Ant-Man and The Wasp is not a “big” movie. At least, not in the same way Infinity War was. There’s no maniacal alien bent on wiping out half the universe. No one hitches a ride to outer space. Harnesses the power of a dying star. Or even mentions the words “Infinity Stones.”
Which is why it’s exactly the type of movie Marvel fans could use right now after the bloodbath that happened only a little over two months ago. Taking place in that post-Civil War, pre-Infinity War window, Ant-Man and The Wasp sees Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang dealing with the fallout from his role in that last big superhero royal rumble, sentenced to house arrest while Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym and Evangeline Lilly’s Hope Van Dyne are fugitives from the FBI, still searching for a chance — no matter how small1 — to try to save the original Wasp (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the dreaded Quantum Realm.
Thanks to those scaled-down stakes, Ant-Man and The Wasp makes for a welcome change of pace for anyone still suffering from Infinity War-induced PTSD. A mini palette cleanser before we get back to the heavier stuff. A return to the kind of movies that help sustain this larger cinematic universe in between all the giant Avengers crossovers. And it’s all the better for it.
Here’s 22 other little things I loved about the latest Marvel movie, along with one very big thing.
It finally explains where Ant-Man was and why he was apparently too busy to, you know, help save the freaking universe in Infinity War. Also, it seems like maybe no one remembered to call him? Which, ouch.
Fom Lilly’s Wasp getting equal billing to Hannah John-Kamen’s Ghost to the always reliably badass Michelle Pfeiffer, the MCU is finally beginning to address superhero gender disparity.It’s not the first standalone female superhero movie — we’ll get that next spring with Captain Marvel — but at least we’re trending in the right direction.
Basically every scene involving Michelle Pfeiffer.
Laurence Fishburne’s character bonding with Scott over the fact that Hank Pym is kind of a dick. This felt extremely relatable, TBH.
That they do that creepy CGI de-aging trick that makes human beings look like video game cut-scene characters on Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer and Laurence Fishburne, while Paul Rudd is still out here looking EXACTLY THE SAME as he did over 20 years ago.
That this franchise continues to carve out time for Michael Peña to do Drunk History-style re-enactments to explain important backstory. Someone needs to start a petition to hire him to do Previously Ons for all the other MCU franchises, because I would watch the shit out of that.
Scott’s totally-adorable relationship with his daughter.
Scott’s totally-adorable relationship with his ex-wife’s new husband. Played by Rudd’s real-life pal Bobby Cannavale as relentlessly supportive and positive and encouraging, and also a hugger.
That one of Scott’s newfound powers includes close-up magic. This is now canon.
How Randall Park manages to take an otherwise one-note FBI character and turn him into a legitimate scene-stealer.
David Dastmalchian’s monologue about “Baba Yaga.” And the ensuing thirty seconds I spent hoping that meant John Wick was about to become an official member of the MCU, and the key to defeating Thanos in the next Avengers sequel.
That Hank Pym’s “garage” is essentially a box of Hot Wheels toys. And he has the same taste in cars as a 10-year-old. Real talk: if you are trying to keep a low profile, maybe a bright purple car with flame decals is not the wisest choice of rides?
Scott’s dad joke-nicknames for his ants. Including, but not limited to, Ant-tonio Banderas and Ulysses S. Gr-Ant.
How Ant-Man and The Wasp actually make a great team. So many modern superhero movie CGI fights can feel boilerplate and boring, but their tag-team style is genuinely cool.
How it somehow manages to put a new spin on two things that have been overdone to death in San Francisco-set action movies. AKA a car chase down Lombard Street, and a chase through a crowded Fisherman’s Wharf.
That the writers clearly did some thinking about what happens to Scott physiologically when he goes giant-sized. Which seems kind of, maybe, possibly scientifically accurate? Or as scientifically accurate as a movie about a dude with a size-altering suit leading a rescue mission into the “Quantum Realm” can be, anyway.
How it manages to achieve one of the rarest feats in modern superhero movies: introducing a bad guy with motives that audiences can actually understand and empathize with.
That it also basically subtweets the previous movie’s villain.Even Ghost knows that threatening people’s kids to get what you want is pretty weak, Yellowjacket.
It’s genuinely funny. Packed with clever callbacks and running jokes, it’s a reminder that the best Marvel movies are the ones that are basically just comedies disguised as summer action movies.
When Scott gets called out for referring to Captain America as “Cap.” So, you’ve been busted for name-dropping your famous Avengers friends…
That, for all the complicated Quantum Realm stuff, it’s really just a movie about a simple theme: people trying their best to do right by, and take care of, the ones they love.
And the one Big Thing… That post-credits sequence. No spoilers, but whoa. Just, whoa.
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