Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe begins! Paul Rudd returns for his fifth MCU outing and the third film in the Ant-Man trilogy! Unless they make more and it isn’t a trilogy! Which is just as well, because we’ve never had a literal, cohesive, hermetically self-contained MCU trilogy anyway. None of the first three Thor films resembles the other, the arcs of Iron Man and Captain America are incomplete without the four Avengers films, and Ant-Man’s life likewise had pivotal moments in Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame. I’d love to pretend Guardians of the Galaxy will be the exception come May, but the story of Star-Lord and Gamora in Volume 3 won’t make sense without the traumatic events of Avengers: Infinity War as well as Endgame. As their multiverse presently stands, there’s been no such credible thing as a “Marvel trilogy” since Blade.
After a three-month moment of silence for us all to meditate on the fallout from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the MCU’s back with its 31st big-screen chapter, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, ostensibly directed by returning Ant-maestro Peyton Reed (he of Bring It On and the unjustly forgotten Down with Love), whose sensibilities are definitely felt in the film’s first ten minutes and its last twenty, but not nearly so much during the long, dour, draggy, perfunctory infodump and overextended Star Wars Cantina interlude between them, like an endless row of empty, pastel-graffitied boxcars separating engine and caboose.