Critics Consensus

Ant-Man and the Wasp Is Certified Fresh

Plus, The First Purge isn't entirely successful, and Sorry to Bother You, Whitney, and HBO's Sharp Objects are also Certified Fresh.

by | July 5, 2018 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we’ve got a quest in the Quantum Realm (Ant-Man and the Wasp, starring Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly) and violence in the streets (The First Purge, starring Lex Scott Davis and Y’Lan Noel). What are the critics saying?

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) 88%

Ant-Man and the Wasp marks the 20th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and for much of the last decade, the blockbuster saga has been a box office-conquering behemoth — a series of nested franchises in constant concentric motion, with an increasingly unwieldy narrative ambition to match its growing financial stakes. It’s all very impressive, but it’s also nice to take a little breather once in awhile and enjoy some good old-fashioned, low-stakes superhero action — and fittingly, that’s just where Marvel’s smallest heroes come in. This sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man reunites audiences with titular hero Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), still working alongside Hope van Dyne, a.k.a. the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), and her dad Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). This time out, the trio seek to rescue Hope’s mom Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the Quantum Realm, all while battling the occasionally intangible Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) — and then there’s the question of where all this ties into the cosmic battle being faced by the MCU’s other heroes in Avengers: Infinity War. That’s a lot of action for a single sequel, and critics say Ant-Man and the Wasp definitely doesn’t lack moving parts, but director Peyton Reed manages to wrangle them all into a fun, funny pause between senses-shattering rounds of the war with Thanos. At a time when superhero cinema seems eager to test the limits of its dramatic stakes, here’s a reminder that smaller stories can be just as satisfying.

The First Purge (2018) 54%

It isn’t at all uncommon for horror movies to slip in some deeper sociopolitical subtext between all the jump scares and the screaming, but the Purge franchise has been a little more open about it than most — which makes sense, given that it takes place in a not-so-distant future in which the United States government has created an annual 12-hour period of sanctioned lawlessness. It’s a premise that lends itself to all sorts of pointed commentary on current events, and with The First Purge, the series doubles down on that aspect of the story by taking audiences back to the beginning — revealing that the Purge essentially got its start as a government conspiracy designed to carry out race- and class-based genocide. That’s a lot for a movie to bite off between bloody set pieces, and while critics say it’s to The First Purge‘s credit that writer and franchise mastermind James DeMonaco doesn’t lack ambition, it’s ultimately too much for this installment to handle. Reviews describe a prequel that has interesting ideas, but can’t balance them against its need for gory action, and while the end result might still satisfy hardcore Purge fans, it doesn’t live up to its own evident goals.

What’s New on TV

Sharp Objects: Miniseries (2018) 92%

A nearly unbearable slow burn, Sharp Objects maintains its grip with an unshakably grim atmosphere and an outstanding cast led by a superb Amy Adams.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

Tag Cloud

DC streaming service Calendar Election Film Schedule golden globes Superheroe Countdown Food Network disaster Box Office mockumentary Mindy Kaling Fantasy quibi nature The Witch Watching Series game of thrones PBS Mystery Dark Horse Comics TV Apple Cosplay Creative Arts Emmys Arrowverse Mary Poppins Returns Drama politics aliens stand-up comedy ratings police drama cooking American Society of Cinematographers Comedy Central Lucasfilm psychological thriller Trivia science fiction GLAAD The Arrangement composers crime dragons Horror TBS movies Sundance Now Winners Country CNN Sundance Captain marvel Year in Review Polls and Games Christmas book Emmys toy story MTV Marvel serial killer diversity Cannes binge Ghostbusters Biopics video BBC America Certified Fresh Fox News Acorn TV 24 frames Comics on TV MSNBC festivals TNT E! E3 political drama Anna Paquin FX spy thriller ABC Family tv talk thriller Quiz series true crime Teen Spectrum Originals Writers Guild of America GIFs Disney streaming service IFC ghosts Premiere Dates facebook See It Skip It theme song Mary Tyler Moore CW Seed based on movie APB Spring TV cops Esquire doctor who New York Comic Con NYCC WGN 007 Ovation RT History historical drama Amazon cats comiccon zombie 45 SDCC Rocky sitcom dramedy revenge 2015 Paramount crossover kids Shondaland Musicals BBC animated Set visit Stephen King Epix Photos spanish language HBO Max anime award winner technology GoT discovery DC Universe Rom-Com harry potter Extras TCA 2017 ESPN VICE Kids & Family crime drama Universal Star Trek TruTV talk show miniseries mutant boxoffice Best and Worst teaser Lionsgate Grammys 20th Century Fox unscripted Crackle Song of Ice and Fire LGBT 2019 Nickelodeon Showtime Pirates LGBTQ social media Music 2016 Columbia Pictures NBC Television Academy TLC Sneak Peek History Family Amazon Prime FXX psycho crime thriller 2017 Binge Guide Adult Swim dceu YouTube Red Mary poppins The CW justice league DirecTV Pride Month Disney Channel 71st Emmy Awards PaleyFest south america Starz Cartoon Network USA Network Tarantino game show zombies President blaxploitation Tomatazos romance foreign Infographic Syfy IFC Films DC Comics finale spain SXSW Film Festival Marathons Black Mirror Sony Pictures X-Men Summer Red Carpet RT21 Opinion adaptation hispanic Nat Geo Reality Competition space TCM FOX TV Land MCU Chernobyl Paramount Network witnail cults 2018 AMC DGA Freeform Awards SundanceTV Holidays Disney Fall TV OWN WarnerMedia Animation CMT Oscars YA Pixar hist Netflix casting El Rey BET richard e. Grant ITV Rock Ellie Kemper comic 21st Century Fox Character Guide Super Bowl Elton John National Geographic YouTube Premium green book robots jamie lee curtis Logo Walt Disney Pictures cars Action Emmy Nominations Peacock Britbox Tumblr latino streaming Shudder Nominations San Diego Comic-Con period drama children's TV USA HBO TIFF CBS Comedy Pop docudrama Hulu Star Wars Martial Arts Bravo zero dark thirty elevated horror Interview Winter TV Video Games Spike strong female leads Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Musical transformers Mudbound Women's History Month Western Podcast Amazon Prime Video Masterpiece Sci-Fi singing competition Reality biography CBS All Access Thanksgiving Rocketman Brie Larson Pet Sematary TCA Chilling Adventures of Sabrina First Reviews Comic Book spinoff adventure Vudu Awards Tour vampires natural history spider-man Toys anthology dc medical drama war VH1 Lifetime Valentine's Day sequel Trailer cinemax First Look what to watch supernatural travel sports Superheroes Trophy Talk Heroines Warner Bros. television ABC A&E