MCU Photo-Recap Countdown; Ant-Man and the Wasp

Well here Ant-Man is again, sandwiched between two mega-hit monsters of movies. We met Scott Lang directly after Age of Ultron, and right before Civil War. He was the palate cleanser we needed between big-time team-ups. Then we got Ant Man and the Wasp right after Infinity War (still hurts), and before Captain Marvel, a long-awaited box office super-hit. The pattern is clear – throw Ant-Man into the mix any time the audience needs to emotionally recoup.

Was this movie important to the MCU? Nooooooooot really. Was it a fun break from all the heavy emotional action? Sure! The cast is talented and fun to watch, the jokes were jokey, the shrinkage was cool, and the plot was fine, I guess.

Every single nitpick I had about the first Ant-Man was repeated in this movie, so I WON’T EVEN GET INTO IT. But on the flip side, everything I liked about the first one was on full display, so I guess it evened out?

The opening sequence took the scene from the first movie about Hope’s mom going subatomic to stop a missile, and inserted Michelle Pfeiffer into it. Is anyone mad about that? No, Michelle Pfeiffer is a damn legend. Carry on, movie.

After the events of Civil War, Scott took a deal to come back to the US and do two years of house-arrest. This was the best solution considering he’s a dad. Going on the run with Captain America, while fun, would have been terrible for his family. So he spent two years in relative isolation, building elaborate mazes to play with Cassie, and perfecting his close-up magic.

This is Agent Woo of the FBI, Scott’s parole officer (do they usually assign FBI agents to do that???). His whole deal was exposition with a slice of “gotta catch ‘em all!” The movie also took this expository opportunity to tell us that Hank and Hope hate Scott.

SO, Scott has three days until the end of his house-arrest, and he plans to spend it playing the drums, practicing his close-up magic, and relaxing in the tub.

He had a dream-vision of Janet, first in Subatomic-Land, then he became her (incurring the jealous wrath of women everywhere who have wished upon a star every night to become Michelle Pfeiffer). Naturally he called Hank, and thus the plot to the movie was incited.

A bug knocked him out with I guess a tiny bug-dart, and Hope sort of kidnapped him from his house arrest because they need what’s inside his head.

This was a good way to get the team back together, because otherwise these people never would have interacted again. It IS worth noting that while Scott was in the wrong for the events of Civil War, Hank and Hope are still pulling a pretty dick move by taking him from his house-arrest THREE DAYS before he finishes. If he got caught and had to spend his life in jail, that would be on them.

These people are just not great to each other all around.

While Scott was perfecting his drum skills and close-up magic, Hope and Hank were slowly but surely building a bridge to the quantum realm. They believe Scott’s ‘dream’ was a message from Janet that came through when they opened the bridge for the first time.

Oh, and they are very peeved at him for the whole Germany thing. Very. Peeved.

The team needed a whatsit for their bridge, so they had to go to a black market science dealer. It seems they’ve been dealing with this fellow for two years, and it took him this long to ask his buddy at the FBI who Hope was. Maybe he was busy? We don’t know his life.

He was like, “sell me all your cool shit, or no part,” and Hope was like, “fine, bye,” and he was like, “I’m taking your money too because I am a cartoon of a human,” and Hope was like, “you know I’m a superhero, right?” and the guy was like, “yeah, I suspect,” and Hope was like, “and you’re sticking with this course of action?” and the guy shrugged and was all, “like I said, I’m a cartoon, sooooo…”

Then Hope kicked their collective asses.

Meet this movie’s main antagonist, Ghost. She can phase through things, and can also punch and kick and bob and weave (she’s a good fighter, is what I’m saying). She wanted the part for herself, so she started a kerfuffle.

Scott jumped in to help, and it was very nice to see them fighting side by side. Of course, Scott couldn’t keep him damn mouth shut, and while Hope was distracted by him, Ghost took the part AND the shrunken lab. What a pickle!

After a quick scene at the security office with Luis, Kurt and Dave (to remind us of their existence), the team decided to pay a visit to one of Hank’s old science acquaintances, Bill.

