There is scene in Ant-Man and The Wasp, Marvel's sequel to 2015's Ant-Man, in which Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), and college professor Dr. Bill Foster (Lawrence Fishburne) compare sizes.
Granted, they're talking about how big they've managed to grow inside their respective ant suits, rather than their genitals, but still. ("21 feet," Bill says smugly. "60 feet," Scott replies. Boom.) Seeing this play out on the very same day the internet decided to be very concerned about girth, it was impossible not to put this entire movie in the context of Big Dick Energy.
That scene, it turns out, is actually the one with the least BDE of Ant-Man & The Wasp, a film with a premise so absurd, and one that it owns with such extreme confidence, that it can only be categorized under this new label. The addition of The Wasp in the title just adds to this aura, as it's just fact that wasps outrank ants on the BDE spectrum.
Set prior to the events of Avengers: Infinity War but after the kerfuffle of Captain America: Civil War, we return to San Francisco to find Scott (midsize BDE) under house arrest. Turns out, he went to join Cap and the gang to fight the other Avengers without the approval or permission of the U.S. government, or his associates Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and daughter Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), who also find themselves on the run from the law as a result. With days left on his sentence, Scott is condemned to roam his hallways aimlessly, building really cool forts for his daughter, pounding at a silent drum set, and mastering close-up magic. (He's getting good!) That is until he falls asleep in the bath and dreams of Janet Pym (Michelle Pfeiffer), Hank's wife who was lost to the Quantum World years ago when she shrunk to a size too small to come back from in order to save the world from a deadly missile. If you saw Ant-Man, you'll know that Scott is the only one to have ever made it home from the Quantum World, and through the magic of quantum entanglement — a science term I do not quite understand, but neither does Scott, so whatever — Janet has implanted ideas, including her location, in his head.
As it happens, the reason Scott has this dream is because Hank (BDE) and Hope (definitely BDE) have been building a tunnel to the Quantum World in an effort to retrieve Janet (HUGE BDE). And for that, they need what's inside Scott's head. Thus, Hope kidnaps Scott, bringing him to the shrinking lab (literally a building that can be shrunk and rolled around like a suitcase) she and her father have been hiding out in, and the adventure begins.
Director Peyton Reed deserves major credit for taking what could have been an absolute bonkers film (there are large ants performing engineering tasks — Spider-Man, do NOT get any ideas please, for my own personal sanity) and molding it into a fun, fast-paced and truly delightful caper. Rudd is the only person in the world who could run around in an ant suit and still remain the object of lustful fantasy, and he pulls off the goofy dad superhero act with maximum charm. (Although it's really hard to compete on the BDE scale when you're sharing scenes with Bobby Cannavale, who makes a handful of appearances as Scott's daughter Cassie's lovable stepfather.)
This is the first Marvel movie in which a woman shares top superhero billing, and Lily more than delivers. Far from needing Scott to save her, the film repeatedly plays up the idea that they are partners, in crime-fighting and love. It helps that she has great role models: Hank and Janet aren't just husband and wife, and the former iterations of Ant-Man and The Wasp — both are brilliant scientists in their own right. Still, seeing her hold her own just makes me wish Marvel would dole out female-headlined superhero movies with the same ease as it does men's. (The first to take up the mantle will be Captain Marvel, played by Brie Larson, in the eponymous film which hits theaters in 2019).
Reprising his role as Luis, Scott's former cell-mate and business partner at Ex-Con Security Consultants, Michael Pena delivers some of the movie's biggest laughs (yes, truth serum makes a cameo), second only to Randall Park as FBI Agent Jimmy Woo, a great new addition to the franchise. And following in Marvel's latest penchant for somewhat sympathetic (or at least, nuanced) antagonists, Hannah John-Kamen's Ghost, whose backstory I won't spoil here, is just as much a victim as she is a villain.
The script, a group effort by Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, and Gabriel Ferrari, is snappy, and the jokes keep coming, making Ant-Man and the Wasp a healing balm after the dark ending of May's Avengers: Infinity War.