The first “Ant-Man and the Wasp” trailer is here, and it’s hard not to wish it was more exciting.
If anything is ever going to kill the might Marvel juggernaut, it won’t be bad filmmaking.
Marvel has their formula down perfectly at this point; every single film they make will always land with a base level of quality that exceeds what can be expected from other studios.
The problem is that all of these films, with their same standard pattern, start to blur into one another over time. The most dangerous thing for the MCU moving forward is that the films get so safe and formulaic that audiences simply stop caring.
“Ant-Man” is probably a low point for the MCU, not because it’s bad, but because it was very nearly amazing. Edgar Wright, a director known for bold, innovative visual storytelling, created the script and put together many of the big action setpieces.
Unfortunately, Marvel and Wright clashed over just how expressive and original the movie ought to be, and Wright walked away before actually sitting down in the director’s chair. Peyton Reed actually made the movie, and the result is a fairly bland film that every now and then has a surprising piece of storytelling that really clicks.
Now, with the trailer for the movie’s sequel, we see what happens if you strip all the Edgar Wright out of the “Ant-Man” story, and it’s not pretty.
This isn’t a Black Panther, with a bold, visionary aesthetic that redefines the cinematic portrayal of an entire continent’s history and culture. It’s not Guardians of the Galaxy, with its fresh, original Eighties nostalgia baked into the mix. It’s not Winter Soldier, with a gritty, grounded appearance and impressively subversive political undertones.
This is, instead, a fairly generic action movie. There’s a Hello Kitty shot which plays exactly the same role as the Thomas the Tank Engine scene in the first movie, there’s a bit with a shrinking building that turns into a suitcase which is fun, and otherwise, nothing here looks particularly different to anything we’ve seen a million times before.
The one unique element in all this is Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp. This is the first time a Marvel movie has featured a female character in its title, and it’s clear that a big focus in the film will be on giving Hope Van Dyke more to do in this movie than she had in the last.
This is probably the best possible thing to come from stripping Edgar Wright from a movie. While the director of Baby Driver is very talented, he seems almost afraid of writing female characters with any kind of depth in his movies.
The Wasp will probably be the biggest thing to come from this film, as the MCU finally gets a female superhero who can have her name displayed on movie posters on (almost) equal footing with the men.
Here’s hoping that this character is as central to the story as she appears to be in this trailer, as Marvel is long overdue a female hero who is a genuine equal to her male counterpart.