Yes, that was a musical theatre reference, love me for me. Bill used to work at SHIELD, which means he and Hank have bad blood, because apparently Hank does not work well with others. He helped them anyway, giving them a clue about how to find the lab, which wasn’t weird at all for any reason, OKAY?

They needed the old Ant-Man suit to take a gizmo from the doodad, so off to Cassie’s school they went, where she had accidentally taken the suit in a “world’s best grandma” trophy for show-and-tell.

Was this bit a time-filler? Absolutely, yes. Was it charming and fun? It sure was! Scott’s suit malfunctioned as they snuck into the school, so he had to pretend to be a child. But it worked! They got the suit, extracted the whatsit, and got a location for the lab.

I like Paul Rudd. I like Evangeline Lilly. I like them both in their respective roles. But these two do not have as much chemistry as the movie wants us to think they do. And this movie REALLY wants us to want them together.

Scott was all, “If I’d asked you, would you have come?” and Hope was all, “I guess we’ll never know. But I do know one thing. If I had, you’d never have been caught.” Which I guess is the movie’s way of saying, “see??? We recognize that Hope is better than Scott, too!! We sidelined her so she could have this awesome line in THIS movie, you guys!!!”

They broke into Ghost’s pad and found her sleeping in her glass cage of relaxation, so they got the lab back and everything was fine.

Kidding. Ghost knocked them out, and it was revealed that Bill was actually helping her. Gasp? So, him giving them a clue on how to find the lab was… ??????????

Our heroes were tied to chairs like they were damsels in an old-timey moving picture, so naturally it was time for some backstory. To sum it up; Hank used to work with a dude who stole secrets or something, got fired, then tried to do science on his own, without the genius of Hank (rookie mistake). He obviously blew himself up, but in the process his daughter got blasted with a science beam and became phase-ified. As an agent of SHIELD, Bill found her and took care of her, and they’re both looking for a cure, which they believe they can extract from Janet.

Since all the exposition was expositioned, there was nothing left to do but escape.

Okay, so Hank kept a bunch of ants in an altoid tin. Let’s put aside how rude that is to the ants… how did they become big? Was there one of those big-em-ups built in to the tin? Do they become big every time the tin opens? If so, how does Hank feed them or- NOPE, I SAID I WOULD NOT NITPICK.

Anyway, they escaped with the lab to a forest and set everything up to go pick up Janet. Luis called Scott about a work thing, so Scott told him where they were, which I’m sure is fine. But who cares about that, because they fired up the machine and Janet TOOK OVER SCOTT’S BODY!

Janet quickly fixed their machine with her genius know-how, and had moments with both her husband and daughter through Scott’s body which was both weird and delightful.

But whoopsie…

This bit was very funny. B-Squad bad guy showed up at the company office looking for Scott, and gave Luis a truth serum, unleashing Luis’ gift of the gab. This lead them on an emotional journey of Scott’s mental state, but ultimately Luis couldn’t keep his actual location a secret.

Sonny wasn’t the only interested party listening! Ghost was phasing the whole time, secretly listening (and probably giggling, let’s be honest) during this whole delightful bit. So off she went to the lab to steal all the things / possibly kill Janet for her quantum-juice. Sonny wasn’t about to get into it with a phasing super-human, so instead he called the FBI on all of them.

This is, arguably, all Scott’s fault. But he couldn’t stay for the fallout because he had to get home before the FBI could prove that he wasn’t there. So he borrowed the suit and vamoosed.

Cassie saw that her dad wasn’t at home and gave a STUNNING performance to stall the FBI long enough for him to get there. And he did! And everything was fine… for Scott.

Hank and Hope were arrested by a A LOT of agents, and Ghost got the lab. Things were NOT looking up for our team of lovable geniuses. That is, not until Scott got a pep talk from his daughter about right and wrong vs. lawful and unlawful. So it was Scott to the rescue!

They tracked the lab using more science, and came up with THE PLAN.

First, Hank took over the lab using his altoid tin of giant, wrongfully imprisoned ants. THEN, Scott distracted Ghost with some fisticuffs while Hope and Luis (♥) stole the shrunken lab. Then Hank went on a ride to Quantum Land. It was pretty smart, and they couldn’t have done without Scott’s mad knowledge of close-up magic.

