‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ Uncovers Wisdom in the Wilderness

Not only does this “little” Ant-Man sequel matter in the bigger scheme of Marvel’s fictional universe. It also packs in some weighty moral themes.

By Aaron Welty Published on October 15, 2018

As the credits rolled on the latest Avengers film, Avengers: Infinity War, audiences wondered: where was Ant-Man? Last seen in Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) was absent from the latest superhero team-up.

Fortunately, those questions were answered in Ant-Man and the Wasp. This light-hearted Marvel movie releases tomorrow on home media.  (Note: this review gives a plot overview and avoids spoilers.)

An Absent Avenger

After Captain America: Civil War, Lang agreed to house arrest for siding with Captain America.  Now, Lang visits with his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson). Specifically, he entertains her with a “daddy/daughter caper” that majors on childlike fun.

A dream about Janet VanDyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) leads Lang to Hope VanDyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). The father daughter/duo want to find Hope’s mother and need Scott’s help.

Previously, Janet sacrificed herself to prevent the deaths of thousands of others. With Scott’s connection, Hope and Hank plot a rescue via a gateway into an unseen realm.

Assembling this technology, while on the run from the FBI, requires them to rely on shady characters to finish building the gateway.

A Hidden, Healing, Heroine

Preventing this rescue is Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen). The victim of an experiment gone wrong, she has been trained by the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division, aka S.H.I.E.L.D.

Used for classified assignments, she has the ability to pass through solid matter. Overuse of this “affliction” causes Ghost to become unstable. Now on the run, she seeks a cure for what plagues her.

Her last hope? The work of her long-dead father’s former associate, Hank Pym. This desperation leads to a kidnapping that thickens the film’s plot and shows the power of brains over brawn.

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Meanwhile, caught up in an adventure he’d rather avoid, Scott’s absence from home endangers his future. It’s the dream-like connection between Scott and Janet that leads deep into the quantum realm. Nevertheless, who they find there is unexpected.

Instead, Hank encounters something more. Time, loneliness, and survival produced a wandering sage. This sage can reach into places of personal pain and bring healing.

Redemption and Restoration

Unlike most superhero films, the ending in Ant-Man and the Wasp doesn’t come by punching the villain into submission. Instead, redemption comes via someone willing to enter into another’s suffering.

It is the wisdom and perspective of previous wilderness wanderings that allows this. In the case of the long-lost sage, mere presence is a healing balm to a fractured family. Moreover, the sage’s use of energy from another realm provides physical healing that, hopefully, proves a pathway to inner peace.

In the shadows of Avengers: Infinity War, it’s easy to overlook a film like Ant-Man and the Wasp because it’s something smaller. However, to do so would withhold the wisdom of wilderness experience.

Often it is our own places of personal pain from which purpose can arise. It is what comes from our own misery that allows us to help others. We become active agents, present with others amidst trial and tribulation we already understand.

In doing so, we can bring healing and wholeness. Often, this happens on a smaller scale: one person, one family, one small act of heroism at a time.


Rated PG-13 for some sci-fi action violence, Ant-Man and the Wasp releases tomorrow on home media. Explore The Stream’s complete films coverage, and sign up to receive top stories via email every week. 

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