Another Marvel movie hits the big screen just two months after the gargantuan blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War. Ant-Man and the Wasp is the twentieth Marvel entry and sequel to the 2015 Paul Rudd-led vehicle.  So where does the franchise go after the dire consequences of Infinity War? Well, backward. Ant-Man and the Wasp is an easy breezy, cool adventure that takes place right before the events of Thanos’ arrival. It’s an unwarranted sequel that has enough action and humor to overcome its rather forgettable story.

Paul Rudd returns as the titular character. He is under house arrest due to the events of Captain America: Civil War. He spends most of his day bored- looking forward to spending time with his daughter. But the movie shifts the focus to his sidekick and love interest Hope Can Dyne played by Evangeline Lilly. She and her father (Hank Pym aka the original Ant-Man) are determined to find her mother who was shrunk so small that she entered the mysterious Quantum Realm decades ago. They have developed some high tech machinery to get into the Quantum Realm but this advanced hardware has caught the eye of a billionaire weapons designer and an intangible menace named Ghost. Hope must recruit her old partner Ant-Man in order to complete her mission.

Ant-Man & the Wasp is much like the first Ant-Man. It’s full of humor, snazzy effects, and a charming cast.  The sequel is strictly for those who like their superhero movies light and fluffy. Some will look at it as a palate cleanser after the doom and gloom of Infinity War while others will see it as a cheesy action comedy. Either way- it’s pure escapism.

Paul Rudd brings to screen his charm and comedic abilities. Much like Chris Pratt, these funny guys turned action heroes continue to aspire choices. Evangeline Lily has much more to do this go around. Most of the fun material goes to Rudd but she gets the best fight scenes. She is the straight man out of the duo laser-focused on her mission while Rudd is bumbling around with a malfunctioning shrink suit. They have good chemistry but the movie could have used more time developing their partnership. All of their pre-Civil War training is just spoken about in throwaway lines.

There are some old faces that return and some new blood in the cast. Michael Pena is the big scene stealer with his zippy delivery and bubbly optimism. Michael Douglas and Laurence Fishburne do their best spouting out ridiculous science fiction jargon that would make any veteran actor cringe. Michelle Pfeiffer returns to the superhero universe since her turn as Catwoman back in the early 90s as the matriarch in distress. It’s a fun cast built of actors from different generations coming together for some escapist fun.

The villains are the weakest part of the movie (which seems to be the case in most of Marvel’s catalog). Walton Goggins’ manic billionaire is pretty bland and comes off like a Jed Clampett knockoff.  Luckily, Hannah John-Kamen’s vanishing Ghost has more to work with. Her disappearing/reappearing abilities work well against Ant-Man and the Wasp‘s instant shrinking powers. But Ghost is not a sinister force and the stakes are so low that even if she gets away with her plan, not much would matter.

Director Peyton Reed’s second go at Ant-Man still feels like an Edgar Wright knock-off. The humor doesn’t land as well as it should and it’s not as focused as say Thor: Ragnarok’s candy-colored franchise deconstruction. Nonetheless, Ant-Man and the Wasp has plenty of nifty effects and sequences that keep the movie going. It’s definitely a weaker entry in the Marvel universe especially compared to their two installments. But even then, it’s still a thrilling popcorn flick for the summer season. And of course , stay through the credits — but you already knew that.