It’s a little late but it’s better than nothing at all. 

I would like to say that for the 20th installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise, I was concerned with the placement of this film after Avengers: Infinity War. I knew from the comic books I read, the subject matter wouldn’t fit after something so devastating as the Mad Titan Thanos wreaking havoc across this cinematic universe. 

Thanos
Welcome to the crib

I had made it known that I was the most excited for Avengers: Infinity War. I had been waiting for it since 2012 when Avengers was released. When Marvel Studios announced Phase 3, followed by some welcomed changes in the film release dates (hello Spider-Man! Welcome aboard. Goodbye Inhumans, we barely knew ye.) The Ant-Man sequel was placed after Avengers: Infinity War. I was excited for for this movie, but not as much as Avengers. 

Inhumans
Goodbye Inhumans, we barely knew ye.

At the very least I thought this movie would serve as support for what I anticipated to be a very complicated, heavy film. April 27th comes and I was right. Avengers was indeed an emotional movie. One could argue it was one of the more heavy films that a comic movie has done in recent years. Most people asked: are the heroes coming back? This was not what I was concerned with. My question was how does Ant-Man fit into that devastating outcome? My mind had thought about what could happen after Thanos does what he does. Would Scott and Hope get enlisted on a secret mission from Captain America to find something to defeat Thanos? I’d be right, if the movies happened in chronological order. Marvel Studios seems wholly confident in their stable of characters and the individual stories that each character experiences to push through and not do the obvious. 

The trailers came out for Ant-Man and the Wasp and I watched with delight. Marvel Studios has become extremely intelligent in their marketing materials. The posters and social media for all the films are consistent and entertaining. You can choose your level of engagement. The trailers were lighthearted and funny and there’s a line that was said that made me chuckle where Luis said, “and now there’s a woman who can walk through walls and she wants to take over the world or whatever.” I thought this line was so clever to have Luis, the character who is obsessed with excessive details of the story he’s telling to be the one narrating parts of the trailer of what the plot of the movie was “supposed” to be. In context, Luis doesn’t care about the villain, he’s just happy to help. 

Scott and Hope
Hope: “You want to shrink what and go where?”

The plot is more engaging than what the trailer lets on. After the events of Captain America Civil War, Scott is placed on house arrest and has to serve time in his house under the careful watch of the FBI. It’s better than prison and SHIELD is off somewhere in space doing TV things I’m sure. Scott doesn’t like the constraints but he’s willing to oblige because he gets to spend time with his daughter Cassie. She loves being around her father and she plays a strong supporting role. Everything is fine until hope returns. She’s on the run because of Scott’s actions in helping Captain America, but they need Scott’s help. 

In the time she and Scott were apart, Hope and her father Hank established a way to open up the Quantum Realm. After the events of the first Ant-Man movie, Hank understands that it’s possible to go to the Quantum Realm and return. He believes that his wife Janet maybe still alive and the only way to find her may be in Scott’s head. Hope wants Scott’s help, but she’s also upset with him and understandably so. She never had a say in his selfish decision to help in something he had no real part of and because of this Hope and Hank are in exile because everyone wants Hank’s tech which was kept secret up until Civil War. 

Scott and Hope
Scott’s reaction when he’s tiny and witnesses a preying mantis. The Guardians of the Galaxy one.

As much as Scott wants to help he doesn’t want to jeopardize his last days under house arrest, otherwise it’ll be off to jail and no more time with his daughter.  Hope aims to meet with a dealer within the black market named Sonny. He has what hope needs but he’s not interested in money she offers. He’s more focused on portable lab that she and her father operate out of. Hope makes quick work of Sonny’s men and escapes when a masked woman who can walk through walls enters and steals the lab. Her nickname is Ghost.  

