Part of the philosophy of Franchise Fred is that even if I don’t like a movie, a sequel to it is automatically more interesting because it is building off the history of another movie. This proves true with Ant-Man and The Wasp, but not because it’s the sequel to Ant-Man, rather because it’s the sequel to Captain America: Civil War.
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has been under house arrest since he got caught violating the Sokovia accords. Joining Team Cap also put him at odds with Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lily) since he used their suit without their permission.
This means there’s actually no history between Ant-Man and its sequel. The relationships have not grown since we last saw them. This is a reunion, and because of the bad blood, they’re still bickering throughout the movie. It’s funny that the characters are upset Scott had this Civil War adventure without them, when the real reason they weren’t there is the actors just weren’t contracted to appear in that movie (or Marvel chose not to call on them, or reconsidered in the case of the Wasp). Still, it begins Ant-Man and the Wasp in a more interesting place than just following up on the victorious trio might have been.
There are good visual effects and scale gags. They use small things cleverly. Miniature cars and giant ants are fun. A shrinking car chase is a really inventive use of the effects, and they reveal a new side-effect of the power Ant-Man revealed in Civil War.
Ava (Hannah John-Kamen) is a sympathetic villain. Something happened to her and the audience would like to see that made right too. We can probably understand why she’s gotten so extreme by this point, but we still hope kindness can prevail over her. They establish a good ticking clock with Scott’s house arrest ending in two days. He has to actually be there to get his ankle bracelet removed.
Infinity War had to explain Thanos’s master plan and how all of the characters of the Marvel Universe were involved. Yet I think there may be more exposition in Ant-Man and the Wasp because they have to explain quantum metaphysics and how they affect each character differently. They make sure to undercut it with jokes, but I bet it’s not that complicated. Science made this happen. We believe you.
Ant-Man and The Wasp don’t actually do that much fighting together. It’s more like Ant Man Crosscutting With The Wasp, but at least The Wasp gets her own badass action scenes.
Marvel is really all in on this de-aging technology. There are several characters de-aged for flashbacks. One looks like she actually used to in movies, the other decidedly does not look like he did in earlier movies.
Not only is Ant-Man and the Wasp better than the original, it’s also the best superhero movie with “and” in the title! Oh wait. Well, it’s definitely the best Marvel movie with a female superhero in the title. Okay, these comparisons aren’t working but I liked Ant-Man and the Wasp.