ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: Captures A Universal Audience With Simple Storytelling & Personal Moments
Ant-Man and the Wasp is an enjoyable blend of superhero action and familial comedy, with a strong central cast to make everything work well together.
Ant-Man and the Wasp picks up with Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) getting through the last few days of his two years on house arrest. While on house arrest, Scott spends the days entertaining his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) while never leaving the house. He has also been working with Luis (Michael Peña) and Kurt (David Dastmalchian) in establishing a security solutions firm aptly named X-Con.
He reunites with Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) in the hopes of rescuing Hope’s mother and Hank’s wife, Janet van Dyne from the Quantum Realm where she went missing 30 years earlier. Hank and Hope, while on the run, have started building a Quantum Tunnel to safety travel between our world and the Quantum Realm.
As the film goes along, Scott, Hope, and Hank encounter roadblocks towards their rescue mission. Their work on quantum travel is of interest to the mysterious Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) as well as Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), a criminal solely interested in making money.
Simplicity of Plot Gives Way To More Character Development
The plot in Ant-Man and the Wasp might seem like a low point, but I personally thought the simplicity of the plot led the film in creative directions. Focusing on a simpler plot allows for more scenes of development for our main characters. The film still utilizes a time-sensitive plot, but having the consequences be more personal rather than universal actually helps create a story that is more universally relatable. Utilizing a simpler plot lets the film focus more on the emotional and unique aspect of its characters.
Even though I appreciate the simplicity and the focus on familial relationships, I do feel the film does not properly utilize Walton Goggins, which is something I see fairly often. His character is given the least development in the film, but a part of me really liked the way this villain did not really know exactly what he was trying to steal, just that it might make him money. Goggins did a good job of making this more typical underdeveloped villain interesting to watch, but I wish he was given more work where he can really show how talented he is.
Setting the majority of the action around one personal goal of saving Janet made the film feel both lighter than other recent Marvel entries, because the focus is not quite as broad, but also I felt more emotional strings being pulled, watching Hope grasp at anything that could help her rescue her mother. Watching Scott make his way back home before the cops go to check that he hasn’t broken his house arrest could have come across as a way to add another time-sensitive plot to the film, but we see how much he wants to be here for Cassie, so she isn’t left without him once again.
The film has multiple time-sensitive plots, but they are all personal, rather than huge moments like most other Marvel films. The action remains, but with added tension and emotion because everything hits close to home. I personally loved watching these story-lines unfold, and I felt the emotional moments were well blended with comedic ones, which is typical in Marvel films, but I found the comedy in this film to be more fitting for the film. In some Marvel films, I feel every character is given a joke, and it doesn’t feel like it comes from that character.
Finds a Blend of Marvel Comedy with Its Own Comedic Tone
What surprised me with Ant-Man and the Wasp wasn’t its inclusion of comedy, which is a pretty standard aspect of Marvel films, but the style and fluidity of its comedy.
This sequel explores its characters, giving more screen time to supporting characters. Michael Peña stands out once again as Luis, with his fast-talking detailed stories. I was glad to see this come back for the sequel, and I liked that this fast delivery is not limited to specific scenes, but comes from the character’s personality.
Cassie is given more time to shine in this sequel, and I enjoyed every scene Abby Ryder Fortson has in this film. She plays her character wonderfully, and gives us a developed and unique character, where so many films ignore or try to hide their children characters behind unrealistic dialogue and barely any screen time. The scenes of bonding between Cassie and Scott were some of my favorites of the film. I especially loved that Cassie’s sense of humor we saw glimpses of in the first film is explored a little further. Seeing Scott act out a heist with Cassie put a huge smile on my face, and every scene between the two was wonderful, and added even more heart to the film.
In Ant-Man and the Wasp, I felt some of the comedy with Scott feels closer to the style of comedy in other films starring Paul Rudd than it feels to other Marvel films. The early scenes with Scott on house arrest brought me back to seeing Paul Rudd’s comedic talents on display across all the comedies I went to see, including the mirror scene in Wanderlust, which is especially memorable to me.
Like other Marvel films, I do feel like they overused certain jokes when they felt something really landed, but it did not bother me as much here because it was not as frequent of an occurrence. I would just like to say, coming up with new jokes and ideas comes across better than reusing the same punchline multiple times.
Ant-Man and the Wasp does a good job of blending the blockbuster superhero film with comedy without feeling disjointed. More jokes here landed for me than in most films of this combination of genres, which makes this feel more like a superhero comedy than a superhero film with inserted comedic relief. This feeling also comes from the comedy fitting in with the film, and not feeling like it has just been added to lighten the mood.
I would also like to point out that Ant-Man and the Wasp managed to make another cameo stand out when everyone is watching for Stan Lee. Even though I knew he was in the film from a previously released clip, seeing Tim Heidecker in a blockbuster film like this gave me a certain kind of joy. His character name in the credits, Gooobler – spelled with that extra o, added even more to my enjoyment of his scene.
Using big action set-pieces as a joke about Scott not being able to control what size he gets made this film just that much better for me. I really enjoyed seeing action sequences that have little to do with the plot of the film and are more elements of accident-driven comedy. I personally think this film would have been better if Scott careened down a mountain when he used the bed of a truck like a skateboard, but my dreams of Paul Rudd fully reenacting that scene from Mac & Me can only come so close, and I never expected a Marvel film to come the closest.
Conclusion: Ant-Man And The Wasp
Ant-Man and the Wasp is an enjoyable blend of superhero action and familial comedy, with a strong central cast to make everything work well together. Yet again, this film would be better if at least one character said “I’m totally buggin’ myself”, but I can’t really knock a film for that.
If you are in the mood for laughter with a side of exploration of familial relationships, Ant-Man and the Wasp might be just what you are looking for.
Are you excited to see these characters in more Marvel films? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
Ant-Man and the Wasp was released on July 6th in the US and will be released August 4th in the UK. Check here for more release dates.
Opinions expressed in our articles are those of the authors and not of the Film Inquiry magazine.