Last night, Mrs F and I popped down to the local IMAX to catch up with the twentieth instalment in the MCU movie franchise, “Ant-Man and the Wasp”. Coming, as it does, hot on the heels of the superhero overload presented to us in the all-together-now Avengers blockbuster from the spring, Ant-Man 2 faced a difficult challenge to find its identity as it sits between that cliffhanger of cliffhangers at the end of Infinity War and its conclusion in Avengers Whatever next year. Mild spoilers ahead, natch.
It’s a great film, played predominantly for laughs, which Paul Rudd can do in a wonderfully endearing and natural way. However, he doesn’t stand as the solo star of this film because it’s far more of an ensemble piece than may have been expected. Scott’s far less estranged family and particularly his daughter, Cassie, along with Hope and her parents, Hank and Jan, give the movie more a family vibe than perhaps any of the other 19 instalments in this series. Even the main villains of the piece have a father/daughter vibe that reflects well against the Scott/Cassie and Hank/Hope relationships.
The film ties back to the consequences of Ant-Man’s last appearance in Captain America: Civil War and plugs the gap between that and Infinity War very well. Rather than ramping up the stakes to world or cosmic implications, which is a path that similar sequels have sometimes trodden, the narrative of the wider MCU goings-on have forced Ant-Man into a lower key setting where what is at risk are the protagonists themselves and the unfortunate San Francisco residents and tourists who are caught in the wake of the inevitable car crashes and fights.
As mentioned, we saw this in all its 3D IMAX glory, and the story really lent itself to the format exceptionally well, with all the shrinking and expanding effects looking great in the additional dimension. Of the now-traditional MCU mid and post-credits sequences, the first one is definitely worth staying seated for, but the second one, not so much. All in all it’s a worthy addition to the Marvel canon, matching, perhaps exceeding, the original Ant-Man. The outcome of Infinity War 2 is probably going to go a long way to determining whether or not we’ll see a third outing for the Scott Lang gang but I get the feeling that there is another story to be told at least.