Ant-Man And The Wasp debuted last weekend, pulling in strong numbers and favorable notices as the first MCU movie to follow Infinity War and its heart-punch of a finale (we’re not crying, we’ve just got dust in our eyes!). Somewhat surprisingly, the film had little to say about the cataclysmic event outside of a particularly devastating mid-credits scene. Instead, Ant-Man And The Wasp was fairly self-contained (with a few references to Scott’s antics in Civil War and the impact of the Sokovia Accords) and a low-stakes romp designed to entertain instead of doing the heavy lifting of world building.
With the shakiness of the DCU and even a few missteps from Star Wars, many people are left wondering how these massively extended universes can exist long-term. Does the all-consuming importance of these huge event films overshadow and downplay the character work done in the standalone films? Or can the two exist side by side? Uproxx writers Jason Tabrys and Alyssa Fikse (once again) have many feelings on this issue, and are choosing to handle things the nerd way: by taking sides, as revealed below.
I saw the first Ant-Man exactly one time (in the theater, duh), and while it was perfectly fine, it didn’t leave much of an impression. Well, beyond “Why is Scott even here when Hope clearly has the skills that they need to pull off… whatever they were doing?” and that Michael Peña should be in every Marvel movie to add commentary. But I feel like Ant-Man And The Wasp really corrected the issues with the first in a subtle way: Keep the fun, add a little more character work. But yeah, I welcome Paul Rudd singing karaoke and doing close up magic after the Snap.
I guess I don’t see why it has to be one or the other, because the standalones and the event films complement each other so well. Like, the Captain America trilogy is easily my favorite in the MCU because the character arch of Steve Rogers is so good, the relationships are well-drawn, and the elevator scene in Winter Soldier is still the best fight scene that Marvel’s done. Does that mean that I don’t want to see him grow a depression beard and kick some alien ass? No. I like the idea that the events in the separate trilogies don’t exist in a vacuum. We get to see some of the ripple effects in the big events, and I really think that Marvel has pulled it off to this point.
Honestly, I am not sure why people are panicking about the future of the MCU after Avengers 4. I mean, it will look different, sure, but Spider-Man is good again. Black Panther is going to be awesome going forward because OBVIOUSLY T’Challa isn’t staying dusted. Captain Marvel is coming up and holy hell am I excited for Carol Danvers to be unleashed. These are all great stories, and I think that the MCU will be evolving nicely. Maybe I’ve just bought into their machine! I don’t care!
I think [Jason] may be creating problems that aren’t necessarily there (yet). If Black Panther 2 and Spider-Man: Far From Home come out and they don’t act in service of the characters they are focused on, maybe then there would be cause for concern. But if anyone looks at the latest standalones — Black Panther, Ragnarok, Ant-Man And The Wasp — they’ve done a pretty good job loosely connecting to the whole while also being their own thing.
I mean, yes, if people want to talk DC (fool me three times, but I am still optimistic about Wonder Woman 1984 and Aquaman!), they’re having a bit more trouble weaving their pieces together, but if we’re talking strictly Marvel going forward from Infinity War, I don’t see a reason to lose faith at this point. Infinity War was a lot, both in the impact on the universe sense and the impact on the box office, but I think that Marvel still values these smaller (pun absolutely intended) outings like Ant-Man And The Wasp to keep the superhero world a little more grounded. — Alyssa Fikse