DOUBLE FEATURE: A Movie Review of “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and “Incredibles 2”

incred 2

Saturday night we went to the drive-in.  We saw a double feature of Ant-Man and the Wasp and Incredibles 2Other than the rain during Ant-Man and the Wasp, we enjoyed the movies.

The two movies have some things in common.

  1. Both are superhero movies, with a good blend of action and humor.
  2. Both pass the Bechdel test with flying colors.
  3. Both have competent female protagonists, antagonists, and supporting characters.
  4. Both examine the role of superheroes in society.

Ant-Man and the Wasp, the 20th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), takes place two years after the events of Captain America: Civil War and contemporaneously with Avengers: Infinity War (Part 1).  Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man, is on house-arrest.  He has parted company with Hope Van Dyne, aka Wasp (Jr.), and her father Hank Pym; they are on the run, and have been for the past two years.  Scott provides a clue that Janet Van Dyne, aka Wasp (Sr.) may still be alive in the Quantum Dimension.  Dr. Pym and his daughter are determined to rescue her, with or without Scott’s help.

The physics are less than believable, but the movie is so fun that you’ll turn off your brain and ignore that.  Luis, Scott’s long-winded, silver-tongued friend from prison (and now his business partner), steals the show.  Like Black Panther, it’s a female friendly movie.  Hope Van Dyne, Janet Van Dyne, Ghost (Ava Starr), Maggie (Scott’s ex-wife), and Cassie (Scott’s beloved daughter) are all well developed characters with plausible motivations for their actions.  As with Killmonger in Black Panther, Ghost as a valid reason for what she’s doing.

Incredibles 2 begins literally seconds after the first movie ended.  Unfortunately, the Parr clan’s attempt to defeat the Underminer is less than successful, resulting in some collateral damage.  The superhero relocation program is being shut down due to budget cuts.  With their house destroyed in the last movie and Bob Parr, aka Mr. Incredible, having been fired from his insurance job a few months ago, they’ve got two weeks in a motel before they’re homeless.

Luckily, Frozone is approached by business executive Winston Deavor, a gushing fanboy when it comes to superheroes.  Winston and his genius sister Evelyn want to bring superheroes back into the public eye so their heroics can become legal again.  They hire Elastigirl, aka Helen Parr, to be the first super to make a comeback.  (Her collateral damage record was far less than her husband’s.)  The Deavors provide them with a home which must have belonged to a superhero at one point; it’s a cross between stately Wayne Manor and Tracy Island, and Tony Stark would love it.  She meets other metahumans, some of whom regard her with awe.  As Elastigirl goes after Screenslaver, Mr. Incredible is busy playing Mr. Mom : helping (or attempting to help) Dash with his homework, dealing with Violet’s broken heart, and trying to keep up with baby Jack-Jack who is a polymorph.  None of the female characters — Elastigirl, Violet, Evelyn, the Ambassador, Voyd, Edna Mode — are two-dimensional ciphers.

“Unhappy the land that needs heroes.” Unglücklich das Land, das Helden nötig hat.  Bertolt Brecht, 1898 – 1956

Screenslaver, the antagonist of Incredibles 2, believes superheroes make the rest of the population weak, because they then rely on superheroes instead of themselves.  Ant-Man used the power of his suit to help Captain America, but in doing so broke the Sokovian Accords.  What are the duties and obligations of a superhero?  Who decides when they should intervene?  Who is responsible for the damage after a fight between superheroes and supervillains?

“With great power comes great responsibility.”  Stan Lee

I recommend both movies.  Both were small-scale superhero movies, threatening only one city and a small group of people rather than the entire world, yet both had consequences beyond their own setting.

Images of movie posters “borrowed” from IMDB, both copyright Disney Entertainment.  Videos from YouTube.

 

 

 

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