A playful antidote to the emotionally devastating finale of Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel Studios’ next-up superhero saga is a joy to watch on the big screen, packed with light-hearted humor, narrative momentum and feisty action. A marked improvement over its origin-story predecessor, and on par with Thor: Ragnarok and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Paul Rudd/Evangeline Lilly starrer is a highly entertaining popcorn flick that serves as a diversion from the summer heat — and from our increasingly unsettling authoritarian reality.
Director Peyton Reed’s follow-up to his 2015’s Ant-Man is a much more assured film that effectively mines his comedy experience and ups the ante with a deft mix of storytelling, action sequences, concept creativity and character chemistry. Not beholden to the constraints of origin-story requirements, this bigger, bolder new endeavor happily spreads its wings by adding Lilly’s refreshingly capable Hope van Dyne/Wasp heroine to the mix with a personal family story of rescue and redemption pitted against larger stakes.
Going for broke with lots of nifty riffs on sight gags of extreme sizes, massive and minuscule, the film still manages to keep its characters’ emotional priorities straight. The crackling ensemble cast is really what makes the fine-tuned Ant-Man and The Wasp click, and the Wasp is a welcome addition to the MCU pantheon — the first female superhero to get equal billing in a Marvel title.
Peyton ReedPaul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Michael Douglas, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Abby Ryder Fortson, Tip T.I. Harris, David Dastmalchian, Michelle PfeifferChris McKenna & Erik Sommers, Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari, and Paul RuddKevin FeigeWalt Disney Pictures