Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp May Be Even Better Than The First Film

- Roughly three years ago I skipped opening weekend of a Marvel movie. Gasp! I know, right. I wasn’t too excited about the trailer and the fanboy in me was even less excited about the retconning of the origin story. The movie was Ant-Man. My excitement, minimal. A few weeks later I saw the film and was blown away by Marvel’s ability to take heroes which aren’t the big, flashy, mainstream folks like a Spider-Man, or Iron Man, and make those heroes’ stories into compelling big screen tales. I absolutely loved everything about the first Ant-Man movie, especially Michael Pena’s character. Ant-Man was just a very well done heist movie, with superheroes in it. Fast forward two years, I get an invite from Dell to check out the technology used to create Ant-Man and the Wasp, and see the movie itself. Color me excited!

First things first, let me just say that I liked the sequel even more than the first movie. And that’s saying a lot given how much I enjoyed Ant-Man. What is most refreshing about Ant-Man and the Wasp was that it doesn’t appear that they just sat in some boardroom, distilling what worked in the first movie down to an outline, and just giving you more of the same. Where Ant-Man was a heist movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp is so much more. Sure there were some tropes, but that is almost inescapable in a superhero movie as redemption, betrayal, revenge, and a few other elements are pretty much a part of all hero and villain plots and subplots.

One example of how they didn’t choose to go the safe route is found in the utilization of Michael Pena’s wonderful storytelling moments in Ant-Man and the Wasp. Audiences seemed to love how they used him to move the story forward with his creative re-telling of second hand events in the first film, but you aren’t going to get a bunch of that in the sequel. Actually, you’ll only get it once but when they do utilize that tool in their storytelling arsenal, it is done in a way that is absolutely outstanding! Further, his character isn’t just a tool to move the story forward, they actually developed him a little more, giving you even more to love about Luis.

I think that in the era of #MeToo, the most enjoyable aspect of Ant-Man and the Wasp, the first Marvel film to have a female hero headliner, was that they didn’t go out of their way to say, “Hey! Look at us! We have a bad-ass woman kicking butt! See, look! It’s a woman and she’s just as strong, or stronger than the guys.” Evangeline Lilly plays the Wasp and she’s fantastic! Never at any point does her character come across as a sidekick. Never at any point does her character come across as someone trying to prove they can do it just as good as the guy. The Wasp is a fully realized hero, who doesn’t actually need Ant-Man. Her character is the embodiment of what I’ve always told my own daughter (and sons), that you don’t need someone to “complete you.” YOU be complete first, then if you choose to add someone to your life, they are just that, an addition. An addition to your happiness, to your joy, to your fighting super villains. For all roles which may fit the notion of “diversity in film,” this is where we’ll hopefully get to in the majority of our movie going. A place where the project isn’t saying, “Look we cast a woman/black/Asian/LGBTQ, we’re inclusive now!” A place where there are just solid actors, playing multi-dimensional characters, regardless of things like gender or ethnicity, and studios ultimately realize that audiences just want to see a great variety of diverse stories (Darnit! Give me my Storm Morlock Saga movie!) but I digress.

That said, Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly’s on screen chemistry is delightful. They are truly a lovely pairing, which makes you root for their relationship and doesn’t feel like some contrived superhero romance. Speaking to my earlier point, they are each fun to watch on their own but that much more fun together. Their fight scenes against the film’s primary protagonist, “Ghost” are very well done, very well choreographed, and highly inventive. It was a joy to watch Ant-Man and the Wasp go head to head with Ghost as well as the other protagonists in the film.

If you’re a Marvel fan, I can highly recommend this movie and suggest that you check it out in 3D. Especially after the heaviness of Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp is the palate cleanser Marvel fans need and deserve. Even if you aren’t a Marvel fan, Ant-Man and the Wasp is just a good time at the movies. One last note about the movie, there are two credits scenes. The first one is arguably one of the most impactful credits/post-credits sequences in Marvel’s 10 years of MCU. Don’t miss it!


As I stated earlier, my invite to the advanced screening was via Dell, who played a big role in elements of the film’s creation. You could also say they even played in role in the film itself as you’ll see some of the laptops I’ll be taking a look at in an upcoming back-to-school segment in July on Good Day L.A. Dell’s new G5 15 gaming laptop makes an appearance in the film and Dell’s Precision workstations and server technology were actually used by visual efx facilities to create many of the CGI effects you’ll see on screen. You can watch the film’s stars, crew, and director Peyton Reed, talk about that below.

 

Being that I’m very involved with youth and STEM myself, it was also cool to see that Marvel and Dell have partnered in a STEM program for children this summer. The Boys & Girls Clubs will incorporate Marvel University’s “Ant-Man and The Wasp” video series into their summer curriculum, teaching kids about STEM topics. The series, which will include numerous videos featuring host John Urschel, will dig into technology and STEM concepts using comic book iterations of the Marvel heroes. Marvel will release one video every few weeks during the summer, launching June 27 on Marvel.com. Dell is featured in the three videos exploring the following topics:

•    Episode 1:  Marvel showcases the strength of ants and how Ant-Man's suit is designed to also adhere to this incredible strength 
•    Episode 2:  Marvel explores the connection between real-life wasps and that of Marvel’s comic book character, The Wasp, and how certain species of wasps have the ability to fly up to 30mph 
•    Episode 3: Marvel takes a deeper look at a few principles of nanotechnology from the “Ant-Man and The Wasp” comics and talks about how they apply to technology created today.


 

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