One of the many burning questions viewers were left with at the end of Avengers: Infinity War was where were Ant-Man and Hawkeye? This movie, which chronologically takes place concurrently with or prior to the aforementioned, shows us why Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) may have been too preoccupied with his own life to be bothered with helping to save the universe. For those who have forgotten (as I certainly did), we last saw our leading man in Captain America: Civil War where he was caught violating the Sokovia Accords. Since then, he has been on house arrest and has every intention of following the rules to stay out of trouble. Of course, things eventually start going sideways, and Scott reaches out to Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), whom he alienated and are embroiled in their own issues, for assistance.
This is how the movie begins, with Scott doing everything in his power to keep from going nuts while being stuck in a house for months on end. Rudd really excels in this role as his everyman persona seems to poke fun at the absurdity of all these superheros while simultaneously humanizing a character that Marvel initially didn’t know how to portray on screen. It helps that he has the charisma to not only work well with his main costars but also Abby Ryder Fortson, the girl who plays Scott’s daughter Cassie. The humanity we see in these superheroes is what actually makes them compelling and the struggle Scott has here with maintaining a full work schedule as well as being a present father might be mirrored in the real world by working parents.
Ant-Man and the Wasp almost seems to function better as a comedy than a pure action-adventure, exemplified by the fact that the star is a romcom stalwart and Scott’s coworkers, all former criminals trying to run a security consulting outfit called X-Con, are all played for laughs, especially Luis (Michael Peña). While I enjoyed the movie, I realized that the style reminded me a lot of The Green Hornet. The only difference here is that Peyton Reed seems to have tightened up the laugh factor and increased the pulp, complete with a buffoon for a villain, Sonny Burch (Walter Goggins). Truth be told though, there was no real “villain” in this film, though Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) could have been a compelling one if the script had been different.
That brings me to the biggest gripe I have with the film. The director obviously tried to shoehorn in a couple possible villain substitutes, but they are both red herrings. Ghost as a character was more of a distraction than a real conflict. Her concept was really cool, but she and Bill Foster (Lawrence Fishburne) could have simply asked for help. Sonny Burch, on the other hand, has no real motivation for his actions except that his client really wants to have this super technical stuff and won’t take no for an answer. That being said, the fact that there isn’t any main conflict besides rescuing Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) does a lot to release the tension imbued by the last Avengers outing. Plus the movie finds new ways to play these laughable characters against each other in some of its best scenes.
Overall, Ant-Man and the Wasp is best when it shows our main characters and their humanity. The Quantum Realm was depicted well and I can’t wait to see more of it in future movies. The movie was entertaining and funny though largely inconsequential to the MCU, but after the set up of some of these characters, many are hypothesizing that we will be seeing more of Hank, Janet, and Bill (albeit younger versions) in next year’s Captain Marvel movie. Perhaps maybe we will even see some of the events that precipitated in their falling out? We shall see.