Marvel have produced banger after banger this past couple of years. Playing with expectations and mixing up the formula to keep their 10 year old franchise fresh, even keeping its more jaded fans on their toes. After Infinity War, it felt like a mart move to release a movie with a more lighthearted nature after Thanos had his way with the universe.
In a way, Ant-Man has always felt like the odd man out in the MCU. While his stories take place on a far smaller scale than the past few movies have been doing (no pun intended), the events of his movies always felt kind of divorced from the rest of the MCU, despite Falcon making a cameo in the first movie and his significant appearance in Civil War.
While the first Ant-Man movie felt like a heist, this doesn’t feel like it has a unique identity outside of being a pretty basic Marvel movie. The early talk of the first Ant-Man was that it was going to be far more comedic than previous entries into the MCU. But with Thor: Ragnarok doubling down on its humour, coming out the same year as Spider-Man and Guardians 2, Ant-Man couldn’t just rely on being the funny one.
I was entertained throughout the movie, but I felt that it lost a lot of what made the first movie unique. The cast continues to be amazing, as do the visual effects. But I just think they focus on the wrong aspects of the movie in that regard.
It doesn’t really dwell on the fantastical visuals of being tiny like it did in the first movie. It assumes its audience are already bored with that and instead focused on the “Quantum Realm” as its big visual set piece. But after the visual mind-fuckery in both Guardians 2 and Doctor Strange, it doesn’t feel all too unique.
The villains are throw away too. While Ghost and her partner aren’t necessarily “bad guys”, their goals just being in opposition to the heroes, it’s something they could easily have avoided if they’d just asked. They’re not especially memorable. Hell, Walton Goggins at half speed is a more entertaining bad guy in the movie and he’s played more for comic relief than anything.
When Marvel has spend the past few movies upping the ante over and over, I can’t be too mad when this movie couldn’t top Infinity War or Black Panther. It’s full of charm, action and a ton of cool visuals. With strong leads. Evangeline Lilly might be my favourite of the female leads in any of the Marvel movies, I’d be more than happy for her to lead an all female avengers-like team.
By MCU standards, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a pretty low-key affair. It does its job competently but doesn’t feel essential to the greater story being told. It felt like the series taking a breather before it gets back to its grand finale beginning next year with Captain Marvel and ending with Infinity War 2.