Talking Movies: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Talking Movies

Released: 17 February 2023
Director: Peyton Reed
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Budget: $200 million
Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors, Kathryn Newton, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Michael Douglas

The Plot:
After aiding the Avengers in saving the world, Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Rudd) has become a beloved celebrity now focused on making up for lost time with his daughter, Cassie (Newton). However, when Cassie inadvertently sucks Scott and his family into the mysterious Quantum Realm, Ant-Man faces his greatest challenge when he comes face-to-face with the maniacal Kang the Conqueror (Majors), a tyrannical despot from beyond time!

The Background:
In his first comic book appearance, Doctor Hank Pym/Ant-Man wasn’t the unstable, garishly-costumed hero who would form the Avengers, nor was he the only character to take up the Ant-Man mantle. Perhaps his most notable successor was Scott Lang, a reformed criminal created by David Michelinie, Bob Layton, and John Byrne, who assumed the role in 1979, and both characters eventually featured in the first live-action Ant-Man (Reed, 2015) film. Ant-Man’s impressive $519.3 million gross and largely positive reviews led to a sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp (ibid, 2018), which outperformed the first at the box office but was met with more mixed reviews. Although the core cast returned to the film, Emma Fuhrmann was disappointed to learn she’d been recast; Kathryn Newton replaced her as Cassie in a decision apparently motivated to better highlight Cassie’s coming-of-age story. Having been established as one a pivotal hero of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in Avengers: Endgame (Russo and Russo, 2019), the third film sought to further explore the Quantum Realm and the complexities of time travel through the inclusion of Kang the Conqueror. Returning director Peyton Reed was excited to pit Ant-Man against such a villain as part of his wish to produce a pivotal entry in the MCU rather than a simple palette cleanser, and Majors was equally excited about exploring the multiple facets and iterations of Kang in this film and beyond after previously portraying an alternative version of the character in Loki (Various, 2021 to present). Following numerous delays, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania finally released last week; as of this writing, it has grossed nearly $290 million and the box office and been met by mixed reviews; critics have expressed disappointment with the pacing and content of the film, though Jonathan Majors’ performance was met with unanimous praise and that there were some visually impressive sequences to be found amidst the jumbled plot.

The Review:
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Ant-Man; I’ve never been the biggest fan of the character, especially as his characterisation and relationships can be a bit dated, hokey, and inconsistent, but framing it as a superhero heist film and focusing on Scott Lang as this flawed, but loveable, reluctant hero, a dad just trying to make amends, was a really refreshing idea and helped contrast the MCU’s cosmic scope with a nice grounded adventure. I remember not really being too impressed by Ant-Man and the Wasp; I really should revisit it sometime, especially as it laid a lot of the foundation not just for a major plot point in Avengers: Endgame but also for this film, which takes Ant-Man so far away from a quirky, sci-fi action comedy and into the absolutely batshit realm of other dimensions and timelines. Scott is a great character to thrust into these situations; despite all of the abilities the Pym Particles give him, he’s still just a regular guy, someone who reacts realistically to the crazy events happening around him, so he makes for a charismatic and relatable character to help focus these mind-bending concepts through.

While there’s surprisingly little for Hope to do, Scott and Cassie’s relationship is a focal point of the film.

