Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Another tech demo for Disney’s deageing software, predictably more impressive than the previous efforts. There’s some good ideas at play here – the occasional visual inventiveness tied to the shrinking/growth concept, a smaller-scale adventure with no world-ending stakes, a remarkably positive depiction of a girl’s family comprised of both a supportive stepfather and biological parents, who all get on and all shower unconditional affection on their daughter.

But the film is just so lifeless, rudderless, pointless. The washed-out colours, all that grey…the plodding plot (how much revolves around airless car chases?), the lazy ambling around the rescue premise. There’s a few good gags but most are just based off Paul Rudd’s charisma, and there are too few for a film aiming at light-heartedness like this. It’s one of the most forgettable, aimless films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but unlike even the regularly derided “Thor: The Dark World”, it lacks any distinctive visual style, or sense of setting. Workmanlike and obligatory “trippy” micro-dimension sequences inspire even less wonder than copying “Inception” in “Doctor Strange” did.

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Still, the inherent likability of most of the cast (Michael Douglas never really seems to settle the tone of his character, but all else do a fine job) keeps it a breezy and mostly pleasant experience. Evangeline Lilly is wasted to the point of laughability; just putting her character’s name in the title validates little, and ends up feeling like lip service for a character even more underutilised than her peers. That’s what the film is, really. A waste of potential but mostly inoffensive enough it’s hard to feel anything, let alone irritation, at it. Two giant seagulls, and a Tim Heidecker cameo.

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