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If you’re looking for the key to how the Avengers gang is going to win the day against Thanos then you’re going to be disappointed with Ant-Man and the Wasp. On the other hand… maybe not.

What director Peyton Reed and the writing team, including Paul Rudd, do in Ant-Man and the Wasp, is present a sequel that has the exact same tone as the original Ant-Man movie but has a few more laughs, and a lot more fun.

After the events of Avengers: Infinity War Marvel Studios cleansed the palate with this light family film (and by family, I mean that family is a recurring theme here).

Peyton Reed, who directed the first Ant-Man film, has a great handle on his small part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He adds a few new elements to this film to keep it fresh, not the least of which is putting Evangeline Lilly in a superhero suit.

I’m probably not alone in wanting to see what they did with Evangeline Lilly’s Hope Van Dyne, and it was worth the wait. She’s dynamic as Wasp. She lends a bit of serious ass-whup to Ant-Man’s fumbling heroics, and her mission-focused drive is a nice balance to the team.

One of the things that Evangeline Lilly was very passionate about is not being perceived as a stick-in-mud while all the boys were having fun. She talked to The Hollywood Reporter about that concern,

“I didn’t want Hope to be that in the movie. It would be so easy with her nature, personality and drive to become the motherly figure that’s constantly scolding the juvenile boys, saying, ‘Now boys, let’s focus, let’s stop goofing around.’ I was just was terrified of the idea of this female superhero who’s meant to represent a modern woman being some kind of horrible stereotype of mommy.”

Evangeline Lilly’s attention to this issue created a competent and effective new hero that is a great role model for girls (and boys).

I don’t want to gloss over how good Paul Rudd is as Ant-Man/Scott Lang. He’s funny. He’s self-deprecating. But he’s also this lovable guy who mostly wants to impress his little girl. As a modern dad, Scott’s shady past aside, he’s a pretty damn good role model too.

The supporting cast is full of good actors. Michael Pena’s gregarious Luis has several memorable moments. But I really enjoyed the expanded presence of Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym. And Michelle Pfeiffer as the original Wasp was groovy.

As for those who were waiting for more on the ramifications of Infinity War, there is a mid-credit scene and a post-credits scene that will give you a brief hint at how things are going with Ant-Man and his crew.

But, if you’re paying attention during the film there’s a lot about the Quantum Realm that’s likely to figure prominently in Avengers 4, and maybe even in the upcoming Captain Marvel movie.

Ant-Man and the Wasp plays out like a minor film, particularly next to the epic powerhouse Infinity War, and the earth-shaking solo nod of Black Panther this year. I doubt if anyone is going to list Ant-Man and the Wasp as their favorite Marvel movie, but so what?

I came out of the movie with a smile on my face. But maybe more important, Ant-Man and the Wasp just made me feel good. It even felt a little old-fashioned, in a good way.

There’s a lot of positive stuff here, and that’s refreshing.

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