To find where the lab is, Hank contacts an old colleague by the name of Bill Foster. He has a way of locating the lab, but Ghost returns and reveals herself to be Ava Starr the daughter of Elihas, a scientist who was killed years ago while he worked with Hank on a quantum experiment that had gone wrong. Bill reveals that he is helping her deal with her unwanted phasing that came abilities that came about after the accident. Hank refuses to help Bill and Ghost and the heroes manage to escape with the lab. 

Ghost
I’d be pissed too if I had to follow up after Killmonger’s and Thanos’ villain role.

With all the players on the board, the movie continues the chase and the heroes ultimately succeed in their goal in retrieving Janet. As the story continues you see that there are a few close calls, but the heroes win. The good guys always win. Until you get to the end and then you see the coveted Marvel end credits scene, where the Pym family, father, mother and daughter are taken out by Thanos’ finger snap from the previous movie.

I love movies and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is turning out to be one of my favorite series of movies so far. My reason is simple: interconnectivity. One of the first draws of the franchise was not only a new, refreshing movie with Iron Man, but being able to see them interact with one another in the crossover movie the Avengers, very much like comic book crossover events. 

Avengers
Alright gang! Our next mission is to temper expectations! Avengers: Assemble PR firm!

Every new installment adds something new to the equation, whether it be mystical elements from Doctor Strange or a teenage high school action movie with Spider-Man. With Ant-Man and the Wasp, it raises the bar again, finishing a lighthearted, funny movie with an abrupt, unexplainable end. Imagine the confusion of someone seeing Ant-Man and the Wasp for the first time without any context of the previous installments. Disappearing people sounds like something biblical and it’s equally heartbreaking because it could mean someone you care about is gone in an instant. What would you do if that happened to you?

The MCU is creating something wonderful, and I’m aware that the amount of money that the film studio is making is absurd, but somehow it is still enjoyable to me. On FGC Podcast, I explained to Josh that I was afraid of having superhero movie fatigue specifically with Marvel. So I stopped talking about it for 5 months, but that never stopped my interest. I’m still excited to see what’s next and Ant-Man and the Wasp delivered a wonderful film with great direction, solid story, excellent effects with exciting shots and angles. All of this was paired with amazing talent on screen with humor (notwithstanding Thanos).

mcusmall

This is an interesting time to be in. Typically, Marvel Studios spreads out their films over the course of the calendar year. This movie was released in July and the next installment won’t be until March 8 of 2019 when Captain Marvel is released, then two months later Avengers 4 is out on May 3rd and Spider-Man 2 is out on July 5th. Then there are a slew of untitled Marvel Studios movies that are expected to be announced. I’m certain they will be revealed, fanfare and all when Avengers 4 has completed its theatrical run, but until Captain Marvel there is a total of 9 months of complete silence. Of course, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige will have an interview here and there, but the longest we’ve been in silence like this was circa 2009, when The Incredible Hulk was released on June 13, 2008 and then Iron Man 2 was released May 7, 2010. A full 24 months had passed before we would see another installment from the studio. Even artistically, this silence is a statement. The uncertainty of what happens next is not something that will translate over time when my kids watch this with me because the next movie will be there and waiting for them to watch.

Ant-Man and the Wasp is a fun movie and I can’t wait to add it to my collection. It’s self contained when it needs to be (until it’s not) it’s fun and humorous (until it’s not) and it leaves you wanting more. I will say that Cassie’s character along with Scott’s was my favorite. Their relationship was real and it had weight to it. She wants to be like her dad and Scott aims to be a great role model for Cassie. So many of these superhero stories are embroiled in terrible family ties with awful secrets. This movie was uplifting and inspiring.

scott-lang-and-cassie-lang-in-ant-man

I give this movie a B+. It has great moments. I will own it when it is released. I anticipate the replayability will be low for me with this movie. But, I have been wrong before. Captain America: the First Avenger was an “okay” movie when I saw it, until I saw The Winter Soldier. That’s when The First Avenger improved.

I hope you enjoyed the review. Be sure to check back for more soon.

Jace

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