As a sequel to a lightweight Marvel movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp does its job. It’s entertaining and finds a way to work in the necessary connections to the Avengers franchise and the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you skipped the first Ant-Man, or expect to see Ant-Man courting a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, or couldn’t care less about the Avengers, then move along. This movie isn’t for you. If, however, you enjoyed the first Ant-Man flick, wonder why Ant-Man was a no-show in Infinity War, or simply like Paul Rudd (I mean, really, who doesn’t like Paul Rudd?), then take no shame in embracing the family-friendly buzz around Ant-Man and the Wasp. It is summer, after all.
Much of the original cast is back, including Rudd as Scott Lang, a former thief and devoted dad who transforms into a powerfully-petite superhero, Ant-Man, when donning a special suit created by Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). As the sequel opens, Scott is in the final stretch of house imprisonment as part of a plea deal he made with the government. You may (or, like me, may not) remember that Scott kinda broke domestic and international law when he fought alongside ‘Cap’ in Captain America: Civil War. So he’s stuck wearing an ankle bracelet that tracks his every move. But that doesn’t stop Pym and his daughter Hope, aka the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) from recruiting Scott for an urgent new mission that could help unlock secrets from their past. Together, the little dynamic duo of Ant-Man and the Wasp must battle the bad guys and find a way to get Scott home before the Feds can bust him for unsanctioned superhero activities.
Peyton Reed reprises his role as director, sticking to the same tone and pacing that made the first Ant-Man a popular addition to the MCU. The supporting cast is solid. And Rudd is definitely in his wheelhouse playing the flawed yet charming Ant-Man character (as opposed to his recent, less celebrated role in what should have been a fascinating movie but wasn’t, The Catcher Was a Spy.)
Some elements of the plot will be lost on those who aren’t tracking the greater MCU narrative. But that’s how this franchise rolls. In 2015, I called Ant-Man “Iron Man light.” The same holds true for Ant-Man and the Wasp. It doesn’t sting, or sing. It’s simply a solid, entertaining PG-13 action-adventure flick for summer that puts a satisfying enough lid on the 2018 slate of Marvel movies.
Note: This being a Marvel movie, there are of course two post-credit scenes. The first one is definitely worth waiting around for. The second, not so much.