After the bleak ending to Avengers: Infinity War (Part One), and the ongoing noir of the Netflix series, Marvel needed to break for a few laughs, and so, summer 2018 gets an Ant-man sequel, set in a corner of the MCU that embraces the Rule of Funny.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) must break parole and suit up when several people come after Hank Pym's (Michael Douglas) technology, which would be, after all, world-altering, but here only gets used by some superheroes. Joining him is the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) and a large supporting cast. Adversaries include government agents, former associates, a tortured supervillain, and some incompetent freelance criminals.

Each Marvel movie has its own direction and tone. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a superpowered spy thriller. Jessica Jones is metahuman noir. The original Ant-man is a comedy heist flick, with superheroes.

This film comes the closest to being an old-school comic book, the sort you bought off the rack in summer. Impossible tech drives the plot, simplified personalities define the characters, and allies and adversaries banter wittily during battles. Director Peyton Reed's extended action sequences should kill hundreds or even thousands, but people seemingly survive. Ant-man and the Wasp gleefully celebrates action movie physics and comic-book science. Pym's lab features the contemporary equivalent of the preposterous machinery Jack Kirby loved to draw. The plot is wildly convoluted, almost as though it resulted from comic improvisation. On its own level, the film makes for passable summer entertainment.

The film, however, revisits the best elements of its predecessor without presenting anything more. It revisits the same basic visual gags and spectacular effects. Its cleverly choreographed chase sequences run a little too long. People expecting more Ant-man and a lot more Wasp won't be disappointed, but won't find anything new or memorable.

299 words