It took a decade and twenty movies for Marvel to finally let a female superhero have a piece of a movie title. With how naturally the Wasp steals the show, you’d never know.
Without ever actually pointing out how big a deal it is to have this tiny hero on the big screen, the Wasp, aka Hope Van Dyne, leads the charge against bad guys and does most of the actual fighting. She is, as far as the actions scenes go, the actually star of the show. As it weird as it is, all the shrinking and growing that occur in every action sequence feels exciting because it's so different from every action movie you have ever scene. And the Wasp does this all while wearing a costume that actually seems like it would work for crime fighting rather than one that seems unworkably suggestive.
On the other hand, most of the character arc with Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man (aka Scott Lang) involves figuring out how to responsibly use the Ant-Man mantel while not doing anything that could hurt his daughter or other people he loves. Where The Wasp brings the kick-butt action stuff someone would want out of a summer movie, Scott Lang brings the heart, the laughs and even the romance. It’s a role that works great for Paul Rudd, as anyone who remembers the movie “Clueless” knows.
In that way, the movie flips the script of what one would expect from a superhero film. The women is the muscle, the guy is the heart. And it does all that without being preachy. Scott isn’t insecure about letting Hope succeed, but he doesn’t make a big deal about it either. This is who she is, so this is what she does.
And the truth is, this works best for both of them. They still need Ant-Man, for reasons I’m being intentionally vague about, to accomplish their aims. His heart, and the Wasps more easily measured skills are what make them a great team. When they both bring their skills to the table, regardless of their gender, things work. Who knew?
Rachel Strange is the pop culture columnist for the Claremore Progress.