Trips to the movies are rarer for us now than they were four months ago (but still well above the national average!), but when a Marvel movie comes out, it’s required viewing, even when that movie is the relatively low-stakes Ant-Man and the Wasp.
And it’s a great time. Slick, inventive action sequences, visually striking effects (the trip to the Quantum Realm looked amazing in 3-D), and plenty of carefree humor. The real reason I want to talk about the movie to any great length here, though, is the relationship at the heart of the movie.
Yeah, the titular characters have a relationship (one that goes from rocky, to professional, to romantic all over again), but the most important pair in the movie actually isn’t Ant-Man and the Wasp, but Ant-Man and his daughter, Cassie.
What remains great about Scott “Ant-Man” Lang is his status as the MCU’s blue-collar hero. This is a guy who is frustrated with being a cog in the system, commits a felony (a “working-class-hero” felony, but a crime nonetheless), serves time for it, and ultimately just wants to do right by his family. This groundwork was laid in the first Ant-Man, but it’s given a lot more room to grow and breathe in the sequel (even if Scott, under house arrest after his role in Captain America: Civil War, is theoretically not given much room to breathe).
From the opening moments, depicting what at first looks like another of Scott’s heists that we quickly discover is an elaborate network of tunnels he’s built in his house to entertain his daughter, Ant-Man and the Wasp never stops being about Scott and the love he has for his kid. He even has to take an “emergency” phone call from Cassie during a villain’s monologue. If that’s ain’t super-hero love, I don’t know what is. As Ant-Man follows Hank Pym and Hope van Dyne on another elaborate caper, he’s racing against his own personal need to get home before the authorities notice he’s violated the terms of his house arrest (and with mere hours to go until relative freedom!). All the while, Scott is also trying to find time to help get a fledgling security business off the ground with his ex-con buddies (and yes, it’s a legitimate business!).
Even fighting alongside (and against) some of the Avengers hasn’t changed Scott’s status as a perennial sad-sack struggling to navigate adulthood. He’s not an unfailingly successful capitalist like Tony Stark or a paragon of altruism like Steve Rogers. He’s not someone we aspire to be, because in a lot of ways (hopefully not the ex-convict part), we already are Scott Lang. And the one constant in his life, the thing that keeps him going even when he seems to be at his lowest, is his daughter.
Particularly now, Scott Lang is a vital cog in the Marvel machine for me, filling an otherwise absent role in the MCU* — the true everydad. Scott’s relationship with Cassie is the stuff dad-goals are made of.