‘You can do it. You can do anything. You’re the world’s greatest grandma…’
Jesus, these movies take up a lot of my damn time. Before we begin, let’s just have a little progress check. Ant-Man and the Wasp is the 20th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It is set after Captain America: Civil War but before Avengers: Infinity War (despite being released after both of them). It is more-or-less a direct sequel to Ant-Man and has very little to do with any other MCU film besides a few passing references.
The very fact that it is necessary to do so much house cleaning before watching any Marvel movie is a testament to how ubiquitous they have become. In the case of Avengers: Infinity War, that didn’t matter because it felt like everything had been leading up to that film, to that moment. Ant-Man and the Wasp however, despite being some good ol’ fashioned escapist fun, still feels a little tagged on to the end. I mean, how do you follow Infinity War? Well, if you are the MCU you follow it by making another movie that sticks rigidly to the tried and tested Marvel formula. A box office return of $622,648,074 and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 88% suggests there is little wrong with this approach.
Scott Lang (Paul ‘the most beautiful man in the world’ Rudd) has to balance life as a Super Hero with being a father and also being on house arrest after the events of Ant-Man. He is a mere three days away from achieving all of this until Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) pops up and then everything goes to hell again.
I don’t really buy Douglas in this more avuncular role. I just can’t get my head round him not being a villain. He’s just got one of those faces, you know? Evangeline Lilly (Wasp) and Michael Peña (sidekick) both fare better and provide excellent foil for Paul Rudd’s natural star power, and his eyes like bottomless pits of emotion and his strong, caring grip and his soft, milky white skin and his endless… wait… where am I? Oh Christ, Ant-Man and the Wasp, right, right. Let’s do this.
As with many, many entries in the MCU, this Ant-Man sequel totally works as a standalone popcorn movie to be enjoyed as a bit of fun. Which is kinda what these movies are supposed to be about. But taken as part of the whole franchise, particularly following on directly from Infinity War, and Ant-Man and the Wasp is too often forgettable and samey.
Having said that, this does feel like the full stop at the end of phase three of the MCU and with the intriguing Captain Marvel movie and another Avengers entry on the horizon, the future is still looking bright for Marvel.
Oh, and it’s also nice to see Stan Lee providing his trade mark cameo. Rest in peace Stan. Excelsior!