Ant-Man and the Wasp

Ant-Man and the Wasp reviews praise light, smart escape from superhero heaviness

Contributed by
Jun 27, 2018, 12:45 PM EDT

While the first Ant-Man was perhaps the lightest and least impactful of the Marvel movies, its sequel promised far-reaching consequences — or at least plenty of scientific buggery. Ant-Man and the Wasp also had the added benefit of introducing Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp as an equal super-force to be reckoned with throughout the sequel’s action.

They get into some quantum nonsense, take on Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), and find out what it means to be a super team — a refreshingly simple series of tasks considering everything that went down in Infinity War.

So does the second adventure of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope van Dyne (Lilly) — alongside Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), and Lang’s cadre of former criminals — hold up to the shrinking, heisting, and otherwise exciting antics of the first?

According to Rotten Tomatoes, the film is sitting (as of this posting, when it's admittedly at its most volatile) at an 89% fresh rating.

But let’s dig into what some of the critics are actually saying:

***WARNING! Possible spoilers for Ant-Man and the Wasp ahead***

Owen Gleiberman wrote for Variety that the film is full of “pleasingly breakneck, now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t surreal glee.” The “cunningly swift and delightful comedy of scale” allows returning director Peyton Reed to show off his newfound ability to “operate the heavy machinery of a Marvel superhero movie yet keep it all light and fast and dizzying.” Gleiberman is also a fan of the “throwaway” plot which may be a breath of fresh air for MCU fans exhausted from how dismal and cosmic everything has been lately.

According to Uproxx’s Mike Ryan, that’s exactly why the film succeeds. He calls the movie “a two-hour mental break when a lot of people could need a mental break.” That could refer to external circumstances or the internal machinations of the superhero industry. Ryan also praises Reed’s ability to infuse scenes with care and humor, explaining that “there’s nothing really edgy or cool about Ant-Man and the Wasp, it’s just this nice story filled with people who at the end of the day want to be good.” The promise that Ant-Man and Wasp would be equal partners is fulfilled, as "both heroes get about the same amount of action time” during the “nice dopamine hit” of the film.

Susana Polo, for Polygon, was even more pleased with the film, calling it “the funniest Marvel movie ever.” She calls the film less a superhero movie and more a “sci-fi action comedy, like Flubber but with more car chases and kidnapping.” That spells fun, especially since its relationship to the rest of the MCU is far lighter than promised. To Polo, this was a refreshing approach. With the silly super-science, strong sympathetic emotions, and breakneck pace as strong points, Ant-Man and the Wasp is close to Thor: Ragnarok on the scale of sheer comic-ness.

Someone who wasn’t quite as sold on the film was Bilge Ebiri of Village Voice. He liked the movie, but says it couldn’t compare to the first. Missing the “lo-fi irreverence” of Reed’s first go-around, his enjoyment of the film was bogged down by the “cumbersome, uninteresting plot” that other critics simply ignored or chalked up to a meaningless MacGuffin. Ebiri still finds the performances charming in the midst of the mounting inconsequence, but finds the film simply overloaded. “It’s disjointed, and cluttered, but it’s also entertaining in spurts,” he concludes.

Here's what other critics are saying: L.A. Times' Justin Chang calls it "a movie of fast, fleeting pleasures" while Consequence of Sound's Caroline Siede applauds that the Rudd-penned film "roots its comedy in the goofy good-heartedness that has long been his signature." Everyone seems to agree with Mashable's Angie Han that the film "is the chaser we needed after Infinity War.

It sounds like there’s something to be enjoyed in Ant-Man and The Wasp regardless, and fans can see for themselves when the film opens wide on July 6.