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).
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 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.
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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Ideas! For shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all film reviews, reviews of Disney and of Marvel films, and especially these about recent films…
- Avengers: Infinity War is boring. Watch some anime instead.
- See Solo, a Star Wars film that says much about America.
- Incredibles 2, a Father’s Day gift from Disney.
- Ocean’s 8: the most dangerous film of the year.
- See the secret theme of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
Trailer for Ant-Man and the Wasp