Wow, Dr. Pym, like, who would have thought that, once again, in your hour of need, that you would turn to us? You know?
A lot of people thought 2015’s Ant-Man was a pretty insubstantial entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I personally happened to like it quite a lot, but here’s a warning: if you thought Ant-Man was light, you’re going to be amazed when Ant-Man & the Wasp just floats right off the screen and evaporates into a fine mist right in front of you. Ant-Man & the Wasp is as wispy a piece of cinema as I’ve seen in recent memory. Maybe that seemed like the only way to go after the jam-packed Infinity War, but anyway, it doesn’t work. I somewhat facetiously said that this movie tried to solve the MCU’s perceived “villain problem” by just not having a villain at all; I was being facetious, but only a little, I think. The original Ant-Man was a romp certainly, but this movie might as well be a farce, only it doesn’t really have the energy for that. This isn’t to say the movie is bad exactly. The movie is decent & good natured and Rudd & Douglas are both still appealing and charismatic in a way that gets chuckles out of even some pretty bad jokes. Michael Pena is still a lot of fun and David Dastmalchian gets some laughs out of his fears that he’s being hunted by Baba Yaga, the Russian boogeyman. Of the other characters, most everyone is wasted. When a movie can waste Laurence Fishburne, Walton Goggins, Randall Park and Michelle Pfeiffer, it just kind of seems to not be trying. Only Hannah John-Kamen really feels like an actual character and gives an actual performance. She brings a sense of real suffering to Ghost and it’s the one emotion, other than glib humor, that feels at all genuine; she’s a great grounding force, bringing some actual heft to the proceedings whenever she’s on screen. Anyway, it’s the first MCU movie I’ve not recommended in . . . years now. There’s just enough fun to keep it from getting a full on recommendation against, but it doesn’t even get a conditional recommendation. What charms it has, thanks to some clever humor, dissolves like cotton candy well before the credits arrive. 2 ½ stars.
tl;dr – good-natured movie has some charm, but it’s as insubstantial and unsatisfying as cotton candy; lacks the charm and rough & tumble energy that elevated the original, but mostly harmless. 2 ½ stars.