Ant-Man and the Wasp
Ant-Man and the Wasp 2018
It’s taken me a little while, but with the next MCU movie coming out next week I thought I’d finally catch up with the only Disney Marvel movie that I missed last year. I actually quite enjoyed the first Ant-Man and I was looking forward to this one but for whatever reason I just never got around to it until now. It followed up with the fun of the first movie without going quite as far into the comedy realm as Thor: Ragnarok though it is a little heavier on the comedy than most MCU movies. But what this film really has going for it is the positivity between the characters. There are villains including one who’s the prototypical bad businessman jerk like Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2 or even Darren Cross from the first movie, but there’s no unnecessary negativity outside of the antagonist/protagonist conflict which is actually refreshing. Especially with Scott Lang’s family issues with being a divorced father. It’s a fun movie that expands what is possible with the Ant-Man tech and it’s always nice to have a mostly stand-alone story with only post-credits connections to the other movies.
Honestly, one of the great things about this movie is that even though it’s still called Ant-Man and the Wasp, it pulls the focus less on Scott Lang and more on Hope Van Dyne. Not only that, but the title really has a double meaning. Not only is it about Scott Lang’s Ant-Man working with Hope Van Dyne’s Wasp, it’s also about Hank Pym’s Ant-Man rescuing Michelle Pfeiffer’s Wasp from the quantum realm. That also ties into this film’s positivity. There really isn’t a bad guy that they’re fighting, the entire plot of the movie is centered around rescuing Janet Van Dyne and the villains of the movie aren’t specifically trying to stop them, but they’re after Pym’s lab.
Part of what made the action scenes so great in the first movie was how Scott Lang was new to all of this technology and while he was able to use it effectively, he wasn’t always the most proficient at it. The sequel is able to ramp up the action as Hope is fully capable of using her Wasp suit to her full advantage, and while Scott is more practiced than he was in the first movie, they add the wrinkle that he spends the majority of the movie with a prototype suit that tends to malfunction in comical ways to help keep the underdog tone of the action in the first movie.
There are plenty of strong relationships in this movie and they’re pretty much all positive, or at least end on a positive note. We don’t get to spend a lot of time with Lang’s family, but despite the fact that he’s a divorced ex-con under house arrest, there is zero conflict between him, his ex-wife, and her new husband. He has a great relationship with his daughter, and the strained relationship between Hope and Hank has been repaired so that they are a fully functioning team with a strong father-daughter bond. Even when we get to learn more about the villain of the movie, Ghost, we find that she has a strong relationship with her adoptive father figured Bill Foster. Even though her morals are cloudy, their objective is far from villainous.
Of course, it’s not entirely a perfect movie, one of the biggest complains would easily be the other villain of the movie Sonny Burch. He’s the typical sleazy businessman that we’ve seen plenty of times even just within the MCU. He doesn’t have much in the way of personality or motivation and his entire purpose within the movie seems to just be a series of roadblocks for the heroes. And while Ghost had an interesting look and concept, she ultimately fell a little flat for a villain without a lot of personality going for her. She had a sympathetic backstory, but she spent most of her screen time either wordless or complaining about the pain of her existence. And when all is said and done, she was more or less healed with a simple touch then sent on her way.
But similar to Thor: Ragnarok and even Deadpool to a lesser extent, what this film has going for it the most is the comedy. Paul Rudd is still basically the reluctant hero as he spends most of his time worried about the fallout from his house arrest and feds who are willing to storm his house at the drop of a hat to try and catch him outside. That and his malfunctioning suit gives Rudd some of the best moments in the film like when he’s stuck child-sized at his daughter’s school or even when he’s just doing some random close-up magic because he learned it over the course of his two-years stuck inside his home.
Like many of the other sequels that came out last year, this builds on what came before it, uses what works and ramps things up a notch. We get another great flashback story from Luis, but it’s not overused. The shrinking and growing tech is used to great effect especially with the car chase through the streets of San Francisco. There’s not really anything in the way of new tech, but it’s used more effectively and efficiently which makes sense for just a three year gap between the first and second movies. It was a hell of a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to seeing how Ant-Man and their tech are involved in the next Avengers movie. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.