The Marvel Cinematic Universe has expanded into this fantastic entertainment conglomerate that consists of movies, TV shows and comic books. If you love a character, odds are they are somehow a part of the story. But recently, we have had to deal with some rather serious stuff. Black Panther was a lot of fun, but had a very dramatic story with heartfelt moments. Avengers: Infinity War was gut-wrenching and flat out ripped hearts out. The latest seasons of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage have been pretty serious too. Which is why Ant-man and the Wasp is both the perfect movie for the moment and an example of the sort of movie the Marvel Cinematic Universe should have every year or so.
In case you somehow missed the first Ant-Man movie or Captain America: Civil War, let’s have a brief refresher! Ant-Man is Scott Lang, played by Paul Rudd. In the original movie he was a former engineer-turned-thief who stole the Ant-Man suit, ends up meeting the suit’s creator, Hank Pym, and becomes tasked with stealing the Yellowjacket back from Pym’s former protege, Darren Cross. Things go well, which brings us to Ant-Man and the Wasp, where Lang is Ant-Man and Pym’s daughter, Hope, uses her father’s new Wasp suit. Hijinks ensue, as the duo attempts to save Janet Van Dyne, Hank’s wife and Hope’s mother, from the quantum realm.
Now, Ant-Man and the Wasp is still a very dramatic movie with some serious moments. I do not want to give the impression that it is all goofiness. But, there is a substantial amount of silliness here. Lang is a hilarious guy with the sorts of observations you would expect from someone who is not familiar with the scientific or super hero worlds. Since he is on house arrest after the events of Captain America: Civil War, a giant ant is used as a decoy to help get around the limitations of the ankle bracelet and not offer any hints that he is helping Wasp and her father with a rescue operation. It is one of the most lighthearted films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Which is exactly what we need, considering the place Luke Cage is in by the end of his second season, what is going on as Daredevil season 3 is about to begin, and what we had to deal with in Avengers: Infinity War.
It is also important, because it provides hope for what could happen in the fourth Avengers movie. Infinity War left off on a major cliffhanger. What we see in one of Ant-Man and the Wasp’s after-credit stingers shows that the events of this movie happened during the events of that one. We have an idea of who from the Ant-Man series of movies will be present in the fourth Avengers movie to aid in setting things right. There is a measure of hope that comes from this movie, befitting its optimistic and lighthearted nature. It is informative, but presents its situation and experiences in a way where the audience is not weighed down. We can identify and laugh along with Lang. Even if things are grim, the nature of Ant-Man’s world offers a reassurance that everything will be all right.
But then, it seems like my assertion that we need more lighthearted Marvel Cinematic Universe movies is something everyone involved already knows. If you look at the release schedule, it seems like Disney and Marvel are already spacing things out to allow for a little levity. Spider-Man: Homecoming and Black Panther had the goofy-fun Thor: Ragnarok between them. Before we had to deal with the seriousness of Captain America: Civil War, we had the first Ant-Man. And between Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron, we had Guardians of the Galaxy. In each case, we see a pattern where more lighthearted films appear between ones of greater consequence.
It is important for that sort of pacing to be maintained. Now that superhero movies have become such a staple in entertainment, there has to be an awareness of how to manage them. Going overboard on melodrama or action could have a negative consequence, leading to all films feeling repetitious and ruining a franchise. By keeping things shaken up and offering diversity, people become more invested in an entire universe and keep coming back to see what happens next. Ant-Man and the Wasp may not be the most serious, action-packed, or enlightening superhero movie, but it has an important place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the genre as a whole.