Ant-Man and the Wasp, Peyton Reed‘s follow-up to 2015’s origin story Ant-Man, is once again garnering outstanding reviews for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, boasting an 85 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. (It’s like they’re paying critics or something! … just kidding, that is literally one of the stupidest conspiracy theories in the history of film.)
Peruse the tweets and blurbs, though, and you’ll see terms like “lightweight” and “low stakes” tossed around when it comes to the sequel. Backhanded compliments these are not. Compared to Marvel’s other two films this year, Black Panther, and especially Avengers: Infinity War (and especially especially that ending), Ant-Man and the Wasp feels like, well, a Paul Rudd comedy. There are lives in danger, sure, namely the lost-in-Quantum-Realm Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), but we’re not talking about half of Earth’s population.
Reed, for one, is perfectly OK with the film being called “lighter” than other MCU fare.
“It’s hard to be as dark as the end of Infinity War, it’s just not in the DNA of the Ant-Man movies,” said Reed during a recent visit to Yahoo Studios (watch above). “We really just wanted to build off the tone of the first movie and expand it. So when people say, ‘It’s lighter.’ It’s like, ‘No, by design it’s lighter. And in terms of the stakes, they’re more personal stakes. Because it really is ultimately a movie about family, about fathers and daughters.”
The release of Wasp marks the second time a Reed-directed Ant-Man movie has to follow in the shadows of an Avengers ensemble only two months later. “Three years ago, Ant-Man came out after Age of Ultron. [These are] gigantic movies with all these characters. And the stakes in Infinity War are hard to top. You don’t want to. So really, it’s really intense stakes for these characters, for these members of this family.
“I don’t know if it’s lower stakes, I think it’s just more personal, more intimate stakes.”
Ant-Man and the Wasp opens Friday.
Watch Paul Rudd prove he’s not as nice as you think he is:
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