I think the reason now for each of these Marvel films is to serve its own unique purpose in the market. After all, when you’ve got limitless heroes available to milk a movie out of that means ample opportunities for genre, audience and output. Where Captain America is a spy thriller or Guardians of the Galaxy is a sci-fi – Ant-Man has found his place in an unusual setting; as the PG one.
Sub-genres of course, are just superhero action movies, but each with a distinctive flavour that appeals to a certain taste. In the case of the Ant-Man sequel if you are an adult you may struggle to find a place for this in your favourite MCU films list.
Despite being an enjoyable romp with a fairly decent script and entertaining action scenes there is a distinct lack in the stakes and gravitas we’re used to from this franchise. Yes, it’s the scaled back iteration compared to an Iron-Man for example but the movie reeks of being geared to the kids – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
It’s more fun than functional. To anyone coming to this hoping for some catharsis from the heavy ending of ‘Infinity War’ we’re given instead a lovely sugarcoated world where you can scantly believe they’re set in the same universe (but that’s not to say it isn’t addressed…)
This film focuses more on the personal journeys of Hope and Hank (Evangeline Lily and Michael Douglas) trying to find their lost mother and wife, whom they believe is trapped in the Quantum Realm. After Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) managed to escape it himself in the first Ant-Man movie both are certain she could still be trapped in there, despite being 30 years later. This is the driving force of the plot.
Concurrently, all three heroes are on the run after Scott’s shenanigans at a certain German airport in ‘Civil War’ in 2016 means they are fugitives, making the task all that much harder.
To its credit, the storyline isn’t the banal flow we’re used to these days of a generic baddie and a world-ending plot, rather it’s many people with a specific goal that is all achieved by whoever gets into the quantum realm first and it makes for a cat and mouse type narrative that is refreshing to see.
The downside is this potential I feel is wasted due to the ‘dumbing down’ of the action, humour and even the relationships between the characters feels too clean and comfortable compared to the previous instalment, and especially on the grander Avengers scale, Ant-man is feeling more like the outlier struggling to find it’s place.
My suspicion is this could be the last solo Ant-Man we see, but I’d love to be proven wrong.
Still, this is a Marvel movie, so you’re guaranteed a well-produced and tight film regardless, forgiving it’s misdeeds and the intended audience, it will find it’s niche and they’ll love it.