Ant Man and the Wasp: A bit scaled down, but twice as fun
Ant Man and the Wasp is out this weekend, and who better to review a movie about an MCU power couple than a PCU power couple, Pete and Rosa.
Rosa: I think the movie is a perfect summer film – it’s got all of the action, humor, and heart that you want to see, and it connects with the larger MCU, but we don’t have to deal with some of the heavier things (aside from the frayed relationship because of Civil War).
Pete: What I liked was that the humor was still there, but like you said, it didn’t get pushed too hard. It stayed about the same level that it was before. But it was interesting to see a Scott (Hank and Hope as well) be one of the only character to face consequences for his actions in Civil War, which a lot of characters – pretty much every character – were/was able to sidestep.
Rosa: It honestly took me a minute to figure out what the fuss was about since I couldn’t remember what had happened in Germany (was is Nazis? No… just people who hate Nazis … and each other?).
I really liked how there was a lot of continuity with the tone of the movie – it genuinely felt like it was still in the same world as the first one; and while they recognized that Michael Pena is awesome and has a great role, they didn’t over utilize him.
Pete: That would have been the easiest thing to do.
Rosa: I think the couple aspect worked really well for the film as a whole, too. While it was frustrating that they were back on square one at the beginning, I think the build was helpful.
Pete: There’s a lot more ass kicking I wanted to see between them. I think they’re one of the cooler Marvel couples because their suits and identities are so similar to each other, yet their personalities and techniques are very different. The MCU films (and movies in general) have this whole thing with long-suffering female characters and seat-of-their pants wild card male characters being coupled up that ultimately restricts the women. But there’s a capable cleverness to Hope that’s a lot of fun and seeing how her love for her mom is mirrored by Scott’s for his daughter made them feel more nuanced and real. Her dad on the other hand…
Rosa: There were two big opportunities to delve deeper into Hank Pym and his relationship to his old SHIELD colleagues, but that continuously got pushed aside:
Ghost: You were an asshole to my dad and he then did something unstable!
Hank: Your dad sucked.
Laurence Fishburne: You’re an ego maniac and nobody likes you.
Hank: too bad, I’m married to Michele Pfeifer.
Pete: Even less rewarding for these characters is they didn’t have a lot to do and their villains were not given much either. Walton Goggins’ Sonny Burch was fine, I guess, as the “I’m gonna steal your tech” guy. But minus him, and you’d only lose a few chase scenes and a fun interaction with Scott’s crew.
Rosa: And they didn’t seem to know how to make anything but a surface character out of Ghost. Michael Pena has a great personality and ability to draw you in with a story or interaction, and Ghost didn’t really have that — not that I wanted her to tell a story like him (although that would be hilarious), but I only felt mild sympathy for her.
Pete: Aside from the gender swap of the character, which I thought worked great, her history ended up so confusing and her link to Janet Van Dyne were the hardest parts of the movie to buy into. Once we go from shrinking and Pym particles to the quantum realm, even superhero science gets a little wonky. Even Scott points out how they put the word quantum in front of everything and we just go with it. It can link minds, it can keep you alive for decades and heal you. Like an entire realm of MacGuffin. Where Janet van Dyne somehow found a very tiny cloak.
Rosa: And why does every mysterious woman who shows up have to look like Hiccup’s mom all of a sudden?
Pete: Honestly, even with that, this movie was really enjoyable. And some of the more fun relationships got more screen time, where in other sequels they might have been diminished or abandoned. Scott’s crew, especially Pena and T.I. stole every scene. I loved Cassie – kids are sometimes a mixed bag in action movies, but Abby Ryder Fortson is perfect. And with Maggie and Paxton, you have this fun family ensemble that’s rewarding to see.
Rosa: Randal Park was excellent in the film as well – he took the place of Paxton as the cop who doesn’t trust Scott, but their interplay was spot-on. And I think this also is a step in the right direction with adding diversity – while the main characters were still all white, straight, and cis-gendered, there was a great variety among supporting cast…racially, anyways. And while I want these actors to be more than just side characters, the fact that they’re prominent in the movie helps with representation (especially in a diverse city like San Francisco).
Pete: Just as an aside, at some point, I did feel like the inclusion of Laurence Fisburne and Michelle Pfeiffer was so they could show off how good they were at using footage from the 80s to make these characters young again, like they did with Michael Douglas. Clever.
Our score: a solid 4 out of 5 ants — (quantum ants!)