One of the most underrated aspects of both Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp is Scott’s relationship to his ex-wife, Maggie, and her new husband, Paxton. What makes Paxton in particular so unique and refreshing among the plethora of blockbuster movies over the decades is his supportive and friendly relationship with Scott, especially in the sequel. Often times in these type of character dynamics, Paxton would be portrayed as the rival to be defeated by Scott in order to win back Maggie and win the affection of his daughter, Cassie.
Paxton does play an antagonistic role in Ant-Man, it isn’t out of spite towards Scott or him still pining for Maggie (which he isn’t) but that Paxton believes him to be a poor influence on Cassie. While he does arrest Scott later in the movie, he does so for legitimate reasons and expresses his disappointment in Scott for letting Maggie and Cassie down. Maybe this is a bit cruel to tell Scott while he’s sitting in a cell, but Paxton obviously cares for the both of them and knows that Scott being in jail again will break their hearts, especially Cassie. Even when the movie has the opportunity to kill Paxton or portray him as a coward when Yellowjacket comes for Cassie, they don’t. Instead, Paxton is very willing to die to protect Cassie before Scott saves them both.
It’s very typical of divorces in Hollywood to be portrayed negatively and the relationship between the husband and ex-husband even more so, as they compete for the wife like a prize. Unlike fiction, divorces can end mutually, as shown in Ant-Man. It helps dispel the notion that divorce can’t ever end amicably for every party and that it can be a good and healthy step for everyone involved.
Over the course of Ant-Man, Paxton’s relationship with Scott grows into mutual respect for one another as Scott acknowledges that Paxton just wants the best for Cassie and to see her happy, while Paxton begins to see Scott the way Cassie does – a hero. Paxton even goes as far as covering up Scott’s escape from jail for both his and Cassie’s sake. This dynamic was just so refreshing to see, as Ant-Man concludes with them all having dinner together as they praise Cassie for her acrobatic skills.
This isn’t forgotten in the sequel and has actually grown stronger, despite Maggie and Paxton’s limited screen time. Despite Scott being under house arrest and breaking the Sokovia Accords when he helped Captain America, Maggie and Paxton still support him wholeheartedly with all of them, including Paxton, insisting on group hugs as they drop off and pick up Cassie. Even when Scott is suspected of breaking his house arrest, Maggie and Paxton vehemently defend him and their confidence in him never wavers once. They just want to see Scott grow into a better person for Cassie, which is all that matters to Maggie and Paxton.