This is immediately emphasised in the opening scene of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania; Scott is now a recognised and celebrated personality who remains awestruck at the fantastical things he’s seen in his adventures. However, as much as he enjoys the limelight, the abilities afforded to him by the Pym Particles, and the experiences he’s had alongside his fellow Avengers, Scott is now content to focus on promoting his inspirational memoirs and making up for lost time with his family. Hope van Dyne/The Wasp (Lilly) has now taken control of her father’s company, renaming and restructuring it in her image and to help displaced families following the Blip. She and Scott are seen to have a loving relationship and are no longer at odds with each other like in the previous film, but the two spend a surprising amount of time apart considering both of their names are in the title of the movie, so Quantumania is less a story about these two pint-sized heroes/lovers saving the Quantum Realm and more focused on developing the relationship between Scott and his daughter, Cassie. Cassie is now a somewhat rebellious teenager; she’s getting arresting and causing Scott headaches because she wants to follow in his example, “look out for the little guy”, and help others, and is disappointed in him giving up his superhero duties when there are still people that need help. Her arc throughout the film is both learning the value of patience and how to control her own shrinking/growing abilities, and understanding that the life she is so enamoured by is dangerous. While Scott is proud of her moral compass, her ingenuity, and her moxie, he also wants to protect her first and foremost; thankfully, while this is a point of contention between the two, the film doesn’t portray her as a cliché sulky teenager who acts without thinking or unreasonably lashes out at her father and they still have an adorable bond, she just wants his respect.

Janet’s stubbornness and fear cost the characters valuable time.

As part of this, Cassie has secretly been spending her time working with Hank (Douglas) to research and map the mysterious Quantum Realm. Despite Hope’s repeated efforts to find out more about the time her mother spent trapped there, Janet (Pfeiffer) remains stubbornly tight-lipped and this was a real issue for me in the early going of the film. Because Janet refused to talk about the Quantum Realm, the characters had no idea of the dangers that lurked there; her warnings came too late to prevent them all being sucked down there and, once they are stranded in the Quantum Realm, she continues to refuse to tell them anything for no real reason at all when that knowledge really would have helped them be better prepared once the source of her fears, Kang, inevitably showed up. Instead, Janet leads Hank and Hope on a merry tour of the Quantum Realm, now expanded into a strange alien environment full of colourful beings and bizarre creatures, most of whom, like the enigmatic Lord Krylar (Bill Murray), know Janet from her time as a freedom fighter. Hank, who has spent his entire life researching the Quantum Realm, is understandably fascinated by the ecosystem and society that dwells there, and equally stunned to get a glimpse of his wife’s tumultuous life amongst these beings. Both characters receive more screen time this time around and are certainly more of a focal point to the plot than Hope, and Hank’s demeanour is now noticeably far more relaxed; he’s lost a lot of his edge and is now portrayed as a quirky scientist with an unhealthy obsession with ants, whereas Janet is shown to be unreasonably cagey and to have fought against the all-powerful Kang during her time trapped in the Quantum Realm

With his nuance performance and incredible power, Kang was the undeniable highlight of the movie.

Although we get a glimpse of his arrival in the Quantum Realm in the film’s opening moments, Kang is a mystery throughout most of the film; he’s talked about with a mixture of awe and fear by the colourful freedom fighters Scott and Cassie hook up with and Janet is so terrified of him that she goes out of her way to keep her family in the dark just to try and avoid catching his attention. This is a shame as, once Kang arrives onscreen, he is unquestionably the most interesting and charismatic character, eclipsing even Scott with his nuanced performance. A cold, calculating, driven individual, Kang is a man from beyond time who was betrayed by his own alternate selves (or “variants”) and banished to the Quantum Realm because of his destructive nature. I know a little bit about Kang from the comics but am by no means a Kang expert, and Quantumania decides to keep his exact backstory and motivations a bit vague, presumably to explain them in further productions. It’s not really explained how or why he has the powers he exhibits or what his limits are; at first, he’s weak and helpless and needs Janet’s help to repair his ship, then he regains his fantastically comic accurate suit and shows an ability to stop characters in their tracks with a thought and swat his pint-sized adversaries out of the air. Yet, though he appears unstoppable and has built an empire comprised of (literal) faceless stormtroopers and advanced technology, Kang can still get down and dirty in a fist fight. Yet, for all his imposing menace and the captivating allure of his unhinged psyche, Kang is very much a desperate man; he’s clearly been broken by some unknown tragedy and is fuelled not just be a need to conquer and avenge himself, but a desperate desire to bring a twisted order to the multiverse, regardless of who he has to torture, enslave, or kill along the way. He’s not just some maniacal villain, though; he seems to genuinely value Janet’s friendship and is driven to violence only as a means to facilitate his escape and seems to regard himself as a necessary evil n the face of some unknown future threat.

