Rating: B-. That is all.
Summary: Scott Lang must help Hope and Hank Pim save Janet from the quantum-void-realm-thing.
I like to refer to this movie, hereby known as AATW, as “the cooler movie.” In wrestling, big pay-per-view events have a cooler match right before the main event, which allows the crowd to rest and get hyped for the big championship match. It’s typically preceded by a really exciting, stunt-tastic match. In this case, we have The Avengers: Infinity War (stunt-tastic), AATW (cooler match), and Captain Marvel (The Main Event).
Now, AATW is making waves for being the first MCU outing to make a female a titular character, but really, Captain Marvel is the female draw. For starters, Captain Marvel won’t have to share her title. That being said, her character won’t get pushed to the side as the Wasp does in this movie. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. For all the big deal they are making about the Wasp being in the title and the trailer drops about being partners, her character feels entirely expendable. If they removed Hope from this movie, it would still work. She’s not integral or necessary to the storyline.
The plot goes like this: As the Avengers are figuring out how to fight Thanos, Scott Lang is on house arrest stemming from Captain America: Civil War. Scott has a dream, looks in the mirror, sees Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), and calls Hank that he thinks he saw his wife. In a desperate attempt to get Janet back, they hatch a very sciencey plan with the word “quantum,” lots of tiny tricks, and a resizable lab. Ava (breakout star Hanna John-Kamen) needs the quantum energy as she’s phasing out of existence and there’s a chase and fight for the lab, which is worth millions and provides access to the quantum realm.
Nowhere in that synopsis is Hope mentioned, at all. At the end of the day, this is still a movie about Scott Lang. She and Hank could be used interchangeably but even Hank gets a more important task at the end. And for all the mentions about partnership, Ant-man doesn’t really ever truly, really need Wasp, except so that she can conveniently fix him so he can rejoin the action. And she still mainly serves as a love interest. Evangeline Lilly gets some crazy good fights in there, if not the best action, but it’s all sparkle and no substance. I wish we had seen more things from her perspective- like, what’s it like for her to be on the run with her dad? What’s it like for her to be in hiding? We don’t get that.
Now, the movie itself is entertaining- there are a lot of laughs, particularly from Randall Park and Michael Pena, and there’s an abundance of creativity with the resizing tactics used here. (Giant-Man riding a tow truck will never not be funny to me.) Paul Rudd is, as always, charming and charismatic. And it was nice to see a small-scale movie that was purely adventure and not so dire or serious. But there’s something sorely missing from this movie- so much of it is McGuffin, too much of it is explained, and- like the other MCU entities- the villains are instantly forgettable and tonally, the movie is all off. This should have been over the top and campy and Walton Goggins as the secondary villain really tries but he can’t quite do it on his own.
I know I called John-Kamen a breakout star and then I pointed at her as a bit of a downer- I think in any other MCU movie, her character would have done well. John-Kamen has a lot of potential to be a star and I’d like to see her in other movies. The character is just a little too serious for this. Give me another Hela! Give me someone who enjoys wreaking havoc. Let’s all have fun here!
I can’t say I’m not entertained by Ant-Man- it just feels like it really hasn’t found its unique footing or foundation yet, between the first movie and it’s sequel. It’s definitely trying to cater to the kids and it mostly successful in this aspect. Just… I wish it were slightly smarter and more aggressive in it’s addressing of female superheros.
SPOILERS below the picture.
Don’t even get me started on the mid-credits scene. Really, Marvel? Pretend the Wasp plays a huge role and female characters and all that and then show she plays absolutely no party in IW Part II? Come on.