It was a tough break, coming right after Avengers: Infinity War and director Peyton Reed did his best to deliver something post-Infinity War that could stand on its own and not carry the burden of that weight with it but it seemed like it buckled under that pressure. It was in the midway point of an adventure, comic book movie and an all-out comedy, something the Guardians of the Galaxy was able to juggle successfully in both their films.
Not quite so with Ant-Man and the Wasp.
It’s unfortunate because they made full use of Paul Rudd’s charm and acting abilities here, showing a wide range of comedic skills but the movie is best taken by its parts and not by the whole. Evangeline Lilly finally gets full spotlight, but again, the whole movie suffers from having too many highlights but no cohesion.
Or maybe it’s a lot better than I give it credit for and I only feel a sort of distance from the piece because it has all the trappings of a Marvel release but it doesn’t seem to connect or resonate with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is the first film that doesn’t feel connected to the whole expanse of that world. It’s a small, contained film and so it feels so different from every other Marvel film that came before it.
It dares (and has to) exist on its own without direct consequence to and from the last Marvel film. The film is set after Captain America: Civil War and so it’s narrative feels lost somewhere.
And maybe this is the weakness of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. All the films carry the expectation of being a part of a larger whole and can’t exist outside of that. Maybe Ant-Man and the Wasp can open the franchise and the spinoffs to exist entirely on their own.
Hopefully. It was the sacrificial lamb.