“It’s about damn time!” was the line heard around fandom as Evangeline Lilly – who spent the entirety of Ant-Man being stronger, faster, smarter, and more aware of the technology involved in a world-saving heist – finally got to see a suit she could use…in another adventure. Maybe. Someday. Probably. Who knows. Ask us later.
Matt Singer at Screen Crush thoroughly trashed this element of the film, using it as a mirror for Marvel’s “sad state” of female characters.
In conversation with fans of Ant-Man, I’ve heard these scenes described as clever satire; Marvel poking fun at its middling track record with female characters. It’s easy to imagine how, in a funnier and sharper film, these sequences could play that way, with Scott Lang, the bumbling hero, contrasted with Hope, the wildly overqualified benchwarmer. Maybe Edgar Wright’s original vision of the film would have mined that contrast for truly subversive laughs. But Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man is way too invested in the Marvel movie formula to seriously critique it; hence Scott is less of a genuine screwup than a Robin Hood-type with a heart of gold (and abs of steel), and he quickly masters the Ant-Man suit and powers. So Hank Pym basically was correct; he picked the right guy for the job, and he didn’t need Hope to do much after all.
Singer posits an alternate universe version of the movie where “It’s about time!” comes halfway through the runtime and Hope’s role goes from business suited decoy to superhero, but we all know that Marvel simply wouldn’t have gone for that.
However, there’s one silver lining to the scene – knowing that Marvel’s favorite drug is anticipation, placing a mid-credits scene promising Hope’s transformation into The Wasp feels like an acknowledgement of fan desire for more female superheroes. They get it, just not enough to let her share the heroics of this movie. Meanwhile, it’s not clear that Scott Lang really needs more stories of his own, but there’s a metric ton of tiny potential in seeing what Hope can do.
After Tasha Robinson at The AV Club included her bafflement at needing to wait for another movie to see The Wasp team up with Ant-Man in a long, hilarious list of plot hole problems with the film, I didn’t think there was any need to echo the point any further, but there’s one meta element of the “Recruit Hope” cry that has gone unmentioned so far.
As of now, Marvel’s first female-led superhero film, Captain Marvel, is slated for November 2018 (only three years, everyone!). There are already two other Marvel projects planned for release in 2018 (Black Panther and Infinity Wars: Part 1), and there’s no way that Marvel will squeeze another film onto the docket, but if they’re able and willing to make The Wasp their next announced project, slated for 2019, they’ll be able to transform (or at least alleviate) Captain Marvel’s tokenism into something of a committed streak.
Instead of having one movie-leading superheroine in a sea of dudes, stand-alone Captain Marvel and Wasp movies placed in close proximity would be a powerful statement as well as another step in framing these kinds of films with normalcy. A move that simultaneously shows how important these movies could be to a large amount of fans and asks for regularity.
In a brief window of time, Captain Marvel wouldn’t be Marvel’s only. Wouldn’t that be something?
Related Topics: Marvel