After marveling at the beauty of some dust mites, Hank made it to the meet-up spot and started to go a bit bonkers, but look who saved him!

Only Michelle Pfeiffer can look so damn good after decades in a quantum realm.

Meanwhile up top, Hope, Luis and Scott were dealing with Sonny and his goons.

This was very funny. After a fun car chase filled with phasing and growing and shrinking and Luis driving a tiny car, and quips and punches… the lab ended up with Sonny, who took it on the ferry. But Scott dove into the water, grew enormous, and flicked Sonny away like lint on his jacket. The only problem was that being big takes too much energy, so Scott fell back into the water for some quick zzzzzzs, and Hope had to save him.

Then they smooched. So… yay? Is it weird that I think this relationship is toxic? They’re not very nice to each other. Anyway, Ghost stole the remote and big-upped the building so she could steal all of Janet’s quantum-juice.

Since that was a bigger threat and the movie was running out of time, the B-Squad plotline had to be wrapped up.

Luis electrocuted them and gave them the truth serum, which I guess was enough to put them in jail forever? I don’t know, we never revisited these dudes, and I assume we never will again.

Meanwhile, Bill had a change of heart and told Ava that they can find another way to save her that doesn’t involve murdering Janet. That was… *sigh*, I’m sorry, are we supposed to care about this guy? Fun exercise: imagine this movie without Bill at all… oh, it’s no different?  Right. ANYWAY, she was like, “nuh uh!” and started sucking up that quantum juice, and Janet was like, “hey what gives!” from the pod, and Scott and Hope were like, “not today, specter!”

They had a kerfuffle just as the pod came back, which knocked out Ava long enough for the gang to have a small social.

The reunion was very nice, and Janet even gave Scott a shout-out for letting her use him like a charming puppet.

Janet touched Ava’s head and pumped juuuuuuuuust enough of her quantum juice into her, and then she was cured! Great! Scott made it home before the FBI caught him by leaving the enormous suit out in the open, and Hope scooped it up.

Then it was time for the…

GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH everyone but Scott was snapped, WHILE HE WAS IN THE QUANTUM REALM gathering juice for Ava. Now THAT is a solid after-credits scene. How does one top that for the after-after credits scene? With an… ant… playing drums… of course? Well, you can’t win ‘em all.

Overall, Ant-Man and the Wasp was a fun ride. It didn’t add any lore or mythology to the MCU, but it gave us a charming two hours of distraction, and at the end of the day, that’s enough.

What did you guys think? Was this your very favourite? Are you mad at me now? SORRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

SOME STUFF

  • “Do you guys just put the word quantum in front of everything?”
  • It’s fun that they can shrink and grow buildings, but, um… don’t buildings need foundations? Wouldn’t it just topple over? I’m very worried about Hank and Janet’s retirement house.
  • The Paxton/Scott friendship was over-the-top, and I LOVED IT. I want more. MORE I SAY! #TeamPaxton
  • Was Hank Pym crazy rich before being forced to go on the run? How can he personally afford all that equipment and a case full of cars?
  • The ODDS of Hank thinking of the ONE ex-coworker to visit after over 20 years, and him being the guy working with the villain? THE ODDS, I SAY!
  • Cassie is absolutely growing up to be a Robin-Hood-type criminal mastermind. Practicing a heist with her dad, lying to the FBI, aiding and abetting a vigilante fugitive… all before the age of 10. Girl is starting big!
  • Scott is, once again, largely unnecessary. Is this… omg, is this on purpose? Is there a larger commentary here about the public face of who the hero is expected to be versus the reality of who is actually capable, yet ultimately invisible due to the societal requirements of what a hero should look like, namely gender and ethnicity, proving that- *pause*… naw, probably not.
  • So Janet was all, “good timing, guys! The next couple of hours is the only window you can ever save me in! What are the ODDS??? Haha, anyway, hop to it.” It just worked out SO WELL.
  • Bechdel Test; pass! Hope & her mom, and Janet & Ghost.
  • Randall Park as Agent Woo was simply delightful.
  • If the Ant-Man franchise is your favourite, is it because of your crush on Paul Rudd? It’s okay, you can say it. This is a safe space.

OKAY LATER GATORS FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!

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