Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania Kinda Forgets About The Wasp Until It's Convenient

The following article contains spoilers for "Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania." 

"Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania" is finally in theaters. The third solo Ant-Man film marks the beginning of Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is resting on his laurels a bit after saving the universe with podcast appearances and book signings for the memoir he just wrote. He certainly deserves a break after what he (and that rat) accomplished, right? His daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) is more active, getting herself arrested during a protest and trying to help people, a drive she shares with Scott's partner and fellow Avenger, the Wasp, aka Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly). Hope is working on using Pym particles to improve a world dealing with the after-effects of half the planet disappearing. Her parents, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), are reconnecting after the three decades Janet spent in the Quantum Realm. 

That's really our introduction to what's happened since the last films, and it's very, very brief. Shortly after the film begins, the group is sucked into the Quantum Realm, where they have to deal with Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), who has a past with Janet. She hasn't spoken about her time there, and it's caused major issues for the group and the multiverse. 

With a title like "Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania," one should safely be able to assume that The Wasp will be a major part of the film. The thing is, she's barely in it. 

But ... her name is in the title!

Hope does have a fancy suit like Scott, and a more comics-accurate haircut (not that this is in any way important to the narrative), but she doesn't really have anything to do. To be fair, there is so much stuffed into two hours that outside of Kang, we don't even get to know any of the new characters. (Some appear to be there just to set up a joke). We barely explore the Quantum Realm beyond a bar that might as well be the cantina from "Star Wars." Someone was going to have to get sidelined. It just seems odd that it was one of the characters with her name in the title.

This story is about the relationship between Cassie and her dad, and I get that. I just cannot stand when a character is introduced with a love story, and then once it works out, they're no longer a major part of said story. Hope is an accomplished woman. She's a senior member of the board of Pym Technologies. She's an Avenger, for Anton's sake. She fights as well, if not better than Scott. She's dealing with the return of her mother after 30 years. A mother, by the way, who won't tell her anything about her time in the Quantum Realm. We barely see any of that. She's in a newer relationship, but it appears that the film forgot that they're supposed to be in love. Outside of a kiss at the end and a friendly laugh at the Scott/Cassie banter, that's gone. I don't need smooches in every film, of course, but they're together; it was a major plot point in the first two films, they're superhero fighting partners, and she's just ... not there. 

Maybe they mean Janet when they say The Wasp?

It's frustrating, particularly now, in a world where we actually have solo superhero films with women in lead roles. The Wasp is the first female superhero with her name in the film's title ("Ant-Man and The Wasp" and oh my gosh, please stop with the similar titles). Instead of kicking a whole lot of butt, Hope is mostly there to fix the things Scott screws up. Sure, Cassie is being set up to be Stature or Stinger, but her name isn't on the marquis. Heck, there are two Wasps in this film, but it's Michelle Pfeiffer's Wasp that gets all the screen time. 

It's interesting to note that Lilly recently visited "Good Morning America," where she spoke about how she didn't have to do any training for this film. She told the host that when her action happens, she's tiny, so it's all CGI. It bothered her in the first film but now, she said, "I was like, 'This actually is good...' Sitting back and enjoying myself while they did all this." Well, at least she's happy.

"Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania" is currently in theaters.