For the Marvel day of Finally Watched Week (to match the daily comic review) I had planned on Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse, but with a glitch in the DVR recording (a recurring issue that my cable company has to deal with but we’ve had other priorities so we haven’t called with this latest one) I only got half-way through the movie. I have thoughts but I’ll save them for when I finally get to do a proper review. Lucky for me the other Marvel movie I had on the DVR was just fine.
Ant-Man And The Wasp is the 2018 sequel to Ant-Man and part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, taking place just before Avengers: Infinity War. The post-credit teaser even includes the Thanos snap, or at least the result. The movie itself has no lead-up, instead continuing the lives of Scott Lang, Hope Pym, and Hank Pym after Captain America: Civil War, a movie I won’t watch because the comic it was inspired by has pushed me off of the concept no matter how good you tell me the movie is. I’ll consume the movies I want, thank you very much, and after Endgame there’s nothing else in the MCU that interests me. What doesn’t feature characters I didn’t care about in the comics are so altered that they aren’t the same characters I love, so again, I don’t care. There are a couple more MCU movies I’m interested in, and then they’ll have to work to impress me, kind of like the Marvel comics at this point. At least this one is off the list and off the DVR, so all that remains is to review it. Note that I’m going with the TBS airing.
RELEASE DATE: 2018
RELEASED BY: Marvel Studios & Walt Disney Pictures
RUNTIME: 1 hour 58 minutes
STARRING: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Abby Ryder Forston, Michael Douglas, Laurence Fishburne, Hannah John-Kamen, Walton Goggins, and Michael Peña
SCREENWRITERS: Chris McKenna, Erik Somers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, & Gabriel Ferrari
DIRECTOR: Peyton Reed
BOX OFFICE: $622,674,139 worldwide, $75,812,205 domestic according to IMDB
ESTIMATED BUDGET: $162,000,000 according to IMDB
The Plot: After the events of Captain America: Civil War Scott (Rudd) is under house arrest for violating the Accords. Meanwhile, Hank (Douglas) and Hope (Lilly) are on the run for making the Ant-Man tech in the first place, but they may have a chance to bring Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) home. Unfortunately tech dealer Simon Burch (Goggins) wants the tech to sell while a mysterious “Ghost” (John-Kamen) has her own need for the device…to live. Seeking aid from Bill Foster (Fishburne) may not be the right move as he is one of Pym’s former comrades and they don’t like each other much. Plus Hank and Hope have to kidnap Scott, egged on by his daughter Cassie (Forston) to help since it’s a dream he had that may be the key to saving Janet…if the bad guys don’t get to the device first.
Why did I want to see it: The adaptation errors rampant in more recent MCU movies weren’t as prominent so I could accept some of the changes of the first movie. I rather enjoyed the first movie and hoped the second one would be as good.
What Did I Think?: I’m of two minds on this one. On the movie itself it’s quite good. The actors still have good chemistry together (if Rudd and Forston played father and daughter in a different movie I might consider seeing it and I thought Rudd and Lilly made a good team as well), Ana (aka Ghost) was a sympathetic villain given why she needs the quantum tunnel but given how it could do Janet harm you still want to see her lose, but another way found to cure her condition. The humor hits better than it misses and even Peña, T.I. and David Dastmalchian as Rudd’s old gang and now business partners in a security firm are tolerable and occasionally funny. T.I. and Dastmalchian’s characters, Dave and Kurt respectively, get to help out. Birch I’m not as sure about. He was more annoying than a decent part of the story. His ties to an FBI agent part of the team monitoring Scott is only useful once, but he still rises above the mobsters in Race To Witch Mountain as they at least don’t detract from the story. I just don’t feel they added anything to it.
As an adaptation however it gets so much wrong, which is oddly becoming more and more blatant in the MCU, as if Paul Fiege lost focus when Paramount stopped releasing the movies after the Disney buy-out of Marvel and the whole Sony deal went down because apparently having Spider-Man in the MCU was more important than getting Spider-Man correct. I liked Fishburne as the character he played but from what little I know about Bill Foster, the former Goliath (which is mentioned as being part of the MCU as well), isn’t a former rival of Pym’s, but then again Pym wasn’t a SHIELD covert agent either. I can appreciate him wanting to help Ana, but Ana isn’t the Ghost from the comics. The actual Ghost, who’s male, does use his suit to go intangible and for corporate espionage, as he hates large corporations and wants to destroy them. (I’ve also see versions where he does it for money and will actually steal info for others but based on the Marvel fanwiki’s description that’s also wrong–though potentially interesting as a usual foe for Tony Stark and Iron Man.) Here she has an unstable atomic structure tied to the deus ex of the movie. Like I said, I like their character, but they aren’t a proper representation of the source material, which the MCU at least attempted to get right in the past.
Simon Burch I don’t know from Adam so I won’t even get into whether or not they got him right. I only know Jimmy Woo from his Godzilla appearances during the Marvel run. Cassie is still too young, but also too adorable to complain, She’s still Scott’s conscience, helping him to do the right thing and wanting him to be the hero she sees him as. She loves her dad so much and will help him stay ahead of Woo and the FBI (again, no more SHIELD after Captain America: The Winter Soldier). She knows the kind of man her father is and wants others to see that as well, and it turns out she’s right. If I do watch the next Ant-Man/Wasp movie it’s to see more of Scott and Cassie more than Scott and Hope in more Marvel namesaking.
Was It Worth The Wait: Like I said, I’m of two minds on it. The movie was good on its own merits but as an adaptation it’s suffering the same problems as the post-Paramount MCU films. It does clear up another bit of info I was missing going into the final two-part Avengers movies with why Ant-Man was in the other dimension all this time. It’s not something I’d watch again but it was fun to watch.