Back to the future.
With the box-office disappointment of Solo: A Star Wars Story, Disney executives are freaking out. the Star Wars is a reliable are already a billion-dollar-per-film enterprise since Disney Lucasfilm bought, and anything less than that is the equivalent of the New England Patriots not to win the Super Bowl. In other words, completely unacceptable. Heads will roll, the children of executives will have to make do with less-than-life-size TIE fighter for Christmas, and they might have to delay the opening of Star Wars Land in Disney World to avoid bankruptcy court. What’s that? the Avengers: Infinity War is made more than two billion dollars at the box office? Here is your full-scale TIE fighter, son. And a functioning Iron Man suit, just because.
a lot of ink (or electrons) has been shed by people trying to explain why Solo has failed, and most of them are trying much too hard, saying that it failed because the so-called Star Wars Fatigue or bad marketing. The reason we know marketing, and fatigue are crap excuses, though, because the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The latest film, Ant-Man and Wasp, twentieth film in the franchise, and will succeed, in part, because it moves the story and universe forward, instead of backward. and Solo did not do that for the Star Wars universe. And the fans will be more than happy to create Ant-Man and Wasp is a box office success, despite nineteen films worth of fatigue.
People are tired of? Please.
After watching Infinity War, I noticed that I was really curious to find out where Ant-Man and Wasp was going to take us, because, well, you know (and if you don’t know, you should definitely not watch this movie soon). Ant-Man was conspicuously missing in Infinity War, so that it was clear that the Ant-Man and Wasp would go on to explain why he was missing in action. The genius of this film is that it is a standalone story about Ant-Man and Wasp) that wait until the end of the film is to see that explanation.
It is not lost on me that I just railed against going back in time and Ant-Man and Wasp does exactly that. It works in this case because it is much more sideways than backwards, to fill a gap that deliberately and just for this film. Incidentally, Captain Marvel almost certainly will do the same. The MCU is designed to operate this way, with several parallel stories going on that converge in one movie. Therefore, it is necessary to move sideways to avoid a gaping hole in the overarching story.
Sometimes you have to move sideways to go forward.
Ant-Man and Wasp picks up with Scott for a Long time.k.a. Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), is nearly finished and serves a three-year house arrest sentence for the violation of any of the Sokovia chords (see: Captain America: civil war). With three days still to go, he has a crazy dream about Hank that Pub’s (Michael Douglas) wife, Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer). Hope.k.a. Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), kidnaps Scott because she and Hank a dream was actually a message from Janet, of the quantum realm, where they had lost decades earlier. That would be our main plot – the rescue of the damsel-in-distress (side note: this plot more Disney?). Our secondary plot revolves around Spirit.k.a. Ava Starr (John Hannah-Kamen), a woman who can pass through objects, as a result of an accident, a quantum tunnel when she was a child. She also wants her hands on Scott for the location of Janet because she believes that she can make use of the quantum energy Janet has recorded in order to heal her of her affliction that is killing her. Throw in Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) as a black-market-technology-dealer, who wants Hank’s quantum technology, and we make what is a fantastically fun and humorous film.
What I like about the recent hassle of MCU films is that they have really embraced the comic part of the comic book movie. While they have included comic relief since Iron Man the kick-off for the franchise, the movies were always far more serious than funny. the Guardians of the Galaxy shifted the balance to something that’s much closer to fifty-fifty and the movies have become that much more enjoyable. For example, Scott is always joking about how he fully understands what all of the scientists in the room to talk about it, then, in a moment of perfect movie self-consciousness, Scott asks Hank and Dr. Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne), if they just added the word quantum for everything.
(Side note: Infinity War is certainly a lot more serious, but the effort to put an end to half of all life by Thanos is not exactly ha-ha funny).
Is this quantum?
Another thing that is good about this movie is that the Wasp is perhaps the most important character of the film. Much time is spent on the further development of her character, her motivation and her skills, and she easily has the best action scenes in the film. By the end of this film, it is clear that if they are in a fight with Ant-Man, she takes him without breaking a sweat. That is not to say Ant-Man is a bad fighter, but rather they are that good. In a moment of cockiness normally reserved for men, she remarks that Scott, if she was with him at the airport fight in the civil war, he would not have gotten caught. I am definitely Team Wasp after that exchange.
I got this.
General Ant-Man and Wasp is a great movie that continues the series of high-quality films produced by Marvel. It has a great pace, really good writing, and a retro-70’s-cop-show feel that comes off as real and subtly, instead of as a cheap publicity stunt for purely nostalgic purposes. If you are not entertained with this movie, do me a favor and avoid saying that it is because of Marvel fatigue. Accept that you’re probably just dead inside.
Rating: Worth every penny no matter how many times you want to see it.
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