Ant-Man isn’t my least favorite Marvel movie…but it’s certainly one of them. I’m rewatching all of them before Avengers: Infinity War so I should be able to definitively say by then but, aside from Iron Man 2 and the first Thor, I don’t think my opinion is lower on any other Marvel film — which is to say I just thought the movie was okay. Granted that opinion could very well have been informed by my disappointment regarding the sacking of Edgar Wright from the production (oh the movie he could have made) but, ultimately, I just found the first film to be a rather forgettable, light affair.
But, hey, I’m open to change — I also didn’t like Thor very much, but loved Thor: Ragnarok (and defend the crap out of Thor: The Dark World, for that matter.) Plus, I still believe in the concept of Paul Rudd: Superhero, even if the movie he is in wasn’t quite as great as the best of Marvel. So I went into the trailer for the film’s sequel, this summer’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, hoping to be impressed. And, I have to say, I kind of am.
Granted, I recall being impressed for the first film’s trailers too, so it’s entirely possible the final film may end up just as “ehh, it was alright” as the first one. But there’s a lot to like here, especially in how the film seems to be a response to what went down in Captain America: Civil War. While focusing on the cosmic and mystical side of the MCU was probably the smartest move after that film (with only Spider-Man: Homecoming being the outlier), it did leave me incredibly curious how the other heroes involved in the scuffle over the accords would move on with their lives, especially the ones who teamed with Captain America and became fugitives for it.
Ant-Man and the Wasp seems to be the only chance the MCU has of dealing with the fallout of that, as the trailer very astutely indicates. Scott on the run from the government (and forcing his friends and allies to also become fugitives) is an incredibly promising sequel idea — not only does it push the former felon to question his commitment to living a straight crime-free life, but it also allows the film to hone in further on the whole heist/caper element that seems like such an essential part of the series. I didn’t think it was present nearly enough in the first film but, if Ant-Man and the Wasp plays its cards right, there could be a lot of fun to be had in a Mission: Impossible style team adventure.
The “team” element especially seems to be a huge change here, as Evangeline Lily’s Hope van Dyme finally gets to stand alongside Scott as the superhero Wasp. The fact that the clearly more capable and skilled character was pushed aside in the first film bothered me a bit, so to see her get the chance to shine here is great. And boy does she in this trailer — that slow-mo knife dodge was cooler than anything that happened in the first film, for my money.
But, once again, this film looks to be an improvement overall. The shrinking effects look far more fun and varied than last time (tiny lab! supersized Hello Kitty Pes dispenser!), and it seems like there will be a far greater purpose and drive to the film than the last time around. My only complaint so far is entirely timeline based — as great as it is to see Ant-Man and the Wasp contend so heavily with the plot of Captain America: Civil War…why would you release this film after Avengers: Infinity War? This seems like it will end up being the only real prequel in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far, and I can certainly see that being a problem if Infinity War ratches up the tension to the point that none of this will matter as much in the long run (especially since, by that point, we should know what will happen to Ant-Man and Wasp through Infinity War). Why Marvel didn’t just open Avengers: Infinity War in July and Ant-Man and the Wasp in May is beyond me. You don’t put the season finale before the penultimate episode, right?
Still though, this trailer has me far more excited for an Ant-Man sequel than I was before. Marvel has a tendency to deliver better results after they get the origins out of the way, so I’m certainly hoping that they will be able to make this a great, interesting sequel. If they can make Thor great three installments in, to be honest, I think they can turn any series around. Here’s to hoping.
Ant-Man and the Wasp will hit theaters July 6. It will of course star returning players Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily, Michael Douglas, and Michael Pena. And though he doesn’t appear in the trailer, Walton Goggins will reportedly be playing the bad guy. So, you know, that alone already makes it a movie worth looking forward to.
Also published on Medium.