The Nitty-Gritty:
There are a few themes at work in Quantumania; you might think that it’s a movie about Scott and Hope as surrogate parents and the dynamic of the Pyms and van Dynes co-existing as this superhero family, but it’s sadly not. You might also think that it’s geared towards showcasing Cassie’s journey into her own superhero persona and, while that certainly is a development in the movie, the focus is more on Scott learning to accept that her daughter wants in the life (which he’s happy to do, he just worries about her) and her learning to walk before she runs (perfectly exampled when Scott has to teach her how to properly make use of the Pym Particles in a fight). The film does shed a bit more light on Janet, a largely mysterious character who clearly has been through some stuff and seen some things down in the Quantum Realm, but it, like her, is unnecessarily coy about the specifics and we’re left with only the briefest, vaguest mentions of her as an inspirational fighter in the war against Kang. Like the other Ant-Man movies, Quantumania leans heavily on the comedy; mostly, this is demonstrated through character’s being awestruck by their surroundings, struggling to adapt to the Quantum Realm’s bizarre society and characters, and riffing off each other. For the most part it works, though the absence of Scott’s more comedic supporting cast is felt in the movie and there’s one scene in particular where the dramatic tension is completely undercut by unnecessary forced comedy.

While the visuals generally impress, others are a bit cartoonish and disappointingly realised.

This would be the death of Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), who’s revealed to have survived the ending of Ant-Man but been left a misshapen and embittered troll of a man; rebuilt by Kang’s technology into the ultimate cybernetic killing machine, he chases down Scott and his family with a vengeance as the MCU version of George Tarleton/ Mechanised Organism Designed Only for Killing (M.O.D.O.K.) M.O.D.O.K. is one of the most bizarre villains of Marvel Comics and one I never thought we’d ever see translated to screen, so it’s pretty amazing to see him flying about shooting lasers and missiles and sprouting buzzsaws, but then the face plate lifts up and we’re forced to look at this really unsettling, cheap-looking CGI face and listen to Darren spouting pithy declarations and the character loses a lot of his menace. It’s a shame but, for the most part, Quantumania looks really good; it’s naturally a very CGI-heavy film and as far removed from its more grounded predecessors as you could get and goes to great lengths to expand upon the Quantum realm, while also handwaving a lot of the specifics. Humanoid characters like Jentorra (Katy O’Brian) and telepath Quaz (William Jackson Harper) exist alongside anthropomorphic houses and surreal alien creatures like the protoplasmic Veb (David Dastmalchian) and a robot with a laser for a head! These characters, while visually interesting, aren’t very well developed, though; I barely caught most of their names and their single characteristic is wanting to oppose and dethrone Kang, but they do help to show how versatile the Quantum Realm is. Before, characters couldn’t survive in the Quantum realm without special suits or suffering severe time dilation; that is now no longer a problem as they’ve conveniently travelled to a part of the dimension where they don’t need their helmets to breath and suffer no consequences of lost time once they return. The world is colourful and alive, but also feels strangely restricted; I also can’t help but feel like exploring the Quantum realm should’ve been a sub-plot in Ant-Man and the Wasp and that maybe it would’ve been better if Quantumania had take place entirely in Kang’s city, Chronopolis, to avoid the slow start to this movie. Everything also just feels a bit too cartoonish and intangible, and it’s again far too obvious that many actors aren’t actually in the same shots in some scenes, which really took me out of it.

There’s an intriguing conflict and looming menace lurking amidst the bombardment of spotty CGI sequences.

