Ant-Man and the Wasp (directed by Peyton Reed again) looks and feels like a quantum leap backwards. It can’t make up its mind whether it wants to go big or stay small. Here’s a clue from its title- Ant-Man- stay small, little guy. Only Gulliver’s Travels managed it both ways, to be splendidly Lilliputian and Brodanaggian all at once.
When it stays small, keeps to the quantum world, a contained plot, silly repartee that qualifies as character development and quaint shrinking special effects, it’s easy to ignore that the whole enterprise is coasting by on charm and continual reminders that it really wants to be a Fantastic Voyage remake. The effects creakiness make them some of the worst rendered in the MCU. Mismatched Hot Wheels to their Hyundai and American SUV and van equivalents and a micro world that look like kaleidoscopic lumps in a broken lava lamp are almost coveruped by the awesome hotness of seeing Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly in their Ant-Man and Wasp outfits.
Bigness doesn’t fit well in an Ant-Man film. The series resolutely never really wanted to be shoehorned into the MCU and big giant Ant-Man is the most oxymoronic phrase in the Marvel world.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is at its best when it stays just the right size.