Ant-Man and the Wasp: fun for kids, boring for adults

Summary: Ant-Man and the Wasp is, as the title suggests, a fun film for children. Professionally done, in synch with modern American values and beliefs. If it’s a family outing to the cineplex, parents can watch with mild interest and enjoy its many life lessons (from our instructors in Hollywood).

Poster for Ant-Man and the Wasp

Most children and teens will love Ant-Man and the Wasp. Things and people zoom up and down in size. Many fights. Lots wild chases of the style perfected by Stanley Kramer in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, World (1963).  There are some emotional moments of family bonding and reunions, perhaps appealing to the young Americans from broken families. Lots of Disney jokery.

The film’s many slow stretches for adults (watching things shrink and grow is interesting the first time, not the 73rd) give adults time to think about the America shown on the film — magnifying things we do not ordinarily think about. What are our children learning from Disney’s films?

The cops are impediments to the good guys, crooks, or evil bastards (e.g., SHIELD).

Like most films these days, it provides uplifting role models for girls. The lead woman, Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne (Wasp), is awesome and perfect: smart, a senior corporate executive, master of martial arts (watch her kick ass!), brilliant, and knows nuclear physics. The bad girl, Hannah John-Kamen as Ava (Ghost), is strong and determined.

The Wasp
No objectification of women in this film!

The guys are either deeply flawed or weak betas. The hero, Paul Rudd as Scott Lang (Ant-Man), is “everyman” in early 21st century America. He is very beta, has poor judgement, is untrustworthy (e.g., lies a lot), makes lots of lame snarks – and spouts brilliant ideas at odds with his character (plot magic).

Teens probably will enjoy Lang’s weakly portrayed romance between the heroes. Young teen girls like unthreatening mild guys. The beta boys in the audience, produced in large numbers by modern parents and schools, will enjoy the fantasy on the screen of a guy like them getting such a wonderful girl. In real life she wouldn’t look twice at Lang.

The cops are clowns, crooks, or evil (e.g., SHIELD) – giving kids in the audience a valuable lessons about America.

As usual in our films, the heroes act as Lone Rangers or in small groups. Organizations (e.g., leaders and followers, with plans and resources) are for citizens, not American peons (who are powerful only in their fantasies).

It is, like most modern films, resolutely unisex. The women dress just like the guys do (with one brief exception in the opening). Guys and girls act alike. Paul Rudd psychically channels a woman, with the only difference in his behavior is that he becomes smarter and more sensitive.

Does the massive collateral damage to bystanders in the film (hundreds of casualties) – ignored by the heroes seeking to save Mrs. Pym – prepare them to ignore collateral damage in our foreign wars (we have to kill some of them to save the rest)?

My recommendation to adults: use the two hours of this film to think about these big picture matters. Films are mirror in which we can better see ourselves! Otherwise the time will be a waste, since the costumes and visuals are pedestrian, the action scenes are perfunctory, the acting is somnolent (before rolling the film, the director would announce “for the paycheck!”), and the dialog is boring.

My guess

Holywood is an industry ripe for disruption. Rumors are that A-M & the W cost more than $150 million to make, with not much to show for it. Marketing and distribution will cost very roughly the same sum. Eventually someone in the US or elsewhere will learn to make decent mass-market films, probably for much less. They will vaporize Hollywood as a business center.

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Trailer for Ant-Man and the Wasp

6 thoughts on “Ant-Man and the Wasp: fun for kids, boring for adults

  1. “My recommendation to adults”

    I’ve been laughing for like five minutes just imagining the reaction of a couple of parents being told that spending time watching a movie with your children is a waste of time unless you ‘teach’ them that Paul Rudd is a beta cuck and long fight scenes are the result of neocon foreign policy. Imagine their eyes widen and freeze as the deranged fedora-clad reviewer corners them, ranting about peacocking or whatever.

    What’s so funny about this review is that despite its pseudo-intellectual posturing, it’s clearly telegraphing the insecurities and hangups of its author. It’s a hilarious blend of intellectual self-regard and desire for public humiliation. He’s like a character that crawled out of a Todd Solondz film.

    1. Frank,

      Wow. I don’t say anything even remotely like that. Try responding to what the text says, not to the voices in your head. Perhaps meds will help.

      “being told that spending time watching a movie with your children is a waste of time”

      I don’t say it is a waste of time. Having raised two kids, I’ve sat through countless films and TV shows for little children. It’s time well spent, not “wasted.” I give suggestions for ways to spend the time while you are sitting there.

      “unless you ‘teach’ them that Paul Rudd is a beta cuck”

      Again, I didn’t say anything remotely like that.

    1. Sven,

      Me, too (watching it online). These tastes are, of course, subjective. I don’t find the “superheroes saving world or somebody” to match well with comedy. But lots of people like this genre.

      That’s why I focused on other aspects of the film in this review.

  2. “Rumors are that A-M & the W cost more than $150 million to make, with not much to show for it.”

    You left out Hollywood’s actual target audience: the Asian market (and the rest of the world). That’s why you don’t see Chinese villains anymore, and scripts get changed if China is shown in a poor light. That’s how important that market is to Hollywood.

    1. John,

      “You left out Hollywood’s actual target audience: the Asian market ”

      First, I didn’t “leave out” anything. That was my summary of the film’s quality.

      Second, that’s stated incorrectly. Asia is only part of the desired audience. It is not the target audience. For most films, the entire foreign box office is half to 3/4 of total world-wide total. So the US revenue is the largest national component. That’s even more so in this film: US is 57% of total on July 8.

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