‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ Hailed by Critics as Creative, Confident Marvel Sequel

Peyton Reed, Paul Rudd, and the film’s cast have shaken off their rookie awkwardness

Last Updated: June 27, 2018 @ 8:49 PM

Thanos won the “Infinity War.” Half of the universe is dead. Sounds like a great time for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to have a small-scale comedy, right?

Taking place just prior to the shocking events of the latest “Avengers” film, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is the sequel to 2015’s mildly received “Ant-Man,” and critics say that this follow-up shows a cast and director with more confidence and creativity. With 61 early reviews logged, Rotten Tomatoes currently gives the film a score of 90 percent.

Reviews have praised Peyton Reed for showing his increased experience in blockbuster filmmaking and returning actors Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas for settling into their roles as the two titular shrinking superheroes and their mentor, former Ant-Man Hank Pym.

Critics describe the film as a nice change of pace after the universal-scale catastrophes of “Infinity War,” and that the mid-credits scene holds a major clue to how Ant-Man will play a role in next year’s “Avengers” film. “For audiences who like Marvel movies at their tongue-in-cheekiest, this sequel provides some breezy fun,” TheWrap’s own Alonso Duralde wrote.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” hits theaters July 6. Check out some of what other critics are saying in the pull quotes below.

Ashley Menzel, We Live Entertainment

“‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ works so well because it is very self-aware. It knows the type of film it is and the type of film it isn’t. It is undoubtedly a laugh-out-loud blockbuster superhero movie that will entertain audiences and provide a much-needed break to all the drama happening elsewhere in the Marvel Universe after ‘Avengers: Infinity War.’ Paul Rudd breathes life into Scott Lang and gives us a superhero that feels authentic and more human, therefore more relatable.”

Matt Goldberg, Collider

“The lightweight tone makes ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ a film that’s always in danger of floating away, but it holds you just enough with its goofy charm and inoffensive tone. It’s a movie that just wants to make you smile and give you a sensible chuckle, and you could do far worse when it comes to the goals of a blockbuster picture.”

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“The thrill of the film is watching Ant-Man and the Wasp team up and raise hell together. Rudd is a winning combination of sass and sincerity. And it’s a kick to watch Lilly break out and let her star shine. She hasn’t had a part this juicy since she played Kate Austen on Lost; her smarts and screen presence lift the movie over its rough spots.”

Justin Chang, LA Times

“Happily, we get to spend a lot more time in [the Quantum Realm], which — not unlike previous capers including ‘Doctor Strange’ and the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ movies — pushes the typically polished, professional-looking Marvel aesthetic in a more adventurous visual direction. To behold this world, invisible to the naked human eye but dazzlingly amplified on the screen, is marvelously transporting: Who hasn’t dreamed of swimming in rainbow sherbet?”

Alex Abad-Santos, Vox

“‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ is an airy, nimble piece of filmmaking: Reed’s confidence to unapologetically embrace weirdness — like imagery of ants playing drums or responding to telepathic commands — gives the franchise its distinctly playful spirit. His stars, Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly, reprise their roles and further energize Marvel’s most lovable romance. And the action sequences, with their constant, dynamic manipulation of size and scope, are as creative as they are thrilling.”

Darren Frainch, Entertainment Weekly

“The script has five credited screenwriters, including Rudd. You get the feeling one of them wrote the plot on the back of the napkin, and the other four got hired to make fun of the first guy. Not a bad instinct. Part of what made ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ so great was the sense that you were watching a great defacement of the whole ‘Thor’ idea. But Ragnarok had a whimsical sense of humor sprinkled atop a decadent retro-junk style. Ant-Man and the Wasp stumbles by trying to take itself even half-seriously. Poor Hannah-John Kamen looks stranded as the notional super-baddie, the space-phasing Ghost. Sad flashbacks, bad attitude, lame powers: She’s the most boring villain since that time Thor punched some elves.”