Greetings, geeks. I’m back from a much needed break, though I ended up doing some work during it anyway! And don’t worry about the ant puns, I’m all outta those. Though if I really tried more could happen. This review is spoiler-lite.
Ant-alyze is a perfectly good pun!
“No, you can’t do that.”
So I saw ANT-MAN AND THE WASP yesterday, I found that I didn’t really have anything immediate to say about it. I had a good time, I definitely don’t regret going to see it, but it was definitely no INFINITY WAR. That said, I’m amused that INFINITY WAR has set such a standard that the Marvel movies may not ever achieve again, in my humble opinion. Since Ant-Man is a B hero, though, perhaps the new movie shouldn’t be compared to INFINITY WAR at all, after all, they didn’t bother putting him in there. (Though that doesn’t mean he can’t be in part 2.)
If some of you haven’t been following the Marvel news that closely, and are wondering how ANT-MAN AND THE WASP tied into the storyline: they actually made it happen at the same time as INFINITY WAR.
The movie is set up with Scott Lang (Ant-Man), Paul Rudd, being under house arrest and is nearing the end of his two year sentence for breaking the law and helping Captain America fight the other half of the Avengers at the airport in Germany. After Scott has a supposed cabin fever dream of seeing Dr. Pym’s wife, who was said to have disappeared into the quantum realm in the first film, that apparently is enough for Dr. Pym and his daughter Hope to pursue trying to find Mrs. Pym. Oh, and Ghost in there being evil/tragic.
I appreciate there being some spotlight on the quantum field of physics in these movies, but being Marvel movies, science isn't going to be accurate, but I found a handful of things especially distracting.
For example, if the characters themselves become smaller than the molecules of the air they breathe, how are they breathing? They say that time in the quantum realm is supposed to work differently and melt the human brain, which is true, but when they go down there it seems just fine. Apparently the writers idea of melting the human mind is just emotionally messing with them with visions versus tripping them the fuck out with processes that the mind would not be able to comprehend. What I mean can be a bit difficult to explain briefly, because this is a review about the movie and not a science paper. And again, we’re talking movie science, so it’s not that it matters anyway.
For those of you who are interested, there are a few things to consider within the quantum. The smaller you get, the slower time is supposed to move for you. So potentially when they shrink down to a subatomic level, Scott Lang would come out as though time passed normally for him but find that all of his friends have aged. I was going to ramble on about the quantum enigma and matter waves, but I decided that was irrelevant since there were indeed conscious observers involved. To know what I’m talking about go read up on or watch a video on the double slit experiment.
Another thing that bothered me was that it seemed like they could go quantum scale anywhere in this movie and they would be in the same relevant space as someone else who was there. Subatomic space is not a magical place outside of our dimension or whatever. If you shrink down, you could be as far as what seems like light years from someone else who is also that size. We just gotta accept that MCU has its own laws of physics.
Anyways, what were we talking about again? Some okay movie? Oh yeah!
So ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is reasonably entertaining. I was pretty excited to see that a scene happened at the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco because I visited there as a part of a vacation last year. And they didn’t even show off Bubba Gump Shrimp, or the video game museum, or the great view you get of Alcatraz. Instead there’s a cameo of Tim Heidecker, who is credited as Whale Boat Captain Daniel Gooobler, although his role was clearly a boat tour guide. You know, Tim Heidecker, of TIM AND ERIC’S AWESOME SHOW GREAT JOB, or TOM GOES TO THE MAYOR. I guess he knew a guy who knew a guy that got him in. Good for him!
Scott’s posse of ex-con goons are fun, and are a big reason the movie is worth seeing. There’s also some douchebag of the blackmarket that’s a threat. Everyone is chasing after Dr. Pym’s lab which has been shrunk to the size of a travel suitcase on wheels, and all I can think about everytime I see it is now nothing in there has been shaken out of place considering all of the rough treatment it takes being passed from hand to hand.
There's a “pre-credit” scene that ties in INFINITY WAR. You can wait all the way until after the credits for another scene, but honestly you won’t learn anything from it so it’s not really worth the wait unless you’re looking for an extremely cheap final laugh.
This movie was like a snack between meals when it comes to Marvel movies. Good for the moment, but nothing too “nourishing”. It’s probably about as memorable as the first one, and I hardly remember that one, and don’t really have the drive to see it again anytime. But fuck it, it’s Summer. Go see it, enjoy it for what it is: a fun, but maybe forgettable, Summer movie.
Initial response out of the way, I've had some time to reflect upon the film. So here's a brief second take:
I know a lot of you are mega mad about how half-assed this review appeared, but I'm telling you that I was only reflecting what I was presented with. It wasn't a bad movie, it just wasn't great. A lot of the writing in the movie was lazily written with half thought out plot points, uninteresting twists, and generally two dimensional character development. It was a B movie all the way through. That doesn't necessarily mean that you can't go see it and not have a good time, though.
I found myself extremely preoccupied with the poor science of the film because I was given nothing else by ANT-MAN AND THE WASP to hold my fascination between character drama, story, or effects. Other Marvel movies have made it possible for me to focus on the story over the science.
All antagonists came off as flat or unoriginal, and perhaps that is a very different story for how they are portrayed in the comics, but that is not what we see here. Ghost gives a really forced monologue I was rolling my eyes at. There was far too much telling, not enough showing. Hannah John-Kamen's performance as Ava/Ghost just seemed overly exaggerated and didn't feel very natural. You kind of feel for her, but not really. An example of what I think is a better developed villain is Killmonger of BLACK PANTHER. You really see his side of the story and can empathize, but still understand ultimately why they shouldn't win. I could say the same for Thanos, but as I previously mused, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP shouldn't be compared to INFINITY WAR. My point is Marvel has had a better history of villain and character developmentbut that wasn't present in this movie and was just one more thing that hurt it.
I will say the the strongest aspect of the film is its humor and goofy antics. Both current goons and ex goons were the best part, plus Paul Rudd's awkward exchanges with Randall Park's character, Jimmy Woo.
I did not find much about the movie to be resonating, and therefore found it forgettable. If anything, that means it'll be like a whole new movie every time you go rewatch it. Go see it, just don't expect anything groundbreaking. Most of all, have fun watching!