In discussing “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” I’ve gone to great lengths to avoid spoilers; however, there may be spoilers for “Avengers: Infinity War.” Additionally, this piece is written with the assumption that most readers will have an understanding of the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe storyline. And yes, I know I keep writing about bugs. It’s a summertime thing. — Whit
In 2015 the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) introduced audiences to the superhero Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) in a film by the same name, and in doing so finally laid to rest any argument (or hope) that size doesn’t matter.
It also had an awesome indie soundtrack:
Ant-Man, aka Scott Lang (also Paul Rudd), has the ability to shrink out of sight or grow bigger than the horizon, but what really sets the character apart from the majority of other heroes in the MCU is his being a dad. The relationship he shares with his young daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) is the cause and effect of his everything.
In fact, while the relationships between heroes and their fathers have played heavily in other Marvel films, only Ant-Man and Hawkeye have had their respective fatherhood examined (although one could make a case for Rocket’s role as a father-figure to Groot Jr.). Conversely, on the villain side, Thanos has had his parenting skills put under the microscope, which, admittedly, increased his chance for Dad of the Year by about 50 percent, give or take.
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Recently, the sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp opened, and in it we bear witness to the evolution of Lang’s relationship with his daughter. No longer is he an ex-con without visitation rights, but rather a bona fide hero. He’s also under house arrest.
His house arrest was part of a deal made in the aftermath of Ant-Man’s participation in Captain America: Civil War. Apparently the U.S. government didn’t want him in that movie, or Germany, or something. Anyway, he’s spent two years confined to his home, which may seem like a terrible option to most, but for Lang it provided the perfect opportunity to spend tons of quality time with Cassie. Also, it allowed him to create the greatest cardboard fort to ever grace the silver screen.
Scott Lang gets it.
It helps that his ex-wife Maggie (Judy Greer) and her husband Paxton (Bobby Cannavale), who were once (a movie ago) less than helpful in allowing Scott and Cassie time together, are now fully and enthusiastically on board. After all, it takes a colony.
Meanwhile, the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), aka Hope Pym (also Evangeline Lilly) and her father Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) have made great strides in their own strained relationship, which is nice. Also on the mend: the relationship between Hope and Scott.
It is that relationship that first casts a shadow of doubt for Cassie, when she begins to comprehend that despite evidence (and a couple of paragraphs) to the contrary, she is not the only one her dad cares about. Luckily, Cassie cares about other people, too, and through her empathy she is able to help her dad make a hard decision: do the right thing, regardless of consequence.
Cassie Lang gets it.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is a family film, for families and about families. The movie is full of love and comedy, action and adventure, scares and worries. It is a film about growth, and lots of it.
And, it is about fatherhood, in an ant suit.