Jade: Some short weeks ago the latest chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was released. The popular franchise film you may have heard about by the name of Ant-Man and the Wasp.
Not everyone was excited in 2015 upon hearing the news of a film(s) featuring a superhero with the ability to control ants and shrink was in the works. Most people, including myself, were pretty confused. However, due to its lightheartedness, the film grossed a whopping $519.3 million worldwide! Pretty awesome, right?Marvel Studios, Ant-Man (2015)
Peyton Reed (Yes Man, Bring it On) continues his direction in the insanely fun sequel. Luckily, my colleague Lee Tran and I received two tickets to see the movie on release weekend at a special ScreenX theater in Los Angeles.
Ant-Man and the Wasp — Not Another Exhilarating Trailer
Jade: Although taking place approaching the events of Infinity War, the story of Ant-Man and the Wasp is largely affected by Captain America: Civil War. Assisting Captain America was a violation of the Sokovia Accords, which is why Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is under house arrest in the trailer.
Two years after the events in Civil War, he is no longer in contact with Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) or her father Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). That changes when the father-daughter duo desperately needs his help in a new mission involving the quantum realm.
The trailer highlights several action sequences involving Pym’s tech, Ant-Man, and even the Wasp. Although the scenes induce an exceptional level of hype to the viewer, I was skeptical that everything was already revealed.Marvel Studios, Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Thankfully, I was wrong. The stunts and special effects during the action scenes were even more mind-blowing on the big screen. And, of course, they didn’t give everything away! A problem that Spiderman: Homecoming faced.
Judging from both Ant-Man films, there are endless possibilities for the cinema to use Pym Tech. Reed takes advantage of interesting camera angles to make the action extremely satisfying to watch throughout the entire film.
Raising The Stakes
Jade: Similar to Homecoming, part of Ant-Man’s success with critics were its smaller stakes. Compared to large ensemble movies like Suicide Squad — which included a villainous plot to destroy the world — Ant-Man had a simple story. It pretty much only dealt with wrongfully militarizing technology for monetary gain. The sequel is the same.
Without going too far into detail, Ant-Man and the Wasp raises its personal stakes to make the audience worry about the fate of the main characters. In the previous film, Hank Pym chose Scott to don the Ant-Man suit instead of his, much more capable, daughter Hope. This decision was due to the unfortunate way that Hope’s mother was lost in the quantum realm during a mission.Marvel Studios, Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Now, circumstances have changed.
The situation is dire, so Hope is finally allowed to become the Wasp, a logical and satisfying development. Movies are vastly more intriguing when the conflict doesn’t involve a laser shooting into the sky and hordes of faceless henchmen. This choice of a more personal plot adds to the character development of both heroes, but also the villain.
Character Highlight: Ghost
Jade: Oftentimes when evaluating whether a film is worth watching, the easiest point of measure is the villain. This film’s “villain” is Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen). In the trailer, she dons a white suit and phases through walls.
Luis (Michael Peña), Scott’s quirky friend, explains to Pym,
“You opened up the quantum realm, that’s why this crazy creepy ghost who like walks through walls and stuff stole your tech. And now she wants to take over the world! Or whatever.”
While his words are a comedic form of exposition, Ghost is much more complex than that. Without giving away spoilers, Ghost is a tragic character with a compelling and understandable motivation. Her actions actually make sense in the context of the film, which adds to the satisfying experience.Marvel Studios, Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Furthermore, the relationship between her and another character in the film is similar to that of Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) and a young friend in Deadpool 2. Both relationships deal with themes of loss, choice, and hope. A much darker counterpart to what is a rather funny movie.
Character Highlight: Cassie Lang
Lee: Cassie Lang (Abby Ryder Fortson) is a freaking comedian if we’re being honest. To me, she was the most memorable character that wasn’t either the villain or one of the main protagonists. Throughout the movie, Cassie Lang provides a dose of comedy that meshes well with the overall humor of the story. She is a very light-hearted presence in the wake of Infinity War.
Instead of the doom and gloom of Thanos lurking above Earth, you get a young kid and her own take on the world. To her, Scott Lang isn’t a lawbreaker. To her, he is first and foremost her dad, but also a superhero, Ant-Man. She visibly admires him for being a superhero. In the comics, she’s a superhero named Stature or Stinger, depending on the comics you read.Marvel Studios, Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
However, in the movie, she is just a normal kid — a kid who is Scott’s world. She also gives Scott profound advice in the trailer, aka more exposition by suggesting,
“Maybe you just need someone watching your back…Like a partner.”
Obviously, that’s supposed to set a precedent for the Wasp-slash-Hope, but within the context of the movie serves as a good father-daughter moment, and makes you go aw. When you inevitably watch this movie, keep Cassie Lang in mind, and laugh at all the lighthearted humor present as part of her character.
A Balancing Act
Jade: I cut most Marvel movies some slack when it comes to tones that rapidly shift from dark and gritty to more light-hearted comedy. Often the shifts are jarring and confusing, which is how it plays out in Ant-Man and the Wasp. However, it is just like Scott’s dilemma in trying to balance his superhero status and a normal life with Cassie. There has to be a balance.
Lee: Scott’s dilemma provides huge development for his character. In Captain America: Civil War, Scott runs off to help the Avengers, without giving anything a second thought. However, after that experience, Scott has definitely grown as a character.Marvel Studios, Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
After involuntarily taking up the Ant-Man mantle once again, he continually worries about the consequences of his actions. This is something that his past character would never have done. Due to Scott’s relationship with his daughter, he learns that there are quirks to being a hero. He learns better how to balance his two lives.
Jade: However this doesn’t mean that Scott loses any of his humor or immature tendencies. He and his team of ex-cons are a great source of comedy throughout the entire film. It’s difficult to describe, but they are responsibly childish. Even though some of their conversations seem irrelevant and stupid, everything pays off. The much-needed comedy adds light to what could have ended up a dreary movie.
Now THIS Is A Comic Book Movie
Lee: Let’s talk about our viewing in particular. We viewed it in the Digital ScreenX. The best way to describe ScreenX would be a 270-degree movie theater, which allowed us to view the movie in a panoramic view.
Needless to say, before the movie I anticipated the experience with a hint of excitement. The ScreenX experience absolutely delivered. First and foremost, the special way the movie was shown created a visible difference from your run-of-the-mill movie theater. The scenes were more dynamic, and the action felt a tad more realistic due to the nature of the showing.Credit: ScreenX
Jade: I was initially worried that my eyes would become fatigued from trying to keep up with the huge screen. However, for most of the film, only the center part of the screen was visible — like at a normal movie theater. The full 270 degrees were only used during certain points in the film like flashbacks or important moments.
It was extremely breathtaking when the extra projectors turned on to reveal the entire ScreenX experience. Those choices made the viewing indefinitely more rewarding and entertaining. It really felt like we were a part of the movie. Now that I’ve done it once, I’m definitely going back for more!
Lee: Okay, so by now most of us have seen a ton of Marvel movies. We know that there’s always a couple of post-credit scenes. Without giving away too much, let’s just say that there are some comedy and some heartbreak. You can’t win all of them.
There are also multiple scenes, so make sure to stay the entire time. With that in mind we hope that you enjoyed this review, and most of all we hope you get to experience Ant-Man and the Wasp, especially if it’s in ScreenX.