Ant-Man and the Wasp Review and How the Franchise Fits into the MCU

Marvel’s bite-sized heroes took the #1 spot at the box office this weekend with $76 million. ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ follows Avengers Infinity War, the culmination of 10 years of superheroes. That movie had gargantuan ambition with an outcome that would determine the shape of the MCU for years to come. The Ant-Man sequel is a much, much lighter installment that still manages to generate both laughs and fun action scenes. It’s exactly the breath of fresh air fans needed after watching a grumpy Grimace lay waste to the galaxy. Marvel’s strategic release timing of this movie reminds fans these movies are supposed to be fun, and while the stressful experience of Infinity War can be fun, it’s okay to enjoy a lighter movie sometimes. The strength of this movie is its lightheartedness and small scale conflict (get it (because they’re ants)). In a way, that’s also one of the movie’s biggest downfalls. Fans were hoping, to no avail, this movie would answer questions from Infinity War. To do so would be jeopardizing the small-scale nature of Ant-Man. Scott Lang is meant to make oblivious, charming comments while Hank Pym stares at him begrudgingly. He shouldn’t be the one to pull together loose ends left behind by the big purple galaxy destroyer.

It’s exactly the breath of fresh air fans needed after watching grumpy Grimace lay waste to the galaxy. 

Ant-Man and the Wasp is a pleasant exception to Marvel’s poor track record with sequels. Thor the Dark World, Iron Man 2, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 were all underwhelming. It follows suit with other sequels in the sense that it focuses on character development over moving along the plot of the extended-universe. In this installment of the franchise, we learn more about Scott and see him grow as a hero, father, and person through the movie’s conflict.

The Highlight of the Movie

It’s a well-rounded movie with a lot of bright spots, but none brighter than Michael Peña. His character, Luis, is the main comic relief. The Ant-Man franchise as a whole is really the comic relief of the MCU. So, in a way, Peña is the comic relief’s comic relief. His lines inject comedy into scenes that would otherwise go down a darker road. He single handily owns 4 of the movies top 5 moments.

What didn’t work 

The main villain, ghost, only exists because the movie needed a bad guy combat trained enough to justify exciting fight scenes. She lacks the personality to stand out in a movie saturated with fun characters. Her motive is unique, but it’s wasted on a movie that rightfully chooses to emphasize its heroes. Ghost goes down with the majority of Marvel villains as forgettable pawns used to advance the plot. Fortunately, this movie didn’t need her to be great in order to succeed.

overall, Ant-Man and the Wasp was a fun, lighthearted movie that provided fans an opportunity to catch their breath following the intensity of Infinity War. While i wish the film had answered some bigger questions, i understand why it didn’t. It isn’t really Ant-Man’s place to move the plot of the entire MCU.



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