Millions of viewers who depend on Marvel movies for all their fantasy escapism needs went home shell-shocked after Avengers: Infinity War slaughtered far, far too many of their favorite heroes and threatened to turn the Marvel Cinematic Universe into just another super-hero realm of perpetual misery like Dawn of Justice or the upcoming, dreadful-looking Titans. Now, in Ant-Man and the Wasp, two heroes who weren’t invited to Thanos’ big coming-out party are here to remind everyone that there’s still hope to be found in this world, along with heroism, teamwork, and happy endings…as long as you don’t stay for the end credits.
Once upon a time in 2003 there was a cute throwback comedy called Down with Love in which Ewan McGregor and Renee Zellweger were paired together in a light, fluffy homage to the Rock Hudson/Doris Day sparring matches of cinematic yore. It had a man’s man taken down several pegs, a feminist who rejected romantic love yet came around to her own version of it by the end, a bouncy soundtrack, a zippy pace, winning supporting turns from Sarah Paulson and David Hyde Pierce, a musical number during the end credits, and an absurdly convoluted revenge speech delivered in a three-minute uninterrupted take. Anne and I were among the very few viewers who loved it in theaters and bought it on DVD. I made a point of remembering the director’s name, Peyton Reed, in hopes that someday we’d see more from this up-‘n’-comer.
Reed’s resumé includes other well-known works such as the original Bring It On and The Weird Al Show, but I’ve seen none of them. Regardless, Reed is back at long last with his latest comedy Ant-Man, which was shot on a much higher budget and made more in its first two days of release than Down with Love made in its entire three-month run worldwide. So maybe now Hollywood will take him seriously.