There are actually two new Ant-Man and the Wasp trailers to digest today. First, there’s this fun little trailer for the trailer asking the same question we’re all wondering: Where the heck were these two during Infinity War?
Then there’s the actual trailer:
Whoa. There’s a lot to unpack there. Chiefly, am I crazy or did they sneak in a shot of an ant playing the drums?
Ok. Not crazy. Good to know. Follow-up question: What, and might I add, the fuck? On second thought, don’t answer that, Marvel. I don’t want to know. I just want to take it all in and remember just why I love this palette-cleansing franchise.
As has been argued multiple times elsewhere, Marvel has clearly settled on the Ant-Man films as being the perfect, change-of-pace antidote to their more epic adventures. The first Ant-Man followed Age of Ultron and made a point of lovingly mocking that film’s insane let’s-turn-a-continent-into-an-asteroid third act twist. Now, Infinity War has [SPOILER] literally wiped out half of the universe, yet here’s Ant-Man and the Wasp running from the law, shrinking cars and buildings and enlarging everyday items like a salt shaker, and closing it all out with a glorified dick joke, all set to the rhythms of late 80s R&B. Granted, the darkness and grandiosity of Age of Ultron is absolutely nothing compared to Infinity War. The MCU has never gone to a darker place than it just did, but that just makes Ant-Man and the Wasp all the more necessary.
Yes, this film will probably do stuff with the quantum realm that will loom large in Avengers 4. Kevin Feige has made no secret about how crucial it was to their long-term plans that the Ant-Man movies introduce a Thanos-immune dimension where time works differently. So, we can expect some kind of Infinity War tie-in either at the end or during the post-credits. [Remember, Ant-Man and the Wasp is clearly set sometime before Infinity War].
More importantly in the here and now, though, we just really need a breather. After Infinity War, we, or maybe I should just say I need Deadpool 2 and Ant-Man and the Wasp to come along and simply entertain with more Earth-based adventures that don’t involve magical stones or universe-altering stakes. Based on this trailer, that’s exactly what Ant-Man and the Wasp is going to deliver.
We now know a little bit more about the plot, like who exactly the villain is (someone who stole Hank’s tech, can walk through walls, and plots some kind of worldwide takeover or “whatever”) and how Michael Pena and friends will factor into things (they appear to have gone legit, running their own security company out of a fancy office). We’ve finally seen more of Killjoy’s Hannah John-Kamen as the aforementioned villain, Ghost, and Laurence Fishburne’s Goliath (who could fall either way on the villain/ally divide), yet they’re still admirably holding back on the reveal of Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet Van Dyne, aka, the original Wasp.
I have some fear that ala Kat Denning’s increased screen time from the first Thor to The Dark World we might discover Michael Pena’s comic relief character worked better in smaller bursts. Also, this new trailer doesn’t quite have a showcase moment the way the first trailer did with the giant pez dispenser. Still, it looks every bit the part of a fun Ant-Man movie, one in which Hope will continue to outshine Scott, Hank will continue to roll his eyes at being surrounded by lesser intellects, Marvel’s digital artists will continue to Honey, I Shrunk/Blew Up the Kids their way into hilarious setpieces, and family will again be the central theme of the story (love seeing Cassie back).
It’s everything I wanted to see.
Absent any Infinity War ponderings, Ant-Man would already seem poised to turn into one of those superhero franchises that does OK at the box office but doesn’t find its real audience until home video which then launches the sequel into the stratosphere. I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve said they never saw Ant-Man in theaters but really fell for its more modest charms on Blu-Ray or Starz. In own experience, Ant-Man gets better every time I see it, especially when I watch it with kids who go crazy for all the shrinking scenes. It’s still not quite up there with Marvel’s best, but it’s one of the easiest to purely enjoy with family.
Come July 6, there will probably be plenty of families flocking to Ant-Man and the Wasp for that very reason, but thanks to Infinity War that audience is going to widen exponentially. As that trailer I opened with jokes, where the heck were these two heroes during Infinity War, and how are they going to help save everyone? That does place a somewhat unfair narrative burden on Ant-Man and the Wasp. This is now just a little side-adventure (and villain or set of villains) they undertook and defeated before the end of the world, but it’s exactly the palette cleanser I need right now.
Lastly, I know I said I didn’t want to know, but, seriously, how is an ant playing the drums?
As of this writing, Ant-Man and the Wasp is due out in a handful of countries on July 4th (a Wednesday), a bunch more, including the US, on July 6th before trickling out to the rest of the world throughout July (e.g. 7/26 in Germany) and into August (e.g., 8/3 in the UK).