If Anpanman made it in to a Marvel franchise, this is one. It’s all friendly neighborhood fights, with neighborhood bad guys and good guys, with neighborhood idiots and geniuses, running around in ever-same soap drama.
Every movie has its own theme. I’m not talking about cinematic analytics. I’m talking about what pulls a film through; what keeps the audience in their seats. Superhero films usually have at least one of the following: character, plot and settings, or just plain action alone. Take Dark Knight, for example. Joker, the antagonist, was the landmark of the film and it did until Two Face picked it up and trashed it. Or take Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, a movie where people associated not with the hero itself, but the environment he goes through. It was the interaction between a hero and the people that made the movie so much likable. And as for the movies that sold only the action, there are just too darn many.
Now I have a question for you. Where does Ant-Man sequel fit in? The answer is, it doesn’t. It can’t. Characters are neighborhood Joes and Jills. They can’t pull the story through. In fact, knowing this movie should land prior to the event of the new Avengers film, the plot starts with a big disadvantage. When it comes to the action, all they ever did was to fly into gangsters or flip the car over, again and again. And this happened, because the movie did not have anything to stand on.
The plot of the sequel is bizarrely simple. It’s a three-sided quarrel between Ant-man and his scientists, Ghost and her scientist, and Burch and his ‘partners’. Because rest of the crews, be it may FBI, fall under one of the three categories. And this war quickly collapses as each side sets their goal in the fight, which in the end, always resolves into superhero’s secret gadget. What is even more irritating is that, even from the beginning, it is not hard to guess the outcome of the fight, and fight does not fall far from the far-fetched guess.
Biggest offense the Ant-man has committed is Janet van Dyne, the quantum psychic goddess from literal quantum machines. We were led to believe even the smartest minds in the movie were thrown in the dilemma: they can heal Ghost, a character with tragic backstory, and lose Janet, a damsel in distress, or save Janet and keep the fingers crossed for Ghost. What actually happened in the movie is that not only they had it both ways, they got their hands on a damsel who immediately turned into all-knowing quantum psychic, who can talk through ESP, calculate quantum physics in her head. Janet is a literal “quantum” goddess from machine. I can only explain what happened in the later film as a cardinal sin against cinematography. She just heals the sinner, poor and needy with no cost, no questions asked.
Comedy wise, it was endless carousel of 4th wall breaking meta-jokes and light-hearted idiots doing the wrong things for stupid reasons. You have more than half a dozen buffoons who can’t answer basic social life questions, and another half a dozen “geniuses” who can’t communicate. By now you would have also noticed there are unusually high references of “quantum” effects. As much as I’d love to argue this was due to sci-fi origin, it wasn’t. Even Antman can’t resist not making a joke about it. The comedy and the plot it generates are too artificial, if it not meant for sitcom.
Conclusion: Avoid, if not for a Guilty Pleasure
Nostalgia Critic (the guy with the glasses) called it “not the grand, epic, just beat ‘em up action superhero movie”. And I believe this is where a lot of people will draw the line; whether they can endure another small stories like it was in the Last Jedi. If you are a fan of Marvel franchise, a fan of Ant-man series, you will enjoy a theatric run experience. It is a solid “theatric episode” of a popular sitcom.
But this is not a good movie on its own. The actions were merely a plot-transition tool, characters are unchanging, and the conflict is resolved with two god-like figures from another realm. It will take a specific taste in specific series to like this.