Ant-Man Is A Palette Cleanser Franchise
Another reason that the Ant-Man & The Wasp characters were kept out of the action of Avengers: Infinity War was that they were needed to serve a higher purpose beyond building the body count. Scott Lang, Hope Van Dyne and Hank Pym were intentionally held in reserve so that their next adventure could be used to clear the air after the dark denouement of Infinity War.
Astonishing as it may seem given the wide success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe today, there was a time when the original Ant-Man movie seemed to be something of a gamble. It was felt that one could make an engaging war movie based around Captain America or establish a grand cosmic opera around the aliens who inspired Norse mythology in Thor... but who wants to watch a superhero movie about a guy who shrinks and talks to bugs?!
The first Ant-Man movie succeeded in spite of its goofy premise precisely because it took a joke of a character and ran with the joke. Paradoxically, by refusing to take its concept or its hero seriously with its comedic tone, Ant-Man was able to establish itself and its characters as being worthy of respect. Much of this can be credited to Paul Rudd's masterful skills as a comedic actor and his ability to turn Scott Lang from a figure of ridicule into a sympathetic protagonist we wanted to see succeed.
The humorous tone of Ant-Man was precisely what was needed following Avengers: Age of Ultron - a somewhat dour movie that ended on a major down-note, despite the assemblage of The Avengers. Quicksilver was dead, The Hulk was lost, Tony Stark was on the verge of giving up heroism entirely in the wake of his nearly destroying the world with his efforts to save it and Thor was so disturbed by his dark visions of a coming evil that he left the team it in order to seek out this unseen enemy. After so much darkness and despair, a little lighthearted humor was needed to remind everyone just how much fun comic book movies can be.
We Need Fun Marvel Now More Than Ever
This is why Ant Man & The Wasp is the perfect film to follow Avengers: Infinity War. It's always darkest before the dawn, as the old saying goes, and things are dark indeed for the heroes of The Marvel Cinematic Universe with Thanos having accomplished his goal while devastating their ranks. To borrow a snarky comment from a Marvel hero from another, so-far unaffiliated franchise, "So dark! Are you sure you’re not from the DC Universe?"
Comedy is a tricky thing to pull off and that's especially true of comic-relief meant to balance the darker aspects of an action movie. Indeed, one of the few criticisms of Infinity War was how out-of-place Chris Pratt's performance as Star-Lord seemed relative to the rest of the film. Still, based on what we've seen so far of Ant-Man & The Wasp, it appears that it will be the perfect comedic antidote to the despair-inducing ending of Infinity War and a reminder that superheroes can be as fun as they are inspiring.
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019