Some Random Thoughts on Ant-Man and the Wasp

In no particular order. Spoiler warnings in effect.

Erik’s random thoughts:

  • This was an excellent follow-up to the original Ant-Man, making the story deeper and more complex while keeping the wild fun caper tone.
  • As others have noted, it really should have been called The Wasp and Ant-Man. It’s Hope’s movie. Scott is the sidekick this time around, and that’s great.
  • Although Hope’s Wasp suit is form-fitting, it doesn’t overtly sexualize her in the way a lot of other Marvel women’s costumes do. The same goes for Ghost’s suit. I hope this is a sign of things to come.
  • Luis on truth serum (“It’s not truth serum”) may be the funniest thing to come out of the MCU yet.
  • In a media landscape oversaturated with father-son stories, it was a very welcome change to have a movie about fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, and found family, with nary a father-son story in sight.

 

Eppu’s random thoughts:

  • I found Ant-Man & the Wasp more enjoyable than Ant-Man (which I did like!) in many respects. The pacing felt more even, the villain slightly less corny, the cinematography as good or better, to mention a few.
  • AM&tW also felt more aware of itself in that it actively upended or joked about some conventions (e.g., some of the chase sequences, the long-running truth serum gag, even the name of Scott and Luis’ security company).
  • The antagonist setup was refreshingly different. Instead of one ham hock of a megalomaniac we’re treated to two forces grappling with Scott, Hope, and Hank: a woman trying to cope with years of pain and exploitation, plus a wannabe megalomaniac more in line with the usual cheesy MCU villain. Thankfully, the latter is used sparingly and isn’t allowed to lord it over everyone else.
  • The action sequences did so many funny and inventive things with size. I’ll also hazard a guess that the studio has improved their software since Ant-Man—at least to my untrained eye, the CGI looked smoother.
  • I loved how Cassie, Maggie, and Paxton’s family unit had—literally—embraced Scott. His cardboard fort / tunnel system treasure hunt with Cassie was so awesome! We tend not to see enough fathers enthusiastically play with their daughters on the big screen, let alone in superhero movies, so a big Thank You to the writing team for that.
  • I also loved the amount of screentime Hope got, and that there was no father-son story but a mother-daughter one and two father-daughter stories. You could even argue that Bill and Ava’s relationship amounted to an adoptive/adopted parent-child one (for the lack of a better term), or was moving in that direction by the end.
  • It was a funny flick, too. I sniggered all the way through.
  • Michael Peña’s Luis—oh, man! I don’t know how he can deliver the hyperspeed lines so fluently. He’s amazing! It was also nice to see how the ex-con gang worked together and that Dave and Kurt got a bit more development.
  • There’s one detail that stuck to my mind as a little too close to railroading: the countdown clock on Janet’s rescue window. Although, there’s plenty of Pym particle physics that’s merely handwaved aside, so it’s not like it’s alone in the MCU.
  • Finally, my two cents on the two stingers. The first one gave me the kind of genuine “Oh, shit” reaction that the end of Infinity War wasn’t able to. The second stinger felt cheaper, almost perfunctory.

Image: Ant-Man and the Wasp poster via IMDb

In the Seen on Screen occasional feature, we discuss movies and television shows of interest.

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Ant-Man and the Wasp Trailers

Ant-Man and the Wasp opens July 06, 2018—in about ten days! I didn’t know anything about Ant-Man going into the first movie, and I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. Just on the basis of that, I have high hopes for AM&tW.

This French poster certainly rocks:

IMDB Ant-Man and the Wasp French Poster

Here’s the trailer from January:

Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and the Wasp – Official Trailer #1 by Marvel Entertainment

And one from the beginning of May:

Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and The Wasp – Official Trailer by Marvel Entertainment

Basically the new one is the same as the January trailer except with more info. Still looks like great fun, though.

As for favorite side characters, Michael Peña returns as Luis, Judy Greer as Maggie Lang, and Abby Ryder Fortson as Cassie Lang—it’ll be great to see them all. Laurence Fishburne makes a first-time appearance as Dr. Bill Foster / Goliath. I didn’t realize that Michelle Pfeiffer is in the movie, too—cool cool cool. Hannah John-Kamen I haven’t seen before even though she’s been in Ready Player One and Game of Thrones; at least I don’t remember spotting her as a First Order officer in The Force Awakens.

Also, I just want to officially say that the GINORMOUS HELLO KITTY PEZ DISPENSER IS SO AWESOME! 🙂 😀

Image: Ant-Man and the Wasp poster via IMDB

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Ant-Man’s Unanswered Question

We finally got around to seeing Ant-Man a couple of days ago. I know that movie is so last month and everybody’s moved on to other things, but I have a few thoughts to share. There will be spoilers, just in case you’re even later than me in getting around to this movie.

150820Ant-manI liked Ant-Man. I put it in the middling range of the Marvel moves along with the first and third Iron Man films. It kept me entertained on a hot summer day, it held together a lot better than the noble failure that was Avengers 2, and it didn’t insult me like last summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy. The jokes landed, the characters were interesting, and the story was fun. My strongest impression of the movie, though, is that it kept asking and conspicuously failing to answer one question: Why is Hope not putting on the suit?

The central plot of the movie is the heist to steal and destroy the Yellowjacket weapon prototype before evil corporate genius Darren Cross can unleash it on the world. Inventor Hank Pym recruits good-hearted cat burglar Scott Lang to don the Ant-Man super-shrinking-and-insect-mind-control tech to get the job done, even though Hank’s daughter Hope van Dyne is obviously a better choice. She already knows about the technology and how to use it. She has access to the facility that is the target of the heist. She is smart, cool-headed, and tough. Why do they need Scott?

The movie half-heartedly offers a few possible answers, but it seems to be aware that none of them really holds up.

Because Scott is such an awesomely inventive cat burglar

Eh. The script does the bare minimum job of showing us Scott thinking on his feet. It’s okay, but it’s hardly persuasive. In any case, the Yellowjacket heist is already planned out; not much on-feet thinking required. At best, Scott could be useful on the coms Leverage-style to advise Hope in case of surprises. We really don’t see any of that vaunted inventiveness at play in the heist.

Because Hope needs to stick with Cross during the heist

Apparently not, because she really doesn’t do anything important during the heist besides help a wounded Hank get out of the building. Her presence with Cross doesn’t seem to make any contribution to pulling the heist off.

Because her father is afraid for her safety if she uses the Ant-suit

That’s fine. He can worry. We all worry about the people we care about. Pepper Potts worries about Tony Stark. Laura Barton worries about Clint. That’s not a reason for them not to suit up and get the job done when it matters.

Because she gets to be Wasp in the next movie

Great! Why couldn’t she be Wasp in this movie? “It’s about damn time,” she says as she eyes the Wasp suit at the end of the film. It was about damn time at the start of the film, too.

I give Ant-Man credit for at least tacitly acknowledging that none of these reasons stands up. We need more good female superheroes (and villains, for that matter) on our screens and there’s no good reason why we don’t have them already. I take Ant-Man as an admission from Marvel that they recognize the problem, and that’s a step towards fixing it. Whether they are willing to take the next step of actually giving us the female characters we’ve been waiting for is another unanswered question.

Image: Comic-Con Ant-Man Poster via Wikimedia

In the Seen on Screen occasional feature, we discuss movies and television shows of interest.