Ant-Man and the Wasp

In Cinemas Now

Director Peyton Reed re-teams with Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly and Michael Peña for the follow-up to 2015's Ant-Man, and the first film following the Marvel juggernaut, Avengers: Infinity War.

As Scott Lang (Rudd) struggles to rebalance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he's confronted by Hope van Dyne (Lilly) and Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas) with an urgent new mission.

Not only does Infinity War’s devastating cliffhanger deserve to linger for a while, but Marvel moviegoers are due a respite from cataclysm and tragedy for a minute. Enter director Peyton Reed and goofily heroic Paul Rudd for another Ant-Man, again coming at the exact perfect moment for a hugely entertaining, self-contained scientific scramble.

The movie’s stakes may not be literally world-ending (thankfully), but they are no less heartfelt and important to their characters, and sold in by the cast even when the narrative gets a little unwieldy. Scott Lang (Rudd) wants to preserve his young daughter’s world, dutifully complying with the house arrest he was sentenced to after Civil War so as not to deprive her of her father again. Elsewhere, former partners Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) try to return a long-gone family member (Michelle Pfeiffer) to the land of the living; a mysterious ghost-like opponent (Hannah John-Kamen) seeks reprieve from a terminal prognosis; and a black market technology dealer (Walton Goggins) wants to steal Hank Pym’s cool stuff. Well, three out of four is pretty good.

As with 2015’s Ant-Man, Reed has a bunch of fun playing with visual scale here, and over the two-hour run time it never gets dull to see objects shrink or grow in visually impressive perspective shifts and absurdly comic moments, a malfunctioning suit awkwardly stranding Lang alternately at giant and child-size being just one of many crowdpleasers.

As expected, Rudd sells the gags in note-perfect fashion. He’s happy to quip his way through scenes, but undercuts his cockiness with a self-deprecation missing from the Star-Lords of the MCU, happiest when goofing around with his daughter or toying with authority. His interplay with parole officer Randall Park is constantly hilarious, though Michael Peña scores highest in the side-splitting stakes, in an interrogation scene that’s possibly the funniest Marvel sequence to date.

Just as he’s great at selling humour and drama alongside one another, Rudd’s physical performance convinces in both wackily comic and traditional action scenes - though with the latter, Lilly does as much heavy lifting, if not more so. Hey, there’s a reason the Wasp shares the title of the film, after all, and their rescue mission has just as much importance as Lang’s relationship with his daughter, collectively giving the film heartfelt humanity and dramatic weight, family-friendly but not cloyingly sweet.

With all that going for it, and refreshingly not zero-sum in its conclusion, Ant-Man and the Wasp is the perfect sting in the tail for Marvel movies for the time being. Which reminds me about that stinger...

Empire (UK)

press

There's no getting away from the fact that Ant-Man And The Wasp, as fun as it is, lacks the sheer, mind-blowing heft of Infinity War... In this new era of Marvel over-achievement, it really does feel like a lesser work.

Los Angeles Times

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You might wish the whole movie had found a way to go quantum; you'll certainly long for more Pfeiffer, who has too few scenes but invests each of them with her usual luminosity.

Total Film (UK)

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A blast of pure popcorn fun, and something of a palate cleanser after the weightier likes of Black Panther and Infinity War.

Vulture

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The payoffs aren't plot points but the gags, which somehow defuse the tension without turning the picture into camp.

Variety (USA)

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Ant-Man and the Wasp has a pleasingly breakneck, now-you-see-it-now-you-don't surreal glee. It's a cunningly swift and delightful comedy of scale.

Hollywood Reporter

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This latest entry in the unstoppable Marvel Studios takeover of the world is probably the most amusing film the company has made since the Kevin Feige reign began a decade ago.

Rolling Stone

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The thrill of the film is watching Ant-Man and the Wasp team up and raise hell together.

Vanity Fair

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It seems pretty nice. Would that we could wrestle the rest of the world down to that same agreeable scale.

NZ Herald (Dominic Corry)

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A welcome return to a more grounded superhero movie that positively overflows with charm and wit.

Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)

press

A chilled glass of lemonade after the peaty top-shelf of Infinity War.

A bad TV movie

Lazy, mediocre and way too long.

MariaC

MariaC

user


Totally worth getting a babysitter for.....

I hadn't seen the first Ant-man, but I'd heard wondrous things about this movie. In a nutshell; it was funny, entertaining and Paul Rudd is still hot. I would even see it again, something I rarely say about many movies.

PercyM

PercyM

user


Alright.

It's entertaining, joyful and mostly funny, however lacking distinction at times.

Newt

Newt

user


Little Loose

Paul Rudd and Michael Pena's wit almost elevates Ant-Man and the Wasp to the heights of its predecessor. The dialogue could do with a bit of tightening as it often lurches into mediocre territory. Giving Evangeline Lily a more prominent part is a win for sure though. Overall the movie is enjoyable and charming in its own way but the inevitable comparisons and its rank in the Marvel pantheon of works of late may hurt Ant-Man and the Wasp.