Yet, there are still some exciting and bonkers action scenes on offer here; any time M.O.D.O.K. shows up the screen I filled with explosions and frantic action, and seeing Scott, Hope, and Cassie come together in their small and giant forms for the finale was exhilarating, though it was difficult to appreciate Giant-Man’s scale from the framing. One really inventive scene in the film sees Scott shrink further down to reach the core of Kang’s ship; there, he splits into an infinite number of variants and they must work together to get him closer to the core, literally evoking the image of an ant colony working together. Cassie later has a cool coming-of-age moment where she inspires the people of the Quantum Realm to rise up against Kang, and even Hank gets to have a moment to shine by leading his army of technologically advanced ants into battle, though the same unfortunately can’t be said for Hope, who spends most of the film sporting a ridiculous haircut and being understandably annoyed at her mother’s stubbornness before swooping in to aid Ant-Man in reaching the core and in defeating Kang. After Scott retrieves his ship’s core, Kang sets about escaping his confinement using an elaborate set of spinning rings, which will bring him and his army out of the Quantum Realm and allow him to get back to conquering the multiverse. Giant-Man storms his citadel and, despite all of Kang’s vaulted and incomprehensible time powers, a fist fight breaks out between Scott and the conqueror that sees Ant-Man absolutely decimated. Scott frantically gets his family to safety and chooses to stay behind and sacrifice his freedom to prevent Kang’s escape, only for Hope to show up and help fend Kang off, presumably killing him or banishing him to a further sub-sub-atomic dimension. The film then teases that Scott and Hope will be trapped in the Quantum Realm but the Cassie just immediately saves them and everything’s fine…save for Kang’s troubling warning of an oncoming danger and an entire legion of his variants turning their attentions towards the MCU following Kang’s defeat. Personally, I think it would’ve made more sense for someone in the core cast to die or even have it be Hank and Janet who make the last-minute save and end up trapped in the Quantum Realm; that would’ve been quite fitting given Hank’s obsession with it and small things and Janet’s past there but, instead, things wrap up in a nice little bow and I’m left wondering which version of Kang will return to fight the Avengers and how his threat will be restored after being easily overwhelmed by an army of giant ants despite boasting about how many Avengers he’s killed!

The Summary:
I had high expectations for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania; knowing full well that Kang was set to be an Avengers-level threat in the future and having had some knowledge of the character, I expected this to be a little darker, a little more high stakes, and to have serious repercussions for the MCU going forward. Hell, there was the suggestion that Ant-Man might not live through the tale, let alone be victorious, and it seemed like this could be the shake-up the MCU needed to start seriously working towards their next big team-up movie. Instead, it was just lacking in a lot of ways; I get the idea of exploring and expanding upon the Quantum Realm, but it felt like it took way too much time and I just wasn’t that interested in what was happening there as it felt somewhat inconsequential. It tied in nicely to Cassie’s arc of wanting to help people no matter where or who they are, but a lot of the new characters were forgettable, despite being visually interesting. There was next to no onscreen chemistry or development for Scott and Hope; she could’ve been entirely absent and it wouldn’t have mattered all that much as Cassie could’ve easily done everything she did. Paul Rudd continues to shine as Ant-Man but he’s bogged down by all this CGI mess and protracted world-building, and the environment really didn’t give his unique powers a chance to stand out. The sole saving grace was Kang; Jonathan Majors did an excellent job of portraying a nuanced villain, one who is filled with regret for the evils he must do, and he stole every scene he was in. sadly, though, we really don’t learn anything about him; I have no idea where he’s from or why he’s compelled to be the way he is, meaning a lot of the connection I felt to him came from inference, which is fine but I would’ve liked to see some of the early runtime focused more on him so we get a better sense of his motivations. I think Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will land better on repeat viewings, especially once Kang returns to the MCU in future productions but, for now, it was a bit of a let-down for me and definitely a case of style over substance.

My Rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Could Be Better

Did you enjoy Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania? How did you think it compared to the other Ant-Man films? What did you think to the exploration and expansion of the Quantum Realm? Did you enjoy seeing Cassie develop into her own heroic role and the relationship between her and Scott? Were you disappointed by M.O.D.O.K.’s portrayal and the effects used to bring him to life? What did you think to Kang and his motivations, and are you excited to see him return in the MCU? Whatever you think about Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, drop your thoughts below or leave a comment on my social media and be sure to check out my other Ant-Man content.

Back Issues: Tales to Astonish #44

Story Title: “The Creature from Kosmos!”
5 March 1963 (cover-dated June 1963)
Writers: Stan Lee and H. E. Huntley
Artist: Jack Kirby

The Background:
After featuring in the pages of Tales to Astonish #27, the legendary Stan Lee thought it would be fun to revisit the incredible shrinking man, Hank Pym, and recontextualise him as a size-changing superhero eight issues later. Ant-Man soon became the focal point of the Tales to Astonish publication and eventually help to found Marvel’s premiere superhero team, the Avengers, but he wasn’t alone in these endeavors. Created by Lee and H. E. Huntley, Janet van Dyne/The Wasp was only the second of Marvel’s female superheroes; fuelled by a need to avenge her father and a successful fashion designer in her own right (reflected in her many wardrobe changes), Janet became enamoured by Hank Pym (and seemingly every male hero in the Marvel universe) and, after years of will-they-won’t-they and petty spats, the two finally married in 1969. Life as a superhero and with Pym wasn’t easy for Janet; frequently depicted as some scatter-brained bimbo, Janet was forced to watch on helplessly as Pym rapidly switched between identities and created the deadly sentient murder machine Ultron, and was also infamously depicted as suffering physical abuse at Pym’s hands. Still, Janet made a bit of a mark in her own right over the years; she was the leader of the Avengers for a time, was believed dead for a short period, and an alternative version of her gave birth to a daughter, Hope, a supervillain known as the Red Queen. Although the character was unable to appear in the MCU’s first big crossover movie, the Wasp has featured in cameo roles in Marvel videogames and has shown up alongside Ant-Man in Marvel’s animated efforts; a brief cameo in Ant-Man (Reed, 2015) established that Pym (Michael Douglas) was devastated by her loss but he was overjoyed to be reunited with her in the sequel, where she was brought to life by veteran actor Michelle Pfeiffer.

The Review:
“The Creature from Kosmos!” (or: “Ant-Man and the wasp! Vs. The Creature from Kosmos!”) begins innocently enough in Dr. Hank Pym’s laboratory. By this point, Pym has fully embraced his role as Ant-Man; he’s got a snazzy form-fitting costume, has his Pym Particles (now in the form of gas pellets) built into his belt, and can control ants using a special cybernetic helmet that transmits “electronic-wave commands” to the insects. It’s not made clear exactly what Ant-Man is up to in the lab, and the first few panels seem to be there simply to give us some fun small-scale visuals to open the story. Whatever he was up to, Pym quickly grows to full size and broods over his lost love, Maria; I wasn’t aware of this until now, but Pym was previously married to a Hungarian immigrant and, when returning to Hungary for their honeymoon, Maria was abducted and killed to send a message to “those who attempt to escape from behind the Iron Curtain!” Grief-stricken and enraged, Pym took to the streets in a desperate bid to find those responsible and make them pay, only to end up in jail on the verge of a complete mental and physical breakdown. Filled with a burning desire to stamp out injustice, Pym threw himself into his work and the story retroactively states that his entire reasoning behind his shrinking serum and becoming Ant-Man was to make up for being unable to save Maria all those years ago. However, for all his scientific genius and passion, Pym despairs at how many times he’s cheated death and longs for a partner, someone to carry on his legacy should he fall in battle, and forgoes food and sleep working to equip this partner with the means to do so by studying the biology of wasps.

After losing his wife, Pym finds a kindred spirit (of sorts) in society girl Janet, who’s also suffered a loss.

Pym’s research is interrupted by the arrival of Doctor Vernon van Dyne, a fellow scientist who comes asking for Pym’s help with a Gamma ray beam he hopes to use to detect signs of life on other worlds. Pym, however, is not interested in the project since it’s a little outside of his field of expertise, and van Dyne leaves amicably enough, but Pym is left rattled by the startling resemble of van Dyne’s young daughter, Janet, to his lost Maria. Janet also feels an attraction towards Pym but dismisses him as another scientific bore and longs to connect with a more adventurous type of man. Van Dyne returns to his laboratory to try and boost his ray through his own method, but is stunned when an unspeakable, horrifying, malleable alien lifeform that is so monstrous to behold that van Dyne can scarcely lay his eyes on it. speaking through telepathy, the creature exposits that it is an outlaw from the planet Kosmos who was ostracised for trying to enslave its race. Having escaped along the path of van Dyne’s ray, the creature atomises the hapless scientist, leaving only smouldering remains for the heartbroken Janet, who had popped out for some revelry, to find. With no one else to turn to, Janet calls Pym for help but his dismisses her story as the ravings of a “bored society [playgirl]” and only springs into action as Ant-Man after news of van Dyne’s death reaches him from his network of ants across the city. Ant-Man catapults himself across the city using a pistol-like device that effectively allows him to travel vast distances much like Doctor Bruce Banner/The Hulk’s superhuman leaping, his landing safely cushioned by a gaggle of ants he commands to catch him. Rather than grow to full size to talk with Janet, Ant-Man remains shrunk down while he investigates van Dyne’s body and his wrecked machine, quickly coming to the conclusion (despite such things not being in his wheelhouse) that an alien lifeform was behind the grisly murder. Ant-Man is struck by Janet’s vow to avenge her father’s death, which has changed her demeanour (or, at least, his perception of her) from a “bored, flighty shell” to one of determination that only further reminds him of his beloved wife. After instructing Janet to call the federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.), Ant-Man finds that his insectile companions are afraid of the alien since it secretes a mist containing traces of “formic acid” and is thus, apparently, analogous to an ant. Nevertheless, Ant-Man commands his ants to seek out the monstrous beast responsible for van Dyne’s death and returns to his laboratory to greet Janet in his civilian identity (since he told her to go to Pym after calling the F.B.I.).

Pym recruits Janet to help him defeat a horrifying alien, despite her inappropriate feelings towards him.

When Janet reaffirms that she is determined to hunt down her father’s killer, and to dedicate her life to the pursuit of all criminals, Pym is convinced that he’s finally found the partner he has longed for and reveals his duel identity to her, forcing her to swear to stand by him in the pursuit of justice as the Wasp. Pym radically implants synthetic cells below Janet’s skin tissue that all her to shrink to the size of a wasp and grow tiny wings and antennae to communicate with insects and furnishes her with a belt full of his special gas and a ridiculous costume to wear into battle. Janet is then forced to endure  atrial by fire as the ants report that the alien has been running amok through the city and is currently advancing towards the George Washington Bridge. Janet is so overjoyed by Pym’s generosity and the thrill of her new abilities that she blurts out a confession of love! Thankfully, I’m not the only that finds this incredibly shallow and inappropriate as Pym quickly rebukes her since she’s so much younger than him and he has no desire to fall in love again, but his thought balloons betray his harsh statements and Janet sees his rejection as a challenge to prove herself worthy of him. With the ants too afraid to directly oppose the creature, and the military’s full might useless against it, the Wasp throws herself at the alien in a bid to avenge her father and win Ant-Man’s affection, only to be captivated by the alien’s pheromones. After rescuing (and reprimanding) his headstrong new partner, Ant-Man stumbles upon a way to defeat the alien and rushes them back to his lab, where he whips up a chemical antidote to the monster’s formic acid, which he loads into the shells of a 12-gauge shotgun (!) to fire at the creature. With the alien rampaging through Wall Street, Ant-Man and the Wasp scurry on over with their weapon and give the creature both barrels, dispelling it and ending its threat once and for all. Both are so overjoyed at the result that they embrace and, while Ant-Man insists that such displays of emotion aren’t “proper”, the Wasp can’t help but see that he’s blushing beneath his helmet. The story ends with Pym elated to finally have a partner to fight crime alongside, and with Janet secretly vowing to make Pym realise that they’re meant to be and to fight by his side until they’re together as a loving couple.

The Summary:
Gee…well…where to start…? So, it was great to see a more familiar version of Ant-Man this time around. By this point, he’s firmly established himself as a costumed adventurer; he’s got the snazzy outfit, the fancy gadgets, and even a contact in the F.B.I. whom he liaises with. Ant-Man’s relationship with the ants is also far more amicable now thanks to his special helmet, which instantly translates his thoughts into commands for the ants and their “language” into English so he can easily get a lead on crimes and have a near-limitless communication network all across New York City. While his superhero career might be on the up, however, Hank Pym is given far more emotional depth through the tragic loss of his first great love and his desire to have a protégé to carry on his legacy. Heartbroken by Maria’s death, Pym his not interest in losing anyone ever again and is thus resistant to falling in love again; his only concern is opposing the forces of evil and stamping out criminal scum using his fantastic abilities and he simply wants a partner who will take up that mission should he fall in the line of duty.

I can’t decide which is worse, Pym and Janet’s unhealthy relationship of the forgettable alien villain.

He’s thus completely knocked for a loop when Janet enters his life and he’s instantly torn between her striking physical resemblance to Maria and her youth and perceived shortcomings. It’s only after the violent death of her father than Pym starts to see Janet differently; van Dyne’s death changes her, hardens her edge, and motivates her to not only avenge him but hunt down criminals everywhere much like Maria’s death motivated Pym, which makes it seem like they’re kindred spirits but actually is the beginning of a very toxic and unhealthy partnership. Pym is only interested in giving Janet the means to have her revenge when he sees her suffer a tragic loss; literally nothing else except her determination and likeness to Maria qualifies her to be his partner, yet he kits her out anyway and then admonishes her for flying head-first into battle without considering the consequences. Even worse, his need for a partner is so strong that he continues to let her tag along even after she randomly blurts out that she’s in love with him (despite dismissing him earlier) and continues to sweep her affections (and his own obvious attraction for her) under the rug in the hopes that they can focus on the greater good. It’s all very rushed, is what I’m getting at, and their relationship is off to a pretty bad start as Janet is only sticking around for the thrill of her new abilities and in the desperate hope to force Pym to admit her loves her, rather than actually following through on her promise to prove herself to him. The unnamed alien monster is thus pushed way to the background and sticks out like a sore thumb; it’s interesting that even the ants fear it and that it has all these vague, fear-inducing powers and appearances, but it doesn’t take much to dispatch it and I can’t help but feel like a more grounded threat, like gangsters or something, would’ve been better for the story. It seems like the alien’s simply there to “astonish” readers and be this visually alluring monster for the cover art and splash page as it seems completely out of place and overly fantastical for a story that’s trying to be this drama of love, loss, and legacy and ends up being this weird melting pot of manipulation and denial.

My Rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Could Be Better

What did you think to the Wasp’s debut story? Did knowing Hank Pym suffered such a tragic loss change your perception of his character? What did you think to his motivations in recruiting Janet van Dyne and her characterisation in this story? Do you agree that the strange alien monster was out of place here or did it make the story more appealing for you? What are some of your favourite Wasp stories and moment? Sign up to leave your thoughts on Ant-Man and the Wasp below, or drop a comment on my social media, and be sure to check back next Friday for more Ant-Man content!