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Friday, Oct 15, 2021

Ant-Man and the Wasp: High Stakes, Low Risk

Photo provided by Flickr. The Ant-Man suit sits empty.
Photo provided by Flickr. The Ant-Man suit sits empty.

As the 20th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and the second Ant-Man installment, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” fits safely within the MCU formula. There are jokes, sometimes misplaced in climactic moments. There are cool fight scenes that are probably more destructive than productive. There are post-credits scenes that don’t seem worth it halfway through the wait, but then if you leave all that time waiting would’ve been for nothing so you stay even though every moment is excruciating.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is a fine movie in its own right, despite the clunky tie-in media needed to follow its plot. It’s funny, suspenseful and raises the stakes as high as they will go, but it’s painfully obvious that the ensemble overshadows the title character.

The main antagonist’s screen time is divided between two one-dimensional, cartoonish villains, and she still is able to show more depth and growth than the man at the top of the billing.

Although the pacing of her arc is rushed, Ghost is a more memorable and complicated antagonist than expected of an Ant-Man movie. Through her, we see what lengths an innocent person will go to avoid facing their own mortality.   

The Wasp is also a formidable character, and the film doesn’t need to break up its pacing or stall its dialogue to emphasize that. She is able to keep up and even surpass the male characters in combat (and intellect), and none of it is treated as surprising or rare. The movie revolves around her arc to find her mother, and Ghost’s arc to find a cure, with Scot Lang just along for the ride.

This wouldn’t be a huge flaw if the previous MCU releases hadn’t pushed their main characters to face real tragedy and develop beyond the scope of their phase one movies. While the premise of Ant-Man will always be inherently a little silly, humor shouldn’t be a substitute for character.





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