WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Marvel's Ant-Man and the Wasp, in theaters now.
Avengers: Infinity War left audiences emotionally drained. While everyone was excited to see the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange and the forces of Wakanda team up to save the Earth from Thanos, no one expected the ensemble film to leave them shell-shocked. Thanos' finger snap obliterated half of all life in the universe, and we had to watch helplessly as some of our favorite heroes crumbled to ash, from Star-Lord and Bucky, to Black Panther and Spider-Man and beyond, even though we expected to have casualties, it was staggering nonetheless.
But while fans were left in a state of emotional distress, wary of Avengers 4, and what it might bring, we got a palate cleanser in the form of Ant-Man and the Wasp, a much more light-hearted affair that turned out to be exactly what the doctor ordered. The film is fun, action-packed and delivers giant laughs. But for all of the humor it brings to the table, the sequel also finds the time to tackle a serious subject matter: criminal justice reform.
The first Ant-Man subtly explored the subject matter through the lens of Scott Lang, who had just gotten out of prison as the movie opened. As an ex-con, Scott was having trouble finding a job that was right for him, something that eventually led to him becoming a superhero. In the sequel, the theme of criminal justice reform is even more blatantly on display, thanks to Luis, Dave and Kurt. More than that, it actually turns into one of the driving plot points of the film.
All three characters were present in the first film. As ex-cons, they all had trouble finding work once they got outside of prison, but in Ant-Man and the Wasp, we see these characters at the head of their own struggling security business (aptly named X-Cons). They want to use their expertise to full-proof people's homes and establishments, but are having trouble just staying afloat. Luis, Dave and Kurt have a side-plot that runs throughout the entire film; Scott is helping them with their business, but the fact that he's under house-arrest makes it difficult for him to properly contribute to the company.
Without Scott's help, Luis struggles to make ends meet, and all of his hopes rely on their final potential client. In order for his presentation to be perfect, Luis tries to find Scott, and that is how he, as well as Dave and Kurt, end up getting mixed into the main plot of the film involving supervillain the Ghost and weapons dealer Sonny Birch. Luckily, the trio's involvement in the climactic chase for possession of Hank Pym's quantum tunnel ends up earning them a whole lot of good publicity, which leads to their business finally getting off the ground.
Luis, Dave and Kurt are endearing characters that have somehow become a crucial part of the Ant-Man franchise. They're mostly there to lend a helping hand and deliver some solid laughs, but thanks to them, Ant-Man and the Wasp offers a commentary on criminal-justice reform.
Ant-Man and the Wasp gives the trio a successful ending in the wake of the heroic role they played in San Francisco, when they showed everyone watching that they are talented, devoted and that they have much to offer. They're not bad people; they're human beings just like the rest of us who once made some bad choices. It's a general message that should be applied outside of the MCU and into our modern society, and Peyton Reed's film reminds us all of that fact.
In theaters now, director Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man and The Wasp stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Judy Greer, David Dastmalchian, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Hannah John-Kamen, Randall Park and Walton Goggins.