Despite being portrayed as intelligent in the original film, Ant-Man & The Wasp sees Scott Lang lose quite a few IQ points. This past weekend saw Marvel Studios release its 20th film, Ant-Man & The Wasp, co-starring Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly as the titular heroic duo. A sequel to 2015's Ant-Man, the film marks the third appearance of the size-shifting hero within the MCU, after Scott opted to help Captain America's side during Captain America: Civil War. Of course, he's paying for that mistake when Ant-Man & The Wasp starts.
Since Scott chose to side with a man now considered an international fugitive - and he already had a prior criminal record - he's been sentenced to a long term of house arrest, and were he to be caught trying to circumvent that deal, Scott would face a 20-year prison stint. He's also become estranged from former allies Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne, as his reckless use of their technology turned them into fugitives as well. Naturally, this is a time when Scott could have benefited from the intelligence he displayed in the first film. Sadly, he seems to have left his brain behind in the Quantum Realm.
While MCU heroes all often show a knack for comedy and deadpan snarkiness, Scott Lang seems to have devolved since the original Ant-Man film. He's the butt of the joke more often than not in Ant-Man & The Wasp, struggles to grasp the concepts thrown at him by Hank and Hope, and seems to be nearly incapable of coming up with a good plan to accomplish his/their goals. Scott may not be a "science bro" the caliber of Tony Stark or Bruce Banner, but there's no reason he should be portrayed as this inept.
While it's hard to get a handle on how smart Scott was in Civil War - he's only in the film a brief time, and clearly only accepts Cap's invite to the team due to being a starstruck fan - in the original Ant-Man film, Scott is by no means presented as a moron. A comedic figure sure, but as mentioned above, all Marvel's heroes indulge in comedy from time to time. As revealed by his backstory, Scott not only holds a master's degree in electrical engineering, he also plied his trade as a systems engineer for VistaCorp, before discovering they were defrauding clients. His response to this was to hack their systems and return the stolen money, which of course led to his prison stay. These are not the actions of a moron, these are the actions of someone both educated and capable, if burdened by the desire to do good even when it might not be the smartest move to make.
Additionally, Scott Lang as portrayed in Ant-Man is a "master thief," which - combined with his kindness - is the primary reason given by Hank Pym for recruiting Scott to don the Ant-Man suit, and stop the dastardly Darren Cross (a.k.a. Yellowjacket) from harnessing Pym's technology for evil purposes. In the canon Ant-Man prequel comic "Small Time," Scott is also said to have successfully gotten away with multiple burglaries prior to his time at VistaCorp, often stealing from criminals and returning their ill-gotten gains to those they had originally stolen from.
Yet, in Ant-Man & The Wasp, Scott often comes off like a bumbling idiot, while Hope is portrayed as the savvy "adult" of the duo, and in most cases the smarter and more capable hero. One wonders if Scott's decline in intelligence was done simply to make Hope look all the better as audiences witness her official ascension to The Wasp mantle. If that's the case though, it was an unnecessary move, as Hope was already shown to be very capable in the first film, and it's didn't require Scott to start constantly slipping on narrative banana peels. Hopefully something closer to the original Scott Lang characterization appears in next year's Avengers 4, provided he can somehow return from the Quantum Realm again.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019