WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Marvel’s Ant-Man and The Wasp, in theaters now.
One of the biggest running jokes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's latest installment, Ant-Man and The Wasp, is a giant ant that's surprisingly adept at nailing sweet fills on Scott Lang's electronic drum kit.
First glimpsed in a trailer, the ant (which, for the sake of this article, we'll name after Anthrax drummer Charlie BenANTe) is seen throughout the film in Scott's house. With the hero under house arrest due to his role in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, Charlie is trained as a stand-in by Hank Pym so Scott can leap back into action. This elaborate switch involves Charlie wearing Scott's ankle monitor and mimicking his daily routine so the FBI won't be aware that Ant-Man has left the building.
The seemingly simple setup results in one of the film's big recurring gags as Charlie does everything from lounging around on the couch eating Froot Loops to enjoying long baths. In addition to being an effective sight gag, the ant's appearance embodies the MCU sequel's tone and humor.
Just as 2015's Ant-Man served as pleasantly innocuous follow-up to that year's emotionally charged Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man and The Wasp is an intentionally low-stakes romp following the apocalyptic intensity of Avengers: Infinity War and the Afro-futurist grandeur of Black Panther. Both Ant-Man films are a comedic palate cleanser for the more epic adventures, powered by a robust sense of humor and genuine emotional core.
Ant-Man introduced the concept that enlarged ants could serve as a sort of insectoid pet with a final gag of Lang's daughter Cassie adopting a giant ant as a surrogate dog, feeding it table scraps and petting it. Ant-Man and The Wasp doubles down on the joke by introducing Charlie relatively early and expanding upon what the giant ants can do.
Just as this film re-frames many of the 2015 original's jokes without feeling forced, Charlie's inclusion builds upon that earlier concept and remains a pleasant callback, even as the stakes and action intensify. No matter how dire things look for our heroes, Charlie is still content on living out the last days of Scott's house arrest, and looks as though he may have topped his mark on the drums.
Even as Ant-Man and The Wasp syncs up with the events of Infinity War during its end-credits scenes, Charlie remains that humorously, unflappable presence. The stingers that depicts San Francisco descending into chaos after Thanos' climactic use of the Infinity Gauntlet cuts to Charlie still wailing away on the drums, undeterred by the reality-bending crisis around him.
From his fan-favorite appearance in Civil War to his upcoming role next year's Avengers sequel, Ant-Man has had one of the biggest senses of humor in the MCU, even as the odds are increasingly stacked against him. And with Ant-Man and The Wasp being the most family-friendly entry in the MCU, Charlie just going about Scott Lang's daily routine is as charmingly innocuous as jokes go.
As a constant reminder to the audience that the movie, at its core, is a lighthearted caper, Charlie BonANTe, the giant, drumming ant embodies the easy-going, fan-pleasing charm of the Ant-Man movies. Both a callback to the previous film and an expansion of the sequel's possibilities of what size-changing tech and telepathically controlled ants can do, Charlie represents what makes Ant-Man and The Wasp so appealing to audiences and why the film is a necessary follow-up to the heartbreaking finale of Avengers: Infinity War.
Plus, there's just something inherently hilarious about the sight of a giant ant channeling its inner Ringo Starr.
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.