‘Ant-Man’ Recap: What You Need to Remember Before Seeing ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’

Ant-Man | Marvel

Even for hardcore fans, the Marvel Cinematic Universe can sometimes be a bit difficult to keep track of. Ant-Man and the Wasp is the 20th film in the series, and it assumes that you’ve seen not only the original Ant-Man but also Captain America: Civil War. If you’re going into the new movie having missed one or both of those, or you’re just hazy on the details, let’s recap everything you need to remember about Scott Lang and his friends.

In 2015’s Ant-Man, we meet Scott as he is being released from prison. He had been working for a security company but discovered they were intentionally overcharging their customers, so Scott hacked into their system and stole from the head of the corporation in order to pay back the little guy. He got caught, though, and so that’s why he’s been locked up for years.

When he gets out, Scott desperately wants to see his daughter more regularly; she’s under the care of his ex-wife and her new fiancé, and he needs to prove he can hold down a job and pay child support. But Scott is struggling to find work because of his criminal record. His old cellmate, Luis, tells him about a rich old man who is sitting on a bunch of money, but when Scott breaks into the house and cracks the man’s safe, all he finds is a motorcycle suit.

At least, that’s what he thinks. It turns out, this is a suit belonging to scientist Hank Pym, who developed extraordinary shrinking technology when he worked at S.H.I.E.L.D. However, he resigned years ago when he discovered that S.H.I.E.L.D. was attempting to use his tech without his permission. He went on to found his own company, Pym Technologies, but he has since been forced out of it; a man by the name of Darren Cross took over with the help of Hank’s estranged daughter, Hope.

We discover that Hank intentionally led Scott to his house hoping he would break in and take the suit. That’s because he has found out that Darren Cross has developed a shrinking suit of his own called the Yellowjacket, and he plans to sell it as a weapon. To stop him, Hank needs to break into Pym Technologies’ headquarters to steal it, but he can’t do it himself, as he’s too old and has been exposed to the Pym Particles for too many years.

If you’re wondering why Hank’s daughter, Hope, just can’t do it herself, that’s a good question. Although Hank and Hope were estranged for years, she’s now back on his side. But although Hope insists she can break into the headquarters herself, Hank is desperately afraid of losing her. He reveals that he lost his wife and Hope’s mother, Janet van Dyne, on a mission decades ago. They were trying to disable a missile and the only way to do so was to go subatomic. Janet shrunk down to a size so tiny that she was able to enter the missile and disable it, but she couldn’t stop herself from shrinking, and she became trapped in what Hank refers to as the “Quantum Realm.”

The Quantum Realm in Ant-Man

The Quantum Realm in Ant-Man | Marvel Studios

At the very end of the movie, Scott is able to defeat Darren Cross this same way; he goes subatomic in order to destroy Cross’ suit. However, like Janet, he continues to shrink and enters the Quantum Realm, where he will presumably be stuck forever. Fortunately, though, Scott discovers a way out by putting one of the Pym Particle disks into his regulator. He returns back to his normal size, and everything is all well and good. In a post-credits scene, Hank decides he’s finally ready for his daughter to become The Wasp, and he reveals a new suit he had been developing for Hope.

The next time we saw Scott was in Captain America: Civil War. In that movie, the Avengers are feuding over the Socovioa Accords, a new piece of legislation that regulates superheroes and places some severe restrictions on them. Tony Stark feels this is necessary due to all of the collateral damage they’ve caused over the years (including in Socovioa, hence the name), while Steve Rogers feels this will prevent them from saving lives.

Steve Rogers and the gang need more people on their side to battle Tony Stark, and so Sam Wilson ends up recruiting Scott Lang, who he met during the original Ant-Man in a scene where Scott breaks into the Avengers facility to steal a piece of tech. Scott seems pretty confused about what’s going on, but he does end up fighting for Captain America’s side during the airport battle.

The key moment in this battle comes when Scott is able to turn giant, something he says he only tested out in a lab once (and he passed out). Seeing this work out perfectly makes Scott laugh with delight as he becomes 65 feet tall, although Spider-Man and Iron Man end up pushing him over. By the end of the battle, Scott is exhausted, and he asks if anyone has any orange slices.

Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War | Marvel Studios

By the end of the movie, those who fought for Captain America, including Scott Lang, end up in prison, but Steve breaks them out in the last scene.

That brings us to Ant-Man and the Wasp, which picks up two years later and depicts the consequences of Scott’s actions in Civil War. The airport battle, by the way, took place in Germany, so whenever a character in Ant-Man and the Wasp references the events of Germany, that’s what they’re talking about.

With that, you’re pretty much caught up. The most important two things to remember before seeing the new film are that Scott Lang broke the law by helping out Captain America in Civil War and that in the original film, Scott proved that a person can return from the Quantum Realm, where Hank’s wife disappeared years earlier.

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