the best villains in the Marvel canon. Ghost fares a little better and is an improvement over Corey Stoll's under-characterised villain in the first 'Ant-Man', her problem was that her back-story was very rushed and didn't feel developed enough. Michelle Pfeiffer is wasted in a very underwritten plot-device role.
On the other hand, 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' is a great looking film, it's beautifully shot, very atmospheric, is very slick and the special effects, are clever and of the usual high-quality Marvel standards. The music avoids being over-bearing, one-note, too quirky or too bombastic, fitting well tone, mood and pace-wise.
Direction is more than competent, keeping the story going at a solid pace and the telling of it interesting enough, though maybe a little more flavour may have been more welcome. While the action is not as much as most Marvel films, it is fun, thrilling, nicely choreographed and tautly shot and edited, especially towards the end. The stuff with sizes was clever visually and interested and entertained while the film is better than a lot of sequels in being consistent in the continuity.
There is some very smart and hugely entertaining scripting and dialogue here in 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' too. While it doesn't work completely seamlessly, 'Ant-Man and the Wasp's humour when it works is some of the funniest stuff of all Marvel films, and the film doesn't take itself too seriously or too much of a joke either, instead not being afraid to embrace the silliness and humour while ensuring still that the subject matter is treated with respect. The truth serum and the feminine side being brought out parts were hilarious.
The story is mostly diverting, it's and the first 'Ant-Man' film are narratively simpler than most Marvel outings and less risks here are taken than most Marvel films but it always makes sense, moments of dullness and jarring are few (while not being completely absent either), it's fun and it doesn't try to do too much or try to insert too many characters.
While not complex as such, the characters are mostly engaging, with the reservations being with the villain and Pfeiffer's character. Paul Rudd is a strong and hugely entertaining lead, while Michael Pe?a's hilarious in a role that could have been really annoying. The seasoned support of a distinguished Michael Douglas adds hugely too, and Evangeline Lilly and Abby Ryder Fortson give the film some much needed heart. Hannah John-Kamon does command the screen and Walton Goggins has an oily presence that is more than what the forgettable and useless character deserved.
Overall, not one of Marvel's best and has its flaws but a good sequel and film with many great things. 7/10 Bethany Cox