After the bleak ending to Avengers: Infinity War (Part One), and the ongoing noir of the Netflix series, Marvel needed to break for a few laughs, and so, we get a sequel to the 2015 film about size-changing heroes whose corner of the MCU pays a little more attention to the Rule of Funny.

Title: Ant-man and the Wasp

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Director: Peyton Reed
Writers: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari

Paul Rudd as Scott Lang / Ant-Man
Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne / The Wasp
Michael Peña as Luis
Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym
Hannah John-Kamen as Ava / Ghost
Walton Goggins as Sonny Burch
Bobby Cannavale as Paxton
Judy Greer as Maggie
T.I. Harris as Dave
David Dastmalchian as Kurt
Abby Ryder Fortson as Cassie
Randall Park as Jimmy Woo
Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet Van Dyne / Wasp I
Laurence Fishburne as Dr. Bill Foster
Divian Ladwa as Uzman
Goran Kostic as Anitolov
Rob Archer as Knox
Sean Kleier as Agent Stoltz
Benjamin Byron Davis as Agent Burleigh
Michael Cerveris as Elihas Starr
Riann Steele as Catherine Starr
Dax Griffin as Young Hank
Hayley Lovitt as Young Janet
Langston Fishburne as Young Bill
RaeLynn Bratten as Young Ava
Madeleine McGraw as Young Hope
Stan Lee as Old Man

Premise:

Scott must break parole and suit up when several people come after Pym’s technology, which would be, after all, world-altering, but in the MCU only gets used by a couple of superheroes. Adversaries include government agents, former associates, a tortured supervillain, and a band of incompetent criminals.

High Points:

The MCU works in part because each movie goes in its own direction with superheroes. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a superpowered spy thriller. Jessica Jones is metahuman noir. The original Ant-man is a comedy heist flick, with superheroes.

This film comes the closest to just being an old-school comic book, the sort you bought off the rack at the drug store in summer, translated to film. Impossible tech drives the plot, simplified personalities define the characters, allies and adversaries banter wittily during battles, and references tie the story to previous adventures. Extended action sequences occur that should kill hundreds or even thousands, but don’t. Ant-man and the Wasp gleefully celebrates action movie physics and comic-book science. Pym’s lab features the contemporary equivalents of the preposterous machinery Jack Kirby loved to draw. The plot is kid-friendly, but wildly convoluted, almost as though it resulted from comic improvisation. On its own level, the film makes for passable summer entertainment.

Low Points:

The film revisits the best elements of its predecessor without improving or finding anything more. It revisits the same basic visual gags and spectacle. Its cleverly choreographed chase sequences run a little too long. People expecting more Ant-man and a lot more Wasp won’t be disappointed, but they won’t see anything new or memorable.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6

Effects: 6/6 They have overloaded this film with effects, including size-shifting heroes and objects, elaborate action sequences, CGI ants and tardigrades, psychedelic odysseys, and more, and they have spared no expense.

Story: 4/6

Acting: 5/6

Production: 6/6

Emotional Response: 4/6 Turn off your brain. This movie intends to be family-friendly summer fun (though Ghost is a bit disturbing as a character). If you want to maintain the feeling, however, leave before the mid-credits sequence, which reminds us that the MCU recently took a dark turn, apparently, right after the ending of this story.

Overall: 5/6

In total, Ant-man and the Wasp receives 32/42.