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) 93%

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

Marvel Kids & Family History Mary Tyler Moore Winners FXX TV Lifetime E! vampires Columbia Pictures CBS Nickelodeon Red Carpet ITV Character Guide Marathons 45 FOX Food Network Star Wars zombie Grammys First Look President adventure American Society of Cinematographers Election sitcom Tumblr Trivia DC streaming service transformers NBC GIFs Best and Worst Watching Series ABC Family politics Extras Animation IFC WGN finale dc E3 TCA 2017 Pop cops TCA Rocky TV Land Teen medical drama Netflix war science fiction 2016 Countdown Paramount psycho Winter TV RT History GoT dramedy LGBTQ historical drama Song of Ice and Fire VICE Shudder streaming Musicals Bravo Spike USA Network Writers Guild of America Pirates cults CMT Reality Competition Christmas Interview TBS El Rey Acorn TV PBS jamie lee curtis mutant TNT CBS All Access Year in Review Ghostbusters HBO supernatural Thanksgiving YouTube Premium Starz Emmys Britbox Horror comiccon The CW BET NYCC docudrama discovery DirecTV Walt Disney Pictures Syfy 20th Century Fox TIFF police drama Pixar golden globes DC Comics ABC Action SundanceTV Reality Universal boxoffice social media Hulu Podcast what to watch The Arrangement Tomatazos Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt ESPN Crackle Nat Geo Lucasfilm thriller 2015 Adult Swim Cartoon Network A&E technology Mystery sports Fox News crime thriller Schedule Disney Channel PaleyFest BBC America Freeform cats Epix doctor who Nominations Ellie Kemper binge festivals Logo ratings romance cooking Rom-Com Esquire Shondaland Ovation FX Comic Book Sneak Peek Amazon based on movie OWN Star Trek Western Box Office TruTV Awards Fall TV Video Games 24 frames blaxploitation Valentine's Day cinemax diversity 2017 X-Men Fantasy crime YA anime Showtime unscripted period drama crossover Apple CNN VH1 TCM Sundance Now Premiere Dates Musical IFC Films Superheroe Opinion Set visit Trailer Masterpiece Sony Pictures crime drama CW Seed harry potter Sci-Fi USA Dark Horse Comics APB MTV Rock Martial Arts Infographic San Diego Comic-Con AMC Disney National Geographic Cosplay Toys TLC talk show Certified Fresh Comedy Central Music Creative Arts Emmys dceu Superheroes Calendar Drama robots GLAAD YouTube Red SXSW Holidays aliens Comedy BBC Country 007 Mindy Kaling Warner Bros. spy thriller biography 21st Century Fox Polls and Games Sundance MSNBC travel DC Universe Paramount Network hist serial killer Oscars Spring TV Summer SDCC political drama zombies Super Bowl Biopics See It Skip It singing competition composers Lionsgate